More wind in the forecast
In preparation for the 2019 legislative session, Gov. Inslee released his proposed budget to kick off debate on his priorities. And of course, it’s chalk-full of spending increases – an increase of roughly 20% from previous budget levels! To pay for his massive spending increase, Inslee wants…you guessed it…more taxes. (Shift WA)
Happening in Olympia
With liberals looking for more roads to toll, Sen. Tim Sheldon (D-Potlatch) wants them to hit the brakes. Sheldon filed a bill that would prevent any city from implementing tolls without permission by the Legislature. “Do we really want a society where only the rich can afford to drive?” he said. The bill is unlikely to pass in a liberal controlled Senate.(Seattle Times)
Sen. Kevin Ranker (D-Orcas Island) steps down from his committee leadership positions amid sexual harassment investigation. Ranker, who has been under investigation for allegations of sexual harassment and creating a hostile workplace by a former legislative assistant, stepped down from a committee chairmanship and vice chairmanship. As a result, the Senate Democrats are abolishing and restructuring the Environment & Tourism Committee that he was slated to chair. (KING 5)
The Everett Herald’s Jerry Cornfield says you can bet that the person chosen to replace outgoing House Speaker Frank Chopp will be a woman. Cornfield argues that with a majority of the House Democratic Caucus being female that the odds of the “male-only” sign on the door of the Speaker’s office will come down are high. He expects this session will be an opportunity for potential candidates to set themselves apart. (Everett Herald)
In a (not so) bold move, Governor Inslee signs a pledge to not accept any campaign contributions from oil companies. As Inslee continues to crawl towards a presidential campaign centered on an extreme environmental platform, he took the step of pledging not to accept money from people who were never going to give him any. (Huffington Post)
Speaking of a toll happy liberal, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan continues to argue in favor of congestion pricing, looking to toll downtown streets. Dori Monson wrote that Durkan’s tolling idea is immoral. “It’s immoral to tell people who are battling health problems that they are going to have to pay $20 every time they go to an appointment.” (My Northwest)
Rep. Mike Chapman (D-Port Angeles) says “it’s just sad” that there aren’t quite enough Democrats in the legislature to remove the supermajority requirement for bond measures. The state constitution requires a supermajority of people to pass bond measures. Democrats don’t even think they can get a bill through the legislature this year to lower it to 55 percent. Gee, maybe there’s a reason for this requirement? (Peninsula Daily News)
The new Eyman $30 car tab initiative would wipe out city $20 fee that funds local transportation projects like the one for Yakima’s North First Street improvement. Yakima city spokesman Randy Beehler says, “If this revenue stream isn’t available to pay for those projects, then those projects don’t get done.” They say it would hamper future construction projects as well. (Yakima Herald)
The director of Spokane County Detention Services, John McGrath, announced he intends to resign. “Leaving Detention Services was a difficult decision for me because I value so much the opportunity to work on behalf of Spokane County,” McGrath wrote. His final day with Detention Services will be February 18. (Spokesman Review)
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