The price of food grown in Washington will be even more expensive next year as the state’s monopoly on workers’ compensation plans will again dramatically increase rates for farm workers.
Governor Jay Inslee flew to Egypt and bragged that he and the Democrats who control the Washington State Legislature have eliminated the public from having any say on where large energy farms can be built. The governor made these comments earlier this week at the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt (commonly referred to as COP27). In between hobnobbing with wealthy environmentalist donors at exclusive receptions, the governor described how his administration and Democrat legislators removed local authorities from having any say in where and how large energy farms are built in their communities and gave the sole power over the fate of these gigantic “farms” to a state government committee (the Energy Facilities Site Evaluation Council, which the governor controls the membership of). Like the governor’s 975 days of abusing emergency powers during the COVID pandemic, Governor Inslee evidently believes that his arguments and/or his abilities are not sufficient to convince others to side with his views. Thus he simply eliminates the ability of others to have any input. (Click to read full Shift article)
Experts discuss some of the many huge obstacles which our state will need to be overcome before 2035, when the Democrats will make it illegal to purchase a gas-powered vehicle in Washington State. The ban is not the result of a publicly debated decision by Washington State’s elected officials, or even a high-powered commission appointed by our state’s elected leaders. The ban is due to Washington Democrats in 2019 abdicating responsibility and accountability by empowering a non-elected commission in California to determine our state’s vehicle emission laws. And when the California Air Resources Board decided in late August to ban the sale of gas-powered cars, our state was forced to follow suit.
Many fear that the state’s ban on gas-powered cars will frustrate consumers due to the lack of infrastructure. Among experts’ concerns are whether or not our state’s electric grid can handle the large increase in vehicles hooking up to re-charging stations. One national energy expert with the Manhattan Institute asserts that the state’s electric grid will need to be twice the size as previously planned to be to handle the large influx of cars charging up in the evening. Also, since it takes far longer to “refuel” electric cars than it takes to re-fuel them today, and many people who live in apartments and condominiums won’t have access to charging at home, there will need to be at least six times the amount of public charging stations than we currently have gas stations. (KOMO News, KING5 News, and CNBC)
Jason Mercier of the Washington Policy Center posted an informative interview he conducted with a former Internal Revenue Service attorney who is “dumbfounded” by the Democrats’ arguments that the capital gains tax they passed during the 2021 legislative session is not a tax on income (which is unconstitutional in Washington State) but is actually an “excise tax”. Former IRS attorney Steven Hankin, who served as a legal counsel for the IRS for more than 30 years, said it is not even debatable that the capital gains tax is an income tax and this is why the IRS, 49 other states’ revenue departments, and nearly all legal scholars and experts agree that the Democrats’ arguments are legally invalid. Hankin elaborated “a capital gains tax is a tax on the seller’s ownership interest in the property rather than a tax on the transaction,” and this is why it is a tax on income.
Last March, a Douglas County Superior Court followed a century of legal precedent and ruled that the capital gains tax passed by the Democrats and signed by Governor Inslee was unconstitutional. Democrat Attorney General Bob Ferguson desires more revenue for the state through a state income tax, so he has appealed this decision and the case will be heard by the Washington State Supreme Court in late January. (Washington Policy Center and The Olympian)
First-term Republican Representative Greg Gilday fell behind his Democrat opponent Clyde Shavers by 189 votes in the Tuesday night counts in the 10th Legislative District House seat. This was a surprise to many, since Gilday had erased an election-night 1,500 vote deficit and had taken a 15-vote lead Tuesday morning. It was believed that those who had waited to return their ballots would strongly favor Rep. Gilday, since these voters would have been aware of the story Shift broke eight days before the election that Shavers had repeatedly lied about his military service, his work experience, his family history, and residency.
It is possible that many of the late votes counted yesterday came from those who mailed their ballots from outside the area (students, retirees who spend winter months in warmer locations, military personnel, etc.) and who were not aware of Shavers’ many fictitious statements and claims. There appears to be less than 500 ballots left to count in the race, which will almost certainly go to automatic recount since the margin of victory will be less than the legal threshold of one half of one percent (0.5%) or approximately 370 votes. (Washington Secretary of State election results and Shift article)
Police body cam footage shows that the principal at Sand Point Elementary refused to cooperate with police called to the school last June to handle a disturbance caused by a mentally ill man illegally on school property who assaulted a student and stole a student’s backpack. Officers testified that, because Principal Ric Baileykaze refused to provide necessary information on the attacker’s conduct, they could not establish “probable cause” to arrest the intruder, Liban Harasam, who then fled the scene. A short time later, Harasam was arrested a few blocks away from the school after he assaulted a DHL delivery driver and injured an officer when he resisted arrest. We should note that Principal Baileykaze is no longer with the Seattle schools and a fellow educator said he took a job outside of the country.
Police have said they continue to encounter resistance from Seattle Public School employees when they respond to incidents at schools. The lack of concern over students’ safety by school employees is likely one of the reasons why many parents are pulling their children, especially those below the 8th grade, out of the Seattle school system and the district is facing huge deficits because of a 7% drop in enrollment. (MyNorthwest and SPS Annual Enrollment Report)
Seattle’s St. James Cathedral held its annual service to recognize the homeless people who have died in the city during the past year, yet liberals continue to escape any responsibility for the deaths. Despite the billions of dollars spent by governments, businesses, and non-profit organizations, the number of people who die tragically on our local streets continues to climb every year. Last year the St. James ceremony recognized 221 unhoused people dying. This year the figure was 289. It was seven years ago that the liberal leadership of Seattle stood in front of cameras and declared Seattle’s homeless crisis an emergency. Since then, government bureaucracy has significantly expanded while more people are homeless today and sadly more people than ever are dying. (Crosscut and Shift article)
As we head into the Thanksgiving holiday, food prices are 11% higher than last year and Washington State ranks near the top for being one of the most expensive states to purchase a turkey. While food prices are higher, farmers are not necessarily receiving the benefits, as their costs have also climbed. An op-ed by the Washington Policy Center’s Agriculture Director Pam Lewison explains how employee costs are impacting farmers’ bottom line. Meanwhile the state has outlined plans to make it even more expensive to manage a farm. The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries is planning to impose a 6% increase on farm workers’ compensation rates (and some workers’ rates will increase by as much as 14%). These increases will also be occurring in other segments of the food supply chain, which will further inflate the price of food purchased by all of us.
Lewison states there is a way to avoid the spike in worker costs mandated by the state. She asserts that the state should “allow employers and employees to buy workers’ compensation insurance from a private provider rather than the state.” Washington is one of the few states which maintains a monopoly on workers’ compensation plans. Lewison writes, “By opening the market to as many providers as possible, premiums should go down, making workers’ compensation insurance far more affordable for everyone and stopping the continual increase in costs seen here in Washington state.” (Spokesman Review)
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