State employee unions believe the revenue surplus should be given to them, for only they (despite three pay raises in two years) are facing tough times due to inflation.
Shift’s interview is with GOP House candidate Gabe Sachwitz, who has received the endorsement of the House Republican Organizational Committee as he seeks to unseat two-term Democrat Representative Mari Leavitt in the 28th Legislative District. Like many residents in his Southwest Pierce County district, Sachwitz is a military veteran after having completed two tours overseas with the U.S. Marine Corps. He is currently an adjunct professor at Pierce College and a volunteer firefighter for Anderson Island Fire & Rescue.
In his interview Sachwitz provides his thoughts on fixing the damage the Democrats created with their 2021 anti-police laws, calls for suspending the state’s gas tax, and argues for ending the overvaluation of vehicles for assessing car tab fees. Sachwitz also describes the negative impact the Democrats’ Long-Term Care payroll tax will have on Washington State workers and provides Shift readers with his current favorite book. (Click to read full Newsmaker interview)
Union bosses for Washington State government employees assert that, during their current secret contract negotiations with Governor Jay Inslee, they are going after the $1.5 billion in surplus tax revenue just sitting in state’s coffers. They seem confident in their negotiating position since Inslee has received millions in campaign assistance from the government unions in his races for governor. This money-and-power grab is occurring after previous behind-closed-door negotiations provided these same state employees with three separate pay raises during the past two years. To justify their belief that government employees alone deserve the newly generated excess tax dollars, the unions claim hardship has fallen upon members due to inflation. (Of course the unions don’t mention that inflation has been caused by reckless policies implemented by the liberal politicians the union bosses write big checks to.)
The unions wrote, in a newsletter update on the secret negotiations with the governor, that “(a)s inflation soars, more and more public employees are struggling to make ends meet.” The same is true for nearly all of Washington’s taxpayers, almost none of whom have received three pay raises in the past two years because they gave campaign contributions to Democrats like Inslee. Republican lawmakers believe the taxpayers should be the first priority in benefiting from the surplus revenue currently piling up through providing either suspension, or reduction, of either the state’s gas tax or sales tax. Yet union bosses feel confident they will receive the higher wages they are demanding because they have been major contributors to Governor Inslee’s campaigns, and he owes them. Yet the taxpayers have also funded the governor’s campaigns since they were forced to pay millions for the extra security costs of Inslee’s failed presidential campaign (something the governor selfishly refuses to pay back despite having over a million dollars in his campaign bank account). Pay the people back, Jay. (Washington Federation of State Employee’s newsletter, Shift Article, and Seattle Times)
The reduction of the state’s ferry sailings (thanks to Governor Inslee’s firing of nearly 200 Washington State Ferry workers over his vaccine mandate) has resulted in longer wait lines and more incidents of people cutting lines. Also, because many local police departments (especially Seattle) are severely short of officers, there is little or no enforcement of the state’s “ferry line cutting” laws which carry a $129 fine for violators. A state ferry spokesperson acknowledged that it has reached “the boiling point” at many Puget Sound docks as drivers, many of whom have been waiting in line for hours, grow increasingly upset at those who cut in front of them. The only response from the state on this growing problem was to mount a small “educational campaign” warning people of possible fines. Yet as we have seen so often in the past couple of years, the threat of a penalty is rarely a deterrent if it is never enforced. (Seattle Times)
The Washington State Hospital Association (WSHA) claims that 70 of the state’s 86 hospitals and health systems suffered financial losses during the first quarter of 2022, and that the lack of qualified personnel was one of the primary reasons (along with inflation and “chronically low” Medicaid payments) for the financial shortfalls. Approximately 3,000 Washington State hospital workers lost their jobs last October thanks to Governor Inslee abusing his emergency powers (now on day 874) and unilaterally imposing his un-scientific vaccine mandate on health care workers. The lack of qualified health care workers has forced hospitals to pay higher wages for temporary “traveling” nurses and pay more in overtime wages.
The WSHA states that its survey of members revealed that Washington hospitals lost $929 million during the first quarter of 2022. WSHA CEO Cassie Sauer stated, “The financial challenges revealed by the survey are really quite grave,” and could eventually result in many hospitals closing certain unprofitable units and some facilities may be forced to close entirely or file for bankruptcy. (Seattle Times and KING5 News)
The Biden Administration’s U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington announced that he, too, will be investigating the yard signs posted near some ballot drop boxes. U.S. Attorney Nick Brown announced his people will be using tax dollars for a partisan examination of whether the yard signs violated any election laws. This announcement comes after the Democrat-appointed King County Sheriff was asked by Democrat elected officials to investigate the matter. The signs, which were placed near several ballot drop boxes, stated that the location was “under surveillance” and provided a website where people could report voting irregularities. The website was operated by a King County Republican Party activist, yet the placement of the signs has been disavowed by the party’s county chair.
U.S. Attorney Brown said he wants to make sure voters can deposit their ballot “without being intimidated, without being surveilled.” Yet this same level of protecting voters’ rights were not provided by either the U.S. Attorney or by the King County Sheriff when Democrat party organization openly promoted a call-in number to report signature gathering locations for those mounting an initiative campaign to prohibit a state income tax on capital gains (I-1929). The implied threat was that protestors were going to be sent to these locations to scare people away from signing the petitions and intimidate petition gatherers.
The message from the actions of the Democrats who lead both the U.S. Attorney office and the King County Sheriff’s department is that Democrats receive one level of justice and protection while everyone else must abide by a different, less privileged, set of rules. (KIRO7 News, Seattle Times, and CenterSquare)
Even liberal Tacoma News Tribune columnist Matt Driscoll contends that the homelessness plan proposed by Republican Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier deserves a shot. As the Daily Briefing reported earlier this week, the Dammeier Administration evaluated several programs across the country which were successful in treating chronic homelessness. Copying an effective program developed in Austin, Texas, Executive Dammeier proposed a $50 million plan (funded by federal relief dollars, charitable organizations, and county funds) to build a 20-acre microhome village which would house, treat, and train 200 – 300 homeless individuals. The Austin project, the Community First! Village, has had an 88% success rate, which far exceeds nearly every other expensive, big government project proposed by liberals. Driscoll stated that this proposal should rise above the typical partisan bickering which often bogs down solutions. He stated, “This isn’t about politics. It’s about something far more important: people’s lives.” (News Tribune)
Representative Tom Dent (R – Moses Lake) was extremely grateful to local first responders for helping extinguish a fire on his property which threatened his house. The five-term legislator said an unknown vehicle crashed into a fence and knocked over a power pole on his property just past midnight on Thursday, causing sparks to ignite a fire in his lawn. Dent and a neighbor worked to contain the fire until fire units arrived and doused the flames. Dent wrote on a Facebook post, “Kudos to Grant County 5 for their quick response to stop the fire before it was an issue.” Representative Dent also gave praise to the Grant County Sheriff’s office for its rapid response and to the Grant County Public Utility Department for quickly restoring power. (iFIBER One and Dent Facebook)
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