Republican Senators in Washington State Legislature Block Passage of Capital Budget

Joint statement from Seattle State Senators last night

David Frockt       Reuven Carlyle  Jamie Pedersen Rebecca Saldana

Marilyn Chase Bob Hasegawa

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — July 20, 2017
Failure to pass capital budget will hit Seattle communities hard
OLYMPIA — Seattle area state senators warned today that the Senate’s failure to pass a capital budget will have dramatic effects on proposed investments for the Seattle area in K-12 education, community colleges, housing and health care, including mental health, among other critical needs.
Though capital budget projects around the state were agreed to by Democratic and Republican negotiators on Tuesday, Senate Republicans continued to insist that a separate water rights bill be resolved first before they would agree to vote on the budget and its corresponding bonds. As a result, the Legislature adjourned from its third special session with no action on this vital budget that historically makes critical investments in Washington’s future.
The negotiated $4 billion dollar budget would have created thousands of jobs in all parts of Washington, including throughout the Seattle area.
The budget provided state matching funds for over $1 billion in school construction projects already approved at the local level, including at least $35 million for schools in Seattle, $15 million for Lake Washington School District and $8 million for Edmonds School District among others. Additionally, the budget provided for hundreds of millions of dollars in buildings for the higher education system from community colleges in this region to the University of Washington. At UW, the budget provided matching funds for the Burke Museum as well as the new Population Health Science building, leveraging the UW’s partnership with the Gates Foundation to make Seattle the world leader in global health. There was an additional $40 million to UW for advanced materials and clean energy test beds, the Evans School’s Parrington Hall, and renovation of the Medical School’s Health Sciences T-Wing.
The agreed-upon budget would have provided over $100 million for the Housing Trust Fund, including investments in local housing projects through innovative modular housing and tiny home projects to a new workforce housing development in Mt. Baker. It contained a first-of-its-kind investment in Community Health Centers to address Washington’s ongoing dental health crisis for the poor, who often lack access to dentists and wind up in local emergency rooms.
The budget would have built on the state mental health system by providing new facilities in a number of regions where the lack of treatment options is acute and where the state is under court order to find remedies. It would have invested in critical water infrastructure and flood control projects east of the mountains while also providing record investments in stormwater controls and conservation and restoration in the Puget Sound area.
“Having negotiated for the Senate Democratic Caucus and having reached across the aisle to reach an agreement on all of the proposed expenditures, I am very disappointed that this budget agreement was essentially held hostage to a resolution of a separate water rights bill,” said Sen. David Frockt, D-Seattle. “I recognized that that was an important issue, but the fact is we just ended the longest session in Washington State history without a new biennial capital budget for the first time in decades. These two issues – the budget and the water rights bill — need to be delinked for the good of the entire state. That is what we are supposed to be doing. Regrettably, they weren’t delinked, even though there were solutions on the table that would have provided immediate relief for rural property owners to dig wells.”
“The governor has indicated an openness to a continued effort to resolve this impasse so that these critical investments in Washington can be made. I will continue to work with him and with both parties to get this budget passed and funded.” Said Frockt.
“The Senate Republicans have taken it upon themselves to deprive our community of important projects and economic development investments that our most vulnerable depend on,” said Sen. Rebecca Saldaña, D-Seattle. “From critical affordable housing for seniors and the homeless, to community and arts centers and parks, my constituents will feel the impact of the GOP’s inability to govern.”
“The failure of Senate Republican leadership to pass a capital budget is both disappointing and frustrating,” said Sen. Jamie Pedersen, D-Seattle. “This reckless decision will prevent investments in schools, community healthcare, and the arts and cost thousands of jobs.”
“The Republicans’ refusal to allow the passage of this budget, approved by all but one Republican in the other chamber, is nothing less than a dereliction of their duties as public servants,” said Sen. Maralyn Chase, D-Shoreline. “They have committed to a course of action that will harm Washingtonians in every corner of our state.”
“Our infrastructure and quality of life will deteriorate, and all Washingtonians will share the pain to varying degrees,” said Sen. Bob Hasegawa, D-Beacon Hill. “It doesn’t make sense to hold a $4 billion jobs and infrastructure bill hostage for the right of developers to trump other people’s senior water rights.”
“I remain deeply committed to resolving this crisis, and finding a path forward in the weeks and months ahead,” said Sen. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle “I was proud to have secured funding to reduce class sizes through school construction and am devastated the deal has fallen apart. I’m not giving up and will fight to secure these vital dollars. Our Seattle delegation is 100-percent on board to support a responsible capital investment budget.”
Had it passed, the budget would have funded these projects in in Saldaña’s 37th District:
 $3 million for Othello Homesight;
 $3 million for Aging in PACE;
 $2 million for Valley City Recovery Place;
 $1.5 million for the Amara Building;
 $1.3 million for the Multicultural Community Center in Seattle;
 $1.1 million to clean up Mt. Baker Properties for new housing;
 $750,000 for the Georgetown Steam Plant Historic Steam Plant;
 $737,000 for El Centro e la Raza;
 $600,000 for the Filipino Community Innovation Center;
 $520,000 to expand Pratt’s Campus
 $400,000 for Washington Care Services;
 $400,000 for Ethiopian Community Affordable Senior Housing;
 $360,000 for the Cherry Street Fellowship;
 $315,000 for Children’s Playgarden;
 $250,000 to increase dental clinic capacity via the Seattle Indian Health Board;
 $200,000 for the Seattle Indian Health Board; and
 $141,000 for the Mount Baker Community Club.

