Tag Archives: Governor Inslee

Relief package is a start, but no substitute for full Legislative response

By tracyellis | Published on November 20, 2020

Governor Inslee’s 135-million-dollar COVID relief package is a start, but not nearly enough according to the state Senate Republican Leader.

Tracy Ellis explains.

Padden calls new COVID-19 restrictions ‘unfair’ blow to small business

By bookerstallworth | Published on November 16, 2020

Inslee’s refusal to accept citizen input is biggest barrier to public buy-in, says Spokane Valley lawmaker

Shortly after Gov. Jay Inslee held a Sunday press conference to announce a new ban on social gatherings and further restrictions on businesses, Sen. Mike Padden began hearing complaints and pleas for help from constituents in his 4th Legislative District.

“The people of this state are concerned about the safety of our communities and issues of hospital capacity; they want us to take the pandemic seriously, but they also want us to consider the economic and emotional pain these new restrictions will create,” said Padden, R-Spokane Valley.

“The families and small business owners who I am hearing from are rightfully alarmed and angered by the governor’s illogical and Draconian response to the spike in COVID-19 cases. They want solutions that are balanced, fair, and consistent with the data.”

According to the Spokane Health District and Washington Department of Health:

  • Only 5.7% of all beds occupied in Spokane Co. are by COVID patients;
  • There are 81 patients hospitalized with COVID in Spokane Co. at the moment; and,
  • Less than 60% of all licensed hospital beds in Spokane Co. are occupied (Total number of beds in Spokane Co. is 1531; Total beds occupied are 907).

Padden points out that Washington has already lost more than 3,000 small businesses – most likely permanently – due to COVID-related shutdowns. The governor’s latest order means even more business shutdowns and increased unemployment over the holidays – a time of year that is already ripe for depression and suicide. Panicked shopping can cause disruptions in the supply chain, and long lines outside of grocery stores with reduced occupancy limits could once again have a disproportionate impact on the elderly and disabled. Many restaurants that are barely hanging on may not survive this latest blow.

“The governor’s order hits groceries and restaurants the hardest, even though those businesses represent less than 2 percent combined of all COVID transmissions, and by the governor’s own admission, are already faithfully enforcing social distancing, hygiene and masking mandates,” said Padden. “It is unfair and simply does not make sense.

“More importantly, my constituents are frustrated that Governor Inslee seems to be making these rash decisions without listening to the concerns of Washingtonians and the lawmakers they send to Olympia to be their voice.

“Any solutions to address the spread of the virus will take the buy-in and active participation of the public. How does the governor expect to get that level of cooperation, when he has repeatedly shut the public out?”

Padden pointed to comments he received from a constituent from Greenacres, who wrote: “The new restrictions imposed by Gov Inslee are disappointing to say the least. Not being able to spend time with our loved ones, having to be isolated, is far more dangerous for our health and mental health than a virus…. I am begging you to take action against our tyrannical Governor.”

A woman from Spokane wrote Padden, saying, “Many small businesses are relying on Black Friday to recover and don’t have the ability to sell online. …Also furloughs for my family members cripples us, and even more so before the holidays. Wait, what holidays? That’s not a thing anymore apparently.”

Padden urged the governor to listen to these Washingtonians’ concerns.

“Since the start of this pandemic, my colleagues and I have been pleading with this governor to call the Legislature back into emergency session, so we can share the ideas and views of the people we represent and help be part of the solution,” Padden said.

“Unfortunately, Governor Inslee has repeatedly rejected those requests.”

Inslee misses deadline for releasing real budget – and why that budget is the real story

By ericcampbell | Published on December 21, 2018

The orcas won’t want to hear this, but the $54 billion budget Governor Inslee brought out last week is not the proposal he was required to submit to the Legislature.

Under a state law dating to at least 1959, the governor is to provide a budget document based on “the estimated revenues and caseloads as approved by the economic and revenue forecast council and caseload forecast council or upon the estimated revenues and caseloads of the office of financial management for those funds, accounts, sources, and programs for which the forecast councils do not prepare an official forecast.”

In short, Inslee is to submit a no-new-taxes budget. It’s known informally as the “Book 1” budget. The law allows the governor to also submit a proposal that reflects “revenue sources derived from proposed changes in existing statutes” – as in new or higher taxes. This purely optional “Book 2” budget is what Inslee unveiled December 13.

