The City of Seattle continues to burn money on a bike path plan which courts have denied, but which a liberal special interest group really, really likes.
Shift’s Newsmaker Interview this week is with Washington State Treasurer Duane Davidson. During the coronavirus outbreak, Davidson has witnessed the financial mismanagement of Jay Inslee’s administration, which will hurt the state’s finances in the future. In his interview, Treasurer Davidson shares his thoughts on how the Employment Security Department debacle will likely reduce future unemployment benefits, the Democrats’ poor fiscal management demonstrated by not yet calling for a special legislative session, his many accomplishments as State Treasurer, and the differences between his campaign opponent and himself. (Shift)
State managed residential rehabilitation centers are seeing an increase in positive COVID-19 test results among patients and employees. This news sound unfortunately similar to the coronavirus outbreaks at state corrections centers and the hospitals operated by the Washington Department of Health and Human Services, which are also seeing an increase in infected patients and staff. Some 37 staff members and 13 patients at the Fircrest School in Shoreline have tested positive, as have 14 individuals at the Yakima Valley School. A total of 47 people at the Western State Hospital have contracted coronavirus, and 1 patient has died. With all these cases on the rise, it is evident the while state might do a good job of imposing rules on the public, it has a difficult time adhering to them. (News Tribune)
The Washington State Department of Transportation Secretary wants the state to monitor residents’ vehicles with a GPS system, and charge differing amounts for the proposed Road Usage Tax based on when and where they drive. This “big brother” suggestion will certainly draw concerns from many as being too intrusive in people’s lives. Secretary Roger Miller made this suggestion at the July 15th Washington State Transportation Commission meeting. (Washington Policy Center)
A leading Republican Lt. Governor candidate dropped a mini bombshell when she said she would consider eliminating the office she is seeking to save the taxpayers’ money. Ann Davison Sattler said we need to look at everything and “whether or not it is necessary and essential to run our state government.” The proposal to eliminate the office would need to be approved by the state legislature. (KTTH)
The City of Seattle continues to waste taxpayer money on lawyers and design plans for a bike path plan because it is being pushed by a powerful special interest group. Court’s have ruled that Seattle does not have the authority to rip up rail lines, but despite that the city’s Department of Transportation continues to push a wasteful design plan mandating such rail removal for the Ballard segment of the Burke-Gilman path. All because that plan is supported by the powerful Cascade Bicycle Club (who has been responsible for many controversial transportation alterations in Seattle). The city has spent millions of dollars on design plans and hundreds of thousands more on hiring outside attorneys in a stubborn refusal to not consider less costly alternative path routes. (Seattle Times)
A federal ban on cruise ship travel has been extended to September, causing Seattle-based Holland American to sell four of its passenger vessels. Like other forms of travel, the cruise ship industry has been severely impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. 2020 was expected to be a record-breaking year for Alaska-bound cruises out of Washington State’s ports. It is estimated that Seattle has lost $900 million in tourist revenue due to the shutdown of the cruise industry. (Everett Herald)
The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) is encouraging residents of six Northwest Washington State counties to build traps for the Asian giant hornets. Along with increasing its number of traps near Bellingham, the WSDA has produced materials to inform residents of Clallam, Jefferson, Island, San Juan, Skagit, and Whatcom counties how to construct traps for the hornets, which have devastated honey bee hives in a matter of hours. (MyNorthwest)
The presidents of the Port of Tacoma Commission and the Port of Seattle Commission worry about “Seattle process” delays in replacing the West Seattle Bridge, and that bureaucratic impact on international trade. Sitting underneath the current bridge is the Northwest Seaport Alliance’s Terminal 5, which will soon be completed and able to offload/onload cargo on some of the world’s largest vessels. Yet delays could threaten the positive economic benefits of the facility. In a joint op-ed, the two port commission presidents state, “We cannot afford to allow the usual ‘Seattle process’ of chattering minds to create conversational delay in the decision-making as options are explored.” (Seattle Times)
The Washington Farm Bureau announced that it will be encouraging the agriculture community to vote in the 2020 elections by resuming its “I Farm, I Vote” program from 2016. The group said the effort will be focused on state budget issues and highlight the fact that state expenditures have more than doubled in 15 years (and have grown nearly 20% in the past two years). The group is also concerned about the refusal of Governor Inslee and Democrat legislative leaders to call for a special legislative session to repair a state budget facing a $9 billion shortfall in predicted tax revenue. A spokesperson stated, “Two years ago, the Cato Institute rated Governor Inslee as the worst governor for fiscal policy in the entire nation and frankly the hole just keeps getting deeper.” (Washington AG Network)
To allow restaurants to serve more patrons, Kennewick will be closing a street on Saturday evening to provide more room for tables. While the Tri-Cities region is still under modified Phase I restrictions, the closing of Kennewick Avenue will allow local restaurants and food trucks to safely set up dining spaces which meet state health guidelines. (YakTriNews)
The Washington Department of Labor and Industry has levied a $10,000 fine against Slidewaters water park in Chelan for failing to comply with the state’s “Safe Start” orders. The park opened to 50% capacity on June 20th and has received several warnings from the state to shut down. (iFIBER One)
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