In Pedersen’s 43rd District, the budget would have funded:
 $1.855 million for the Country Doctor Community Health Centers;
 $1.5 million in renovations to the Asian Art Museum;
 $1.5 million for the Campaign for Town Hall;
 $1.5 million in improvements to Hugo House;
 $1.3 million for Neighborcare;
 $1.1 million to the University YMCA;
 $750,000 for upgrades to the 5th Avenue Theater;
 $643,000 for preservation of the historic University Heights Center;
 $600,000 for University YMCA;
 $500,000 to purchase the Lambert House;
 $491,000 for upgrades to the Paramount Theatre;
 $475,000 for redevelopment of the Arboretum Waterfront Trail;
 $354,000 for the Cornish Playhouse;
 $257,000 for Lighthouse No. 83;
 $257,000 for Phase Three rehabilitation of the Stimson-Green Mansion Building;
 $75,000 for NW Choirs;
 $29,000 to replace the deck of the MV Lotus; and
 $21,000 for Nikkei Herigate.

In Chase’s 32nd District, the budget would have funded:
 $50 million for the Dept. of Ecology for leaking tank model remedies at the Strickland Chevron in Lynnwood;
 $37.7 million for the Edmonds Community College’s Science, Engineering, Technology Building;
 $3.5 million for Allied Health, Science & Manufacturing in Shoreline;
 $2.8 million for an addition to the Public Health Lab South Laboratory;
 $2.5 million for an addition to a Newborn Screening Wing;
 $2.2 million for the South Snohomish County Community Resource Center in Lynnwood; and
 $650,000 to increase dental clinic capacity at International Community Health Services in Shoreline.

In Hasagawa’s 11th District, the budget would have funded:
 $7.5 million via the Department of Ecology for Floodplains by Design;
 $3.5 million in construction loans for the Georgetown Wet Weather Treatment Station;
 $3.05 million for Sunset Neighborhood Park in Renton;
 $698,000 for roof repairs to the Museum of Flight;
 $500,000 to develop the Lake to Sound Trail;
 $500,000 for Geriatric Diversion;
 $412,000 for the Sunset Career Center in Renton;
 $11 million for conservation projects; and
 $2.6 million for Community and Technical College projects.

In Carlyle’s 36th District, the budget would have funded:
 $1.5 million for improvements to the Seattle Opera at the Center;
 $900,000 for improvements to Interbay PDAC;
 $400,000 in improvements to the Seattle Aquarium;
 $258,000 for renovations to the PONCHO Forum;
 $167,000 in improvements to the Millionair Club;
 $65,000 in improvements to the Seattle Opera; and
 $30,000 for renewal of the lower Yamasaki Courtyard.

