The Inslee Administration continues to pour millions into the state’s mental health facilities and things continue to get worse. Maybe it’s the management and not the lack of money.
The chief of the Washington State builders’ trade association refutes liberals’ argument that it is the free markets’ fault for the state’s housing crisis by pointing out it is liberal policies that are truly at fault. Building Industry Association of Washington’s executive vice president Greg Lane writes in a Seattle Times op-ed that the “labyrinth of regulations” passed by the Democrats has substantially increased the cost of building (and owning) a new home. And that these liberal regulations were “designed to limit housing construction, not ‘manage it.’”
The state’s population has grown 60% in the past 30 years, while regulations have limited the number of new housing units to increase by only 33%. This led to a housing crunch and the average cost of a home to nearly triple in the past ten years to $640,000. To keep up, household income levels need to be above $171,000 to qualify for a mortgage. Only 15% of Washington’s families are at or above that salary level.
According to a national study, regulations in Washington State add $130,000 to the cost of a new home, and the Inslee Administration is making it even worse. New energy regulations just passed by the Washington State Building Code Council will add an additional $24,070 to the cost of a home.
Lane concludes the article by writing that we need to reduce regulations to allow the construction of more homes to help potential new homeowners and renters. (Seattle Times)
The Inslee Administration’s disastrous management of Western State Hospital (and all of the state’s mental health programs and facilities) continues to cost Washington taxpayers millions of dollars. Recently four female employees at the state’s primary mental hospital were awarded nearly $5 million by a jury because the administration failed to stop repeated physical attacks by patients on female employees. Now the same Western State employees are suing the state again for failing to turn over an internal report on the attacks until after their first trial had begun and for breaking state public records disclosure laws.
The Inslee Administration has already run up nearly $100 million in court fines for failing to provide mental competency restoration treatment for criminal suspects who are forced to sit in county jail cells untreated. In 2018, poor management at Western State Hospital cost Washington taxpayers $53 million when the federal government decertified the facility after multiple warnings. Numerous other lawsuits against the Inslee Administration from Western State Hospital’s staff members or patients have cost taxpayers millions more. One lawsuit from 2016 was brought by a former staffer who was awarded $550,000 after he was fired for reporting that food for patients was improperly stored and prepared. During the COVID pandemic, the Inslee Administration repeatedly failed to follow its own safety guidelines as there were numerous outbreaks of the virus among both patients and staffers.
A Seattle Times editorial stated in 2018, “the ongoing failures of leadership, internal governance and quality control that have persisted at the hospital under Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee’s watch, despite the state Legislature continually throwing money at the problem since Inslee took office in 2013.” The governor’s only solution to the state’s mental health failures is to keep throwing more and more money at the problem while keeping the same procedures and the same incompetent managers. We will surely see another large increase in funds (along with an increase in state employees to keep the union bosses happy) for the state’s mental facilities in the next budget proposal from the governor. Yet this will also fail due to the poor management abilities of the man in the governor’s office. (Wenatchee World/Tacoma News Tribune, KNKX Radio, and Seattle Times)
Republican lawmakers continue to push for tax relief for lower- and middle- income households as the state continues to receive more revenue than what was previously expected. Yet Governor Inslee and Democrat legislators not only seek to spend all the money the state has received for the benefit of their campaign contributors in the government employee unions and wealthy urban environmentalists, but they are also seeking new methods to enable the state to take even more money from state residents.
Republican Representative Ed Orcutt (Kalama) responded to the latest report of more surplus tax revenues by stating, “Somewhere in here, we’ve got to figure out some sort of tax relief because we’ve got a lot of people who are suffering.” It is doubtful the majority of Democrats will agree to any tax relief. They believe it is more important for the state to have too much money than for lower-income families to have enough money to pay their bills and afford gas to go to work. (KUOW/NPR and Washington Research Council)
Violence and criminal activity have forced Starbucks to close yet another Seattle location. The company told employees at its Broadway East and Denny Way location that it will permanently close its doors on Sunday, December 11th. Employees will be offered jobs at other locations. It is worth noting that this Starbucks location is next to where violent liberal protestors illegally took over six blocks of Capital Hill (CHAZ/CHOP) in 2020, demanding radical changes to the city’s public safety policies. The members of the Seattle City Council immediately caved into the rioters’ demands, resulting in 500 well-trained and diverse police officers leaving the Seattle Police Department and skyrocketing crime rates. The store was often damaged during these violent protests.
A company spokesperson stated that it has been working to improve employee and customer safety at the location, but problems persisted. “Unfortunately, despite several mitigating efforts, safety and security incidents at our Broadway and Denny store have continued to escalate.” (Seattle Times)
The City of Tacoma has had four homicides within three days bringing the city’s annual murder total to 43. On Saturday, one man was killed and another injured outside a convenience store in the Stadium District. Two men were murdered in the city’s South End on Monday morning. Late Monday night, another man was killed in the city’s Eastside. This brings Pierce County’s total number of homicides in 2022 to 73. Last year, Tacoma was at 30 homicides, and the number of murders in all of Pierce County was 64. The rise in the number of violent crimes continues to be a serious problem in Pierce County after Democrat legislators (including House Speaker Laurie Jinkins, who resides in Tacoma) passed their anti-police legislation in 2021 while at the same time decriminalizing the possession of many lethal drugs such as fentanyl, methamphetamines, and heroin. (Tacoma News Tribune)
Failed housing and landlord/tenant policies from the Seattle City Council are increasing the percentage of wages renters must pay for their rent. A study by Zillow found that Seattle workers must work seven more hours a month to afford rent than they did five years ago. (MyNorthwest)
Washington State’s dairy farmers continue to struggle even as the price of milk and dairy products is at an all-time high. Dan Wood, the Executive Director of the Washington State Dairy Federation, stated he is seeing many farms going out of business, and many consolidations have occurred. Wood said, “So, despite the farm gate price being up, it’s been a pretty tough year for many dairy farmers.” Urban Democrat lawmakers with no experience in farming have blindly followed the demands of union bosses to impose higher wages on farm operators, and liberal national and state energy policies have increased the cost of energy, a major expense for farmers. (Pacific Northwest AG Network)
The Washington State Auditor’s Office found numerous expenditure problems within the Toppenish School District, most concerning the district’s Superintendent, John Cerna. The superintendent has been operating without a written contract since 2013, yet he has received two substantial pay raises in the past couple of years to bring his annual salary to $310,000. The school district in the Yakima Valley has 4,500 students. The auditor’s investigation also found that Superintendent Cerna was overpaid for a car allowance and cell phone stipend and that the district paid his son as an assistant principal, even though he was on leave at the time. (YakTriNews)
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