Governor Inslee, in his State of the State address before the legislature Tuesday, doubled down on his sweeping proposals for a 15% increase in state spending and new taxes, including a capital gains tax on state residents.
He also welcomed new lawmaker Rep. Carol Gregory (D-Federal Way) who was appointed to replace Rep. Roger Freeman (D-30th District) who died while in office.
You know it's getting real when a job posting for a Senate Remote Testimony Clerk in Spokane goes out and the President of Columbia Basin College in the Tri-Cities volunteers the school to be a remote testimony location.
The News Tribune reports members of the Tacoma school board say too many area families may try to send their children to local charter schools, so they want Olympia to make it illegal for educators to open more than two such schools in any district.
The 2015 Legislative Session is set up to be on the most historic gatherings of lawmakers in Washington since the founding of the state. Not to disappoint, on the first day a potential fight over Senate rules may unfold. According to a press release:
A proposal to change the Senate’s voting rules to make it harder to raise taxes will be one of the first items of business when the Legislature convenes Monday.
Court-mandated basic education funding will occupy center stage when the 64th Legislature convenes at noon Monday for what many observers see as one of the most important sessions in memory.
Top priorities include a voter-approved class size reduction measure and a comprehensive transportation package. Above all, a new two-year budget will dominate the 105-day regular session, with possibly special sessions to follow.
This year's statewide Solutions Summit drew 600 attendees to Washington Policy Center's policy conference events held in Kennewick and Bellevue.
In Kennewick, WPC honored retiring Congressman Doc Hastings during the opening breakfast and featured Idaho Governor Butch Otter for the keynote luncheon. In his remarks, Governor Otter praised WPC "...the work that [Washington Policy Center] does, the research you do, the information you put out arms us as well as we can be armed and should be armed.”
Over the holidays, respected former state senator Jim Kastama (D-Puyallup), who served from 1996 to 2012, wrote in The Seattle Times about being misled when he voted for ESHB 2261, the hugely complex bill that redefined “basic education” and called for massive increases in funding, but included no significant reforms in the way education services are delivered.
The Seattle Times reports today that Governor Inslee has proposed giving $223, or 61 cents a day, in tax rebates to low-income families in recognition of the higher tax burden his administration plans to impose on the people of Washington. The news comes after Governor Inslee said he wants to raise taxes by $1.4 billion in 2015-17, after making the decision to break his promise not to raise taxes. Lawmakers will consider the governor’s tax increase proposal starting January 12th.
Bucking the conventional union argument that right-to-work laws are union-busting, the Secretary-Treasurer of the United Auto Workers says right-to-work laws are good. In fact, the national labor boss says he actually prefers to organize in a right-to-work state because it helps unions:
“This is something I’ve never understood, that people think right-to-work hurts unions…to me, it helps them.”
This week, Governor Inslee announced he wants to raise taxes to spend more on education and transportation, and to give pay raises to state employees. On Tuesday, the Governor announced his $12 billion transportation spending plan, saying he wants to impose a $4.8 billion cap and trade scheme, take on $3.1 billion in new debt, and impose $2.9 billion in “other fees” on people.
Earlier this week we learned that Governor Inslee proposed his new tax plan without consulting the State Treasurer first.
The Spokane Transit Authority board today decided to ask voters to approve a 0.3% increase in the local sales tax to fund an electric trolley line and other service additions. Such an increase would take the sales tax rate in most of the Spokane area to 9.0% - one of the highest figures in the state.