In Frockt’s 46th District, the budget would have funded:
 $2 million for renovations at the Magnuson Community Center;
 $1.2 million for Lyon Creek Fish Barrier Removal at Lake Forest Park;
 $250,000 for improvements to Moorlands Park in Kenmore;
 $250,000 for improvement to the Kenmore Public Boathouse in Kenmore; and
 $75,000 for improvements to the St. Edward State Park Environmental Learning Center.

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A list of all statewide and local capital budget projects is available upon request.
For information: Rick Manugian, Senate Democratic Communications, 360-786-7569

Help Fund Public Education Now by Ending Tax Exemptions as Off Budget Spending

END TAX EXEMPTIONS AS OFF-BUDGET SPENDING
BY ADDING THEM AS TAX EXPENDITURES TO THE STATE BUDGET!

Washington State currently gives away more revenue from its tax base than it collects. This is a broken tax system built up over many years.  

The Washington State Department of Revenue in their 2016 Tax Expenditure Report  projected for the 2015 -2017 biennium that off budget tax expenditures would total almost $40 billion while only collecting revenue totaling some $32.6 billion.

We don’t generally think of them as such but these tax exemptions, preferences, deductions, credits and deferrals are off budget expenditures. They lack the accountability and transparency that exists for other expenditures the state makes as part of the biennial budget process.

The Governor must as part of the biennial budget process evaluate all expenditures according to a Priorities of Government protocol. Unfortunately tax exemptions do not have the same criteria or scrutiny. The result is that while the state legislature is seemingly unable to comply with  the Washington State Supreme Court’s McCleary decision to fulfill Washington’s “paramount duty” under the Washington State Constitution to fund public education, it excludes from tax collection billions of dollars.

Taxpayers deserve better accountability and transparency of the state’s  tax and revenue system. They deserve to know who is receiving these tax exemptions, how much money is involved and for what reason they are given. They deserve to have a system that prioritizes state needs, not exemptions for special interests and the wealthy that benefit from a system where 90% of the exemptions have no sunset provision while the state budget has a biennial review and vote as to funding.

According to the Washington State Department of Revenue’s  2016 Tax Exemption Study, while the State expects to collect some $7.4 billion in B&O tax revenue in the current 2015 -2017 biennium, it exempts from collection some $11.4 billion. When sales and use taxes were included with the analysis, the results are similar – the state expects to collect some $18.9 billion in revenue from sales and use tax, while exempting some $16.9 billion in revenue

Washington State has created some 694 tax exemptions over the years. Over 450 of these are discretionary tax exemptions, not required by Federal or State constitutional law. These discretionary tax exemptions will account for over $28.3 billion in B &O and sales/use tax revenue not collected in the current biennium..

Including property tax exemptions the 2016 Department of Revenue Report projects that in total, Washington State will see as off budget tax expenditures almost $40 billion in tax exemptions this biennium while only collecting revenues of $32.6 billion for the Legislature to fund its biennial budget.

HB 1500 introduced by Rep.Pollet and 32 other sponsors would require the governor to propose and the state legislature to adopt a Tax Expenditure Budget every 2 years as part of the biennial omnibus operating appropriations act. A companion bill, SB 5513 has been introduced in the WA State Senate by Senator David Frockt with 12 other sponsors.

HB 1500 / SB 5513 would give the Washington State Legislature an opportunity to periodically evaluate the need and effectiveness of the state’s tax exemptions in meeting current state needs. They would do this at the same time they are making budget decisions about prioritizing other state expenditures for public services as part of the biennial budget appropriations process.

What would HB 1500 /SB 5513 – the Tax Exemption Transparency and Accountability Act do?

 This measure would require new and existing discretionary tax exemptions to be authorized every two years in a tax expenditure budget. It will add much needed transparency and accountability to the hundreds of exemptions and preferences, along with their cost and how each decision to spend money on an exemption or preference is a choice to expend funds for this purpose with particular beneficiaries.

