It's been said there are two things you never want to see being made - sausage and legislation. In many cases, proposed legislation morphs into a totally different bill when finally passed. Fortunately, this was not exactly the situation with SB 6458.
KVI radio’s John Carlson reported last week on my recent study on the windfall tax revenues Metro received last year and is receiving this year. In 2013, Metro officials collected $443 million from the public, the highest level ever. In 2014, Metro officials expect to collect even more, $471 million, a $32 million windfall above estimates.
14 years ago today this was the scene in downtown Seattle as the Kingdome was brought to its knees:
Since then the Seahawks have made 2 Super Bowl appearances, winning one, and taxpayers have paid nearly $135 million to retire debt on the imploded Kingdome ($25.8 million for original construction and $109 million for repairs has been paid for debt service since 2001 to date).
Who was really underneath those black masks violent protestors wore during the 1999 WTO riots in Seattle? The founder of the Rainforest Action Network Randy Hayes thinks they may have been Seattle police.
With seven minutes to spare, lawmakers adjourned at 11:53 p.m. on the last day of the 60 day 2014 Legislative Session, avoiding for the first time in several years going into a special session. Among the bills passed was a 2014 supplemental operating budget (SB 6002). Unlike previous years, when major re-writes of the budget were needed, SB 6002 was a true supplemental budget making minor changes to state spending.
In newly-released figures, Metro officials announced they received record-breaking levels of tax revenue in 2013, reporting they collected more money from the public in taxes than at any time in the agency’s history.
The state’s largest public transit agency collected $442,731,128 in tax revenue the last calendar year, surpassing pre-recession revenue levels.
Recently the people of Washington enacted the most significant advance in education reform our state has seen in 30 years, Initiative 1240, to allow 40 charter schools to open over five years. Charter schools are independent community-based public schools that are popular with parents. They have been successful in helping some the hardest-to-teach students get a good public education. Nationally over two million students attend 6,200 charter schools, with another 600,000 children on waiting lists.
The House and Senate gavels came down simultaneously at seven minutes to Midnight on Thursday, as the legislature adjourned “sine die” (Latin for “no more meeting days”) to the cheers of lawmakers and staff who had been working at a fast pace to finalize and pass legislation.
This Sunshine Week forecast is brought to you by the 2014 Legislative Session: Your right to know is partly cloudy. When the just concluded session began there was the opportunity for brilliant sunshine but at least we avoided any severe secret storm warnings.
Below is a look back on some of the open government actions (or lack thereof) during the 2014 Legislative Session.