Democrat Lawmakers continue to spend more of your money with the primary purpose to get themselves re-elected.
Shift’s Newsmaker Interview this week is with first-term Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward. In 2019, the former award-winning broadcaster narrowly defeated liberal Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart to become the 45th Mayor of Spokane. The homelessness crisis and public safety were key issues in the race, with Mayor Woodward promising to open a new police precinct in downtown Spokane. The COVID-19 pandemic hit weeks after she became mayor, and she has become a leading voice in demanding that Governor Jay Inslee allow local officials have a say in how their communities can safely move forward. In her Shift interview, Mayor Woodward discusses her successes (including the opening of the promised downtown precinct), rebuilding a fractured relationship with the city council, implementing the voters’ decision to require transparency in negotiating public union contracts, and the Gonzaga Bulldogs making a run at the NCAA men’s basketball championship. (Click to read full the Newsmaker Interview)
Democrat Senator Manka Dhingra is pushing an extreme bill to make possession of cocaine, meth, and heroin legal in Washington State. Of course, most Democrats do not want come out and admit their preference that hard drugs be legal. Instead, they want people to believe Dhingra’s bill (SB 5476) is a corrective action in response to the Washington State Supreme Court’s irresponsible State v. Blake decision, and that it helps addicts find treatment. Despite this deception, the primary purpose of the bill is to make dangerous and addictive drugs legal for personal use in Washington State, a bad idea which Democrats were proposing long before the Blake decision came down. To make matters worse, Senator Dhingra and her Democrat colleagues have once again included “emergency” language in the bill to deny Washington voters the right to repeal this radical bill through a referendum. Really? There is an “emergency” need to make these often-deadly drugs legal? (Shift Article, Washington Legislature Bill Summary, and Washington State Supreme Court decision)
The Senate Democrats released their budget, and it has a whopping 12% increase in spending over the previous budget – plus billions more in federal bailout money that could increase state spending by more than 25% in just two years during a pandemic. The irresponsible spending proposal is yet further proof that the primary goal of Washington Democrat lawmakers is to increase the size, power, and cost of state government – because more state employees means more union dues money into their campaign coffers. The proposed increase to spend $59.2 billion dollars over the next two years comes after a nearly 20% increase in the current biennium budget. If passed, and counting federal bailout funds, the state budget will have doubled since the Governor Jay Inslee brought his congressional spending approach in 2013, when the budget was “only” $32.1 billion.
Jason Mercier of the Washington Policy Center points out that $6.7 million has been allocated to the Washington State Department of Revenue to hire more state employees to implement the Democrats’ unconstitutional, unnecessary, and job-killing state income tax on capital gains. Mercier also notes that the budget only sets aside $122,000 for the Washington State Attorney General’s Office to defend the certain legal challenge to the income tax, if passed. That “small” amount of money would likely barely cover the office supplies and legal messenger services AG Bob Ferguson would utilize, let alone the salaries of the many attorneys he will assign to defending this holy grail of revenue for Washington State liberals and government employee union bosses. (Northwest Public Broadcasting, Washington State Operating Budget History, and Washington Policy Center)
Todd Myers of the Washington Policy Center states that there is more bad news in the Senate Democrats’ budget proposal. Myers writes that if the legislature adopts both a Cap and Trade system and a Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) as the Democrat budget suggests, the state estimates it will increase the cost of gas by 20 cents a gallon within two years, and by 41 cents to 50 cents a gallon by 2028 (diesel amounts will be even higher). These government-mandated costs would impact low-income workers the most, as it will erode a higher percentage of their monthly income than those who are more affluent. We should also note that the budget sets aside $10 million to hire more state employees to implement the costly Cap and Trade (Tax, actually) scheme and the LCFS boondoggle for out-of-state companies. (Washington Policy Center)