The tax expenditure budget would detail the fiscal impact, purpose, and effectiveness in meeting the purpose of each tax exemption.

 Tax exemption not included in the tax expenditure budget would expire at the end of the calendar year in which the budget is adopted.

Contact your Legislators at www.leg.wa.org and urge them to support the Tax Exemption Transparency and Accountability Act.

 Action item – Urging your Legislators to pass HB 1500 and companion bill SB 5513 is easy. You can leave them a message by going to www.leg.wa.gov, entering 1500 or 5513 for the bill number after clicking the bill information link and then clicking on “comment on this bill.” Or call the Legislative hotline at 1-800-562-6000 and leave a message to for your legislators and the Governor to support HB 1500 and SB 5513 to prioritize state spending, accountability and transparency by creating a Tax Expenditure Budget as part of the biennial budget appropriations process.

Be sure to thank your legislators if they are a sponsor of this legislation. Their support is appreciated. Legislators sponsoring HB 1500 – Pollet, Farrell, Appleton, Tarleton, Ryu, Wylie, Santos, Marci, Doglio, Jinkins, Orwall, Tharinger, Stonier, Kagi, Fitzgibbon, Kloba, Stanford, Berquist, McBride, Ortiz-Self, Goodman, Dolan, Cody, Pettigrew, Riccelli, Sells, Hudgins, Kirby, Lovick, Frame, Peterson, Ormsby, Pellicciotti

 Legislators sponsoring SB 5513 – Frockt, Hasegawa, Miloscia, Rolfes, Saldana, Keiser, Wellman, Conway, Chase, Billig, Kuderer, Hunt, McCoy

For more information:Contact Steve Zemke – Director Tax Sanity, Steve@taxsanity.org,  www.taxsanity.org,  

Make Voter Registration Easier in Washington State

Action needed – Two bills currently before the Washington State Legislature will make it easier for voters to register to vote. They have both passed the House and have had a Hearing in the Senate State Government Committee but need citizen input now to get out of committee for a vote by the full Senate.  Please contact committee members and urge them to vote these bills out of committee. The deadline for bills that came from the other house to be voted out of committee is March 29, 2017.

HB 1468 – changes the deadline for voter registration from 29 days before the election to 11 days
HB 1513 – authorizes 16 and 17 years old to sign up to register to vote when they turn 18

Contact members of the Senate State Government Committee to vote these bills out of committee for a full Senate vote. Send an e-mail or call:

Mark Milosca – Chair    mark.miloscia@leg.wa.gov    1-360-786-7648
Hans Zeiger   hans.zeiger@leg.wa.gov    1-360-786-7648
Sam Hunt   sam.hunt@leg.wa.gov    1-360-786-7642
Patty Kuderer   patty.kuderer@leg.wa.gov    1-360-786-7694
Kirk Pearson   kirkpearson@leg.wa.gov     1-360-786-7676

You can also call the toll free  legislative hotline 1-800-562-6000 and leave messages for all of them.

Additionally you can contact your own State Senator and urge her or him to contact Mark Miloscia and Committee members to act on these bills. They need to hear from us. Click on the bill links and click on “Comment on this Bill” and it  will send your message to your  legislators.

www.majorityrules.org like on fb – majority rules

Eight Legislative Races on Ballot in Washington State in 2017

 

There have been a number of special  appointments to fill vacated Legislative seats this year in Washington. As a result there are 5 Senate seats and 3 Representative seats up for election in 2017  because appointments to fill vacancies must stand election at the next General Election.

This provides a unique opportunity for Washington State Democrats to pick  up the Senate seat in the 45th LD in NE King County. Democrats currently are in the minority in the Washington State Senate having only 24 seats to the Republican caucus having 25 seats. Republicans have 25 seats in their caucus because Senator Tim Sheldon, claiming to be a Democrat when he runs, actually caucuses with the Republicans, giving them 25 votes.