Under a 1973 law, also part of the state code on budgeting, the Book 1 budget is due no later than December 20. I am told it was finally posted online today (apparently buried somewhere on the fiscal.wa.gov website). Is anyone in the governor’s office aware that failing to meet the deadline is a misdemeanor?

Inslee also took an under-the-radar approach to releasing his Book 1 budget in 2017. At the time, a member of the Capitol press corps explained to me in so many words that a Book 1 budget wouldn’t be relevant anyway, because Inslee wasn’t pushing it publicly. The perception was that Inslee’s real priorities – the stuff worth reporting – were in that year’s Book 2.

News flash: Inslee’s real priorities are in the Book 1 budget. It shows what goes in the budget box and what doesn’t when revenue is limited. That’s much more than a formality. It’s also very different from a Book 2, which is like making a shopping list, then compiling a list of new taxes to cover it.

The Book 1 budget tells the orcas whether they still get $1.1 billion even if Inslee can’t include revenue from a state income tax. Or, without revenue from raising the B&O tax, where Inslee cuts to protect funding for the new collective-bargaining agreements. If a budget is a “statement about what we value,” as Inslee once said, then comparing his Book 2 and Book 1 will reveal something about his values. To me, that’s newsworthy.

As a fiscal conservative who sees no need to raise taxes for 2019-21, because a whopping $50 billion is forecast to be on hand, I’m interested in seeing Inslee’s no-new-taxes budget. It might have some actual value to legislative budget writers, unlike a Book 2 wish list that hinges on tax votes that may not happen.

Did someone think keeping Inslee’s Book 1 budget under wraps until the Friday before Christmas, despite the legal deadline, would minimize the attention it will get? That’s even more reason for the news media (and taxpayers) to take interest.

How far will governor go to keep a great teacher in the classroom?

By Laudan | Published on December 21, 2016

According to Governor Inslee, state government has an “obligation” to pour many more billions of dollars into Washington’s K-12 schools. That’s on top of the additional billions budgeted by the Legislature for basic education in the past four years.

“In this day and age, we owe our kids and parents more,” the governor declared on Dec. 13, in the course of unveiling his plan to raise taxes by $8.7 billion. He proposes to steer about half of that new revenue into the K-12 system, where it would go toward providing “a great teacher in the classroom and access to the programs and services we know they [students] need.”

Now lay Inslee’s declarations next to a Dec. 16 report from the non-partisan Washington Policy Center, which found (based on federal statistics) that our state leads the nation in strikes by teachers. In 2015 three of the 12 largest labor disruptions in the nation took place here, in the form of school closures.

Inslee speaks of providing great teachers but not of what he would do to keep them in their classrooms. In this day and age, to borrow his words, aren’t Washington’s kids and parents owed more than a school year disrupted by a teacher strike? How far would Inslee go to prevent a walkout so students don’t lose access, even for a day, to those great classroom teachers and school-based programs and services?

Benge Elementary in southeast Adams County, a K-6 school that is the district’s only facility, and Jefferson Elementary in Pullman, part of a much larger district, are among the schools I visited this fall. They illustrate how differences in the tax base and cost of living and quality of life can influence teacher recruiting and educational opportunities for their respective students. Many of us are determined to look out for the needs of rural schools like Benge as we respond to the McCleary education-funding case, and that has made the challenge greater. We will find a way to address the disparity called out by the state Supreme Court – but who will address the inequities that result when one school district is forced to shell out more local money for teacher salaries because it wants to end or prevent a strike? The Legislature can’t make teacher strikes more illegal than they already are.

As the father and father-in-law of public-school teachers, and with my eldest grandchild now in kindergarten, I appreciate the work teachers do and want to see them receive proper compensation. Paying for education with existing tax dollars first, as our Senate majority has worked to do these past four years, is exactly what we should continue doing under the “paramount duty” clause in Washington’s constitution.

Clearly, Inslee thinks Washingtonians should be giving billions more to state government, either through higher taxes on employers or through the increased costs that consumers inevitably pay when taxes go up. But it is disingenuous to use schools as the primary excuse, especially when there is no reason to believe that even a massive tax increase would end the threat of teacher strikes.