Washington’s legislative Democrats are having trouble getting their work done on time, so they have resorted to introducing their first title-only bill of the 2021 Legislative Session. Transportation Committee Chair Representative Jack Fey (D – Tacoma) has submitted HB 1564, with the title “Concerning Transportation Spending”, which is a nearly blank document. Democrat legislators are fond of using title-only bills to pass last-minute ideas which bypass public hearings and media scrutiny (if that’s still a thing). By “amending” the title-only bills with the full text of another legislative proposal, Democrats can sneak around that pesky requirement which forces legislators to provide the public with an opportunity to view and testify on legislation. (Washington Legislature Bill Summary)
The Democrats have successfully added more voters to their side of the ledger by passing a bill (along party lines), that allows convicted felons to vote before they have completed their sentences. The controversial legislation (HB 1078) allows felons to register to vote the second they step out of prison, and before they have completed any community service or paid financial restitution which was part of their criminal sentence. Many felons fail to complete their community service (like the two suspects charged with the January 22, 2020 shootings in downtown Seattle had failed to perform) or feel the need to pay financial restitutions to their victims, even when ordered to do so by the court. But the Democrats in Olympia do not care about victims. They evidently believe that felons voting for their fellow Democrat candidates is more important than victims receiving the money they are due under the law. (Everett Herald, Washington Legislature Bill Summary, and Seattle Times)
The City of Seattle has told the Ballard Little League to look elsewhere to practice, since their fields have been taken over by homeless encampments. The league sent an email to the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department, and received a pathetic non-responsive bureaucratic reply that only stated the department has “had conversations about not having teams at that site because of the issues.” Officials at City Hall claimed that reply should not have been sent, yet lame-duck Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan (who is counting the days until she can join previous failed Seattle liberal mayors Paul Schell, Greg Nichols, Mike McGinn, and Ed Murray, and spend the rest of her days peacefully collecting a nice government pension) did not say when or how the city will respond to the latest mess which the city’s failed homeless policies have created. (KOMO-TV)
It was good to see someone within Seattle’s liberal establishment finally admit that government throwing huge sums of money at the city’s massive (and still expanding) homeless problem is not working. Admittedly, Kate Martin has little chance in being successful in her bid to become Seattle’s next mayor, or a city council member, but she has said out loud what very few Seattle liberals are willing to state. Martin said, “I think our whole entire homeless response is largely run by theory. It’s failing, but no one will call out the elephant in the room. Basically, I’m here to do that.” (Puget Sound Business Journal)
A real-estate developer is blaming mismanagement at Seattle City Hall for the rapid decline in interest in developing properties in Downtown Seattle. Dave Speers at Kidder Mathews said, “Investors and developers, formally considered Seattle at the top of their ‘must have’ list, now won’t consider risking capital into this dystopian nightmare thanks to Seattle’s massively incompetent mayor and the ‘Star Wars’ bar scene called the Seattle City Council.” (Puget Sound Business Journal)
As teachers’ union bosses continue to ignore scientific data and the advice of nearly all health professionals, and keep schools closed, there has been a 64% increase in non-fatal suicide attempt ER visits by teenage patients in Wenatchee. The Central Washington Hospital reported that 193 emergency room visits for non-fatal suicide attempts from those under age 18 in 2020, compared to 123 visits in 2019. (Wenatchee World)
Microsoft has begun a $25 million development of a 244,000 square foot property on undeveloped land north of East Wenatchee’s Pangborn Memorial Airport. Observers think this could be end up being a one-billion-dollar investment by the company to build a large data-center campus. The first building is to be completed by May of next year. Cheap and plentiful electricity from nearby dams make the area attractive for this kind of development and job creation. (Wenatchee World)
Madness in Olympia (The Winner Is…)
After thousands of Shift readers voted in our Madness in Olympia tournament, “State Income Tax on Capital Gains” wins the award for being the Democrats’ Worst Legislative Idea of 2021. The final match was a nail-biter, as the new state Income Tax won by just 16 votes over “Eliminating Police Resources” to claim the 2021 championship. Thanks to all of you for participating in Shift’s three-week tournament. Since Seattle and Washington State have become the incubator for creating (and passing) obviously terrible ideas intended to benefit liberal special interest campaign donors, we are confident that more awful ideas will soon emerge from the local Democrats – thus we will have more contest like this in the future. (Shift’s Madness in Olympia Tournament)
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