The special Legislative elections this year presents a great opportunity for the Democrats to take back the majority in the Washington State Senate.  Democrat Manka Dhingra recently declared she is running for the Senate seat in the 45th LD. Republicans appointed Dino Rossi, a former Legislator and Gubernatorial candidate, to this seat. He has said he was not running in Nov. although this could change considering the importance of this election.

Filing to run in these elections is May 15 -19th. The Primary is August 1st and the general election is Nov. 7th.This is a big opportunity for the surging grassroots opposition to Trump and the GOP  to make a big difference. It is also a chance to get ready for efforts for 2018  to train and challenge ways that grassroots activism can bring e a big change in 2018.

Democrats currently are only 1 seat away from a majority in the Washington State Senate. But they are also only 1 seat away from Republicans controlling the House. Democrats need to increase their numbers in both Houses to be effective and push their legislation.  This year Democrats can start the necessary work now to join California and Oregon in having strong majorities in our Legislature and being able to move forward on the state level to oppose efforts nationally by Trump and the GOP to move our progress backwards. 

List of Legislative races and appointments to the seats:

7th LD Senate – Shelly Short (R)
7th LD House – Jacqueline Maycumber (R)
31st LD Senate – Phil Fortunato (R)
31st LD House – Morgan Irwin (R)
37th LD Senate – Rebecca Saldaña (D)
45th LD Senate – Dino Rossi (R)
48th LD Senate – Patty Kuderer(D)
48th LD House – Vandana Slatter (D)

No Democrats have yet filed to run in the 7th or the 31st races. Republicans will field a candidate in the 45th for sure as well as the 2 seats in the 48th. It is expected that these will be very intensive campaigns with lots of money flowing to both Republicans and Democrats.  Expect that out of state funds from right wing entities like the Koch Brothers will show up.

We need to have Democrats running in every seat – Republicans should have no free ride. And in all these races Democrats can start now registering voters and starting voter contacts to id voters likely to vote Democratic. Marching can get people energized – grassroots organizing is where we make a big difference by changing who’s in charge.

See also  Daily Kos  – Huge – Democrats finally have a chance to take back the Washington State Senate – and turn the State blue.

What happened? What do we do now? Living in Trumpland

For many here is America, the world has changed. They have woken up in a strange land called Trumpland. Democrats, progressives, liberals, independents and even some Republicans are asking what the hell happened.   How did we get here and what do we do now? Below is some recommended reading that attempts to give some insight as to this new reality that has set in. Suggestions are offered by some as to what to do. This is an ongoing search for answers. I will add new articles as they emerge.

Indivisible Guide –  A Practical Guide for resisting the Trump Agenda   has been written by former Congressional staffers, Jan 2017. They give suggestions based on the success of the Tea Party as to how Progressives can fight back, to limit the negative impacts of the GOP and Trump. They also provide links to Indivisible groups that have formed across the country.

‘Data-driven’ campaigns are killing the Democratic Party. Politico Feb 12, 2017  – This article argues that data driven campaign over the last 4 cycles have resulted in catastrophic losses for Democrats.  It urges connecting with voters through storytelling, having a clear message that reaches voters on an emotional level.

A Low Tech Guide to Becoming Politically Active, New York Times, Feb 8, 2017 – Lots of good advice here – the title in the print edition is “How to Turn Your Facebook Rants Into Real-Life Activism”

How to Build an Autocracy, Atlantic March 2017  – Good discussion of the ways Trump and Bannon are working to convert our democracy to an autocracy that benefits the wealthy.
David Frum – “What is spreading today is repressive kleptocracy, lead by rulers based on greed…Such rulers rely less on terror and more on rule twisting, the manipulation of information, and the co-option of elites.

What Effective Protest Could Look Like, Atlantic, Feb 6, 2017 –  “Perspective From the Right, for Effective Challenge From the Left

Post-Fascist Europe Tells Us Exactly How to Defend Our Democracy -Yes Magazine Jan 13, 2017 – “Americans are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism, or communism. Our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience. Now is a good time to do so. Here are 20 lessons from the 20th century, adapted to the circumstances of today.”

10 Investigative Reporting Outlets to Follow, Bill Moyers, Jan 13,2017  – “Here are some new organizations to follow as well as a few established ones  that are working to uncover the truth.

A Guide for Rebuilding the Democratic Party from the Ground Up, VOX, Jan 5,2017 -“Organizationally, the US right is light years ahead of the left. A leading political scientist explains what Democrats should do to change that”

To Stop Trump, Democrats Can Learn from the Tea Party, New York Times, Jan 2, 2107 –  Op-Ed – “The Tea Party’s ideas were wrong, and their often racist rhetoric and physical threats were unacceptable. But they understood how to wield political power and made two critical strategic decisions. First, they organized locally, focusing on their own members of Congress. Second, they played defense, sticking together to aggressively resist anything with President Obama’s support. With this playbook, they rattled our elected officials, targeting Democrats and Republicans alike.”

The Democratic Ggame Plan for Making Trump Miserable – and Regaining Power,  New York Magazine, Dec. 23, 2016

What Those Who Studied Nazis Can Teach Us About the Strange Reaction to Donald Trump, Huffington Post Dec 19, 2016 – “While its Important to watch the President Elect Closely, We also Must be Mindful of Our Own Response to Him.”

Why the Electoral College is the absolute worst, explained, VOX, Dec 19, 2016  –  The Electoral College is a rigged archaic voting system that violates the one person, one vote 1962 Supreme Court Decision that changed state elections..

99 Ways to Fight Trump, Do One, Do them all, But do Something

Steve Bannon and Breitbart News, in their own words, New York Times,  Nov 14, 2016 – Bannon and Breitbart News in their own words – necessary reading to help understand the man behind Donald Trump.

Trump’s Choice of Stephen Bannon Is Nod to Anti-Washington Base, New York Times , Nov 14, 2016 – ” In naming Stephen K. Bannon to a senior White House post, President-elect Donald J. Trump has elevated the hard-right nationalist movement that Mr. Bannon has nurtured for years from the fringes of American politics to its very heart, a remarkable shift that has further intensified concern about the new administration’s direction.”

Steve Bannon, Trump’s Top Guy, Told Me He Was a ‘Leninist” Who Wanted to ‘Destroy the State’, TheDailyBeast.com,  August 21, 2016, – When the President’s top advisor’s goal is to tear America apart not build it up we as a nation are under siege. That is what is happening now.
Daily Beast – “I’m a Leninist,” Bannon proudly proclaimed. Shocked, I asked him what he meant. Lenin,” he answered, “wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.” Bannon was employing Lenin’s strategy for Tea Party populist goals. He included in that group the Republican and Democratic Parties, as well as the traditional conservative press.”

Uneasy About the Future, Readers Turn to Dystopian Classics, New York Times, Jan 27, 2017 – Big surge in dystopian classics happening as people buy copies of Margaret Atwood’s Tales of a Handmaid, George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm, and Sinclair Lewis’s It Can’t Happen Here. Not surprising considering what is happening.

Shape Tomorrow, Register and Vote –  the Democrats’ Sleeping Giant – Down with Tyranny, Jan 18,2017  – Case Study on successful impact of registering people to vote.

Autocracy , Rules for Survival, New York Review of Books, Nov. 10, 2016, – “But Trump is anything but a regular politician and this has been anything but a regular election. Trump will be only the fourth candidate in history and the second in more than a century to win the presidency after losing the popular vote. He is also probably the first candidate in history to win the presidency despite having been shown repeatedly by the national media to be a chronic liar, sexual predator, serial tax-avoider, and race-baiter who has attracted the likes of the Ku Klux Klan. Most important, Trump is the first candidate in memory who ran not for president but for autocrat—and won.”

End Tax Exemptions as Off Budget Spending by Adding Them to the State Budget

 End Tax Exemptions as Off-Budget Spending

by Adding Them as Tax Expenditures to the State Budget!

Washington State HB 1500 -the Tax Exemption Transparency and Accountability Act of 2017 will have a hearing in the State House Finance Committee on Tues. Jan 31st.  Please attend the hearing or comment on the bill on line at leg.wa.gov.

 Why is HB 1500 needed?

We don’t generally think of them as such but tax exemptions, preferences, deductions, credits and deferrals are off budget expenditures. They lack the accountability and transparency that exists for other expenditures the state makes as part of the biennial budget process.

Taxpayers deserve to know who is receiving these tax exemptions, how much money is involved and for what reason they are given.

According to the Washington State Department of Revenue’s  2016 Tax Exemption Study, while the State expects to collect some $7.4 billion in B&O tax revenue in the current 2015 -2017 biennium, it exempts from collection some $11.4 billion. When sales and use taxes were included with the analysis, the results are similar – the state expects to collect some $18.9 billion in revenue from sales and use tax, while exempting some $16.9 billion in revenue

Washington State has created some 694 tax exemptions over the years. Over 450 of these are discretionary tax exemptions, not required by Federal or State constitutional law. These discretionary tax exemptions will account for over $28.3 billion in B &O and sales/use tax revenue not collected in the current biennium..

Including property tax exemptions the 2016 Department of Revenue Report projects that in total, Washington State will see as off budget tax expenditures almost $40 billion in tax exemptions this biennium while only collecting revenues of $32.6 billion for the Legislature to fund its biennial budget according to the Department of Revenue.

HB 1500 introduced by Rep.Pollet and 32 other sponsors would require the governor to propose and the state legislature to adopt a tax expenditure budget every 2 years as part of the biennial omnibus operating appropriations act. A companion bill, SB 5513 has been introduced in the WA State Senate by Senator David Frockt with 12 other sponsors.

HB 1500 / SB 5513 would give the Washington State Legislature an opportunity to periodically evaluate the need and effectiveness of the state’s tax exemptions in meeting current state needs. They would do this at the same time they are making budget decisions about prioritizing other state expenditures for public services as part of the biennial budget appropriations process.

What would HB 1500 /SB 5513 – the Tax Exemption Transparency and Accountability Act do?

 This measure would require new and existing discretionary tax exemptions to be authorized every two years in a tax expenditure budget. It will add much needed transparency and accountability to the hundreds of exemptions and preferences, along with their cost and how each decision to spend money on an exemption or preference is a choice to expend funds for this purpose with particular beneficiaries.

The tax expenditure budget would detail the fiscal impact, purpose, and effectiveness in meeting the purpose of each tax exemption.

 Tax exemption not included in the tax expenditure budget would expire at the end of the calendar year in which the budget is adopted.

Contact your Legislators at www.leg.wa.org and urge them to support the Tax Exemption Transparency and Accountability Act.

 Action item – Urging your Legislators to pass HB 1500 and companion bill SB 5513 is easy. You can leave them a message by going to leg.wa.gov, entering 1500 or 5513 for the bill number after clicking the bill information link and then clicking on “comment on this bill.” Or call the Legislative hotline at 1-800-562-6000 and leave a message to for your legislators and the Governor to support HB 1500 and SB 5513 to create a tax expenditure budget as part of the biennial budget appropriations process. And be sure to thank your legislators if they are a sponsor of this legislation. Their support is appreciated.

 Legislators sponsoring HB 1500 – Pollet, Farrell, Appleton, Tarleton, Ryu, Wylie, Santos, Marci, Doglio, Jinkins, Orwall, Tharinger, Stonier, Kagi, Fitzgibbon, Kloba, Stanford, Berquist, McBride, Ortiz-Self, Goodman, Dolan, Cody, Pettigrew, Riccelli, Sells, Hudgins, Kirby, Lovick, Frame, Peterson, Ormsby, Pellicciotti

 Legislators sponsoring SB 5513 – Frockt, Hasegawa, Miloscia, Rolfes, Saldana, Keiser, Wellman, Conway, Chase, Billig, Kuderer, Hunt, McCoy

  For more information:

Contact Steve Zemke – Director Tax Sanity, steve@taxsanity.orgwww.taxsanity.org,  

cross posted at TaxSanity.org

On Ignoring Trump’s Tweets – Time to Attack GOP’s Bad Policy Proposals

It’s time for Democrats and others who do not support Trump’s proposed agenda and that of the GOP that now controls Congress, to start talking about the issues facing our country. Many of the programs and laws that progressives have put in place to help people and make America a better place to live are now  under threat of being reversed and lost.

It’s time to stop responding to Trump’s inane and diversionary tweets (and other comments) as Jack Shafer on Politico writes in a post entitled “Stop Being Trump’s Twitter Fool” As Shafer says:

“By this time you’d expect that people would have figured out when Donald Trump is yanking their chain and pay him the same mind they do phone calls tagged “Out of Area” by Caller ID. But, no. Like Pavlov’s dog, too many of us leap to object or correct the president-elect whenever he composes a deliberately provocative tweet …”

It’s time to refocus on America and protecting the advances made by Democrats over the years. Trump has dominated the media for the last year and a half with his reality TV show hype and rant. The media was taken in by it as well as the Democratic Party. He has snookered many Americans into voting for him based on short soundbites that says little about what he would do.

We do know however the broad outline based on years of right wing proposals in Congress and Trump seems to be in the their camp on most of these proposals. Have no doubt –  the agenda of the far right, the tea party and GOP conservatives will be advancing through Congress now with Trump winning the Presidency and Republicans controlling both the US House and US Senate. There is no sense that the Republicans will be restrained or reasonable in their moving forward. And there is no longer someone in the White House to veto their proposals.

It’s time to now aggressively go on the offense and work to change the discussion to where they are vulnerable. It’s time, for example,  to emphasize how they are threatening human health and our planet by proposing to ignore or reject the Paris Climate Agreement. We need to aggressively reduce carbon pollution, not work to produce more while enriching coal and oil companies and  generating more pollution. We need to shift to a post carbon economy.

Push them on the national minimum wage not being raised because of Republican opposition since 2009, stuck at $7.25 and no automatic adjustment for inflation. The current minimum wage is a starvation wage, not a living wage. It is an affront to human dignity and decency and Republicans should be ashamed. Push for a $15/hour minimum wage.

Talk about how cutting taxes for the wealthy like the inheritance tax and income taxes is just going to further increase income inequality. The country more and more is a plutocracy where a wealthy few are running it. Electing a so called billionaire who has used the anger of working families to get elected by offering them change he never really defined is a recipe for being hoodwinked.

Talk about how their continuing to propose to privatize medicare and social security will hurt millions of low income people. That is not caring for working families – it is merely following the agenda of those that want to extract more profit for the few at the top of medical corporations and pharmaceutical companies. Health care is a human right and should not turn wage earners into pawns to extract money from to further enrich the wealthy.

Talk about how Democratic economic policies will help working families while Trump’s are focused on helping the already wealthy 1% and corporate America.

Talk about how to educate our children, not make schools into profit machines to enrich the few by using public money for private schools and charter schools.

The change we need is to talk about the impact of his proposed policies, not his personality since we’ve seen that is not effective even if what is said is true. Talk about how Democratic polices  make life better for working families while Republican policies have been a driving force for wealth creation by the 1% at the expense of the 99%.

It’s time to move forward  by emphasizing where the GOP and Trump are  not helping working families. Do this by proposing an aggressive agenda to raise the minimum wage, push for Green jobs and protect public health and safety and welfare from corporate greed.

If Congress won’t do this then work at the state and local level to push these issues and involve the public in building  support for voting the GOP out of Congress in 2 years and replacing them with Democrats who really are working to help the people of America.

It’s time to get to work!

Time to Change Electoral College Vote to National Popular Vote

For the second time in 20 years the winner of the national popular vote for US President  will not become the President.  Instead the winner of the Electoral College Vote will. Hillary Clinton has  1.42 million more votes nationally than Donald Trump. Donald Trump will however under the US Constitution  be elected President by Electors  assigned by 306 Electoral Votes for Trump and  232 for Hillary Clinton with Michigan still finalizing their results  as of this writing. A vote of 270 electoral votes is needed to win.
An alternative to the Electoral College is states passing the National Popular Vote law.

 The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes nationwide (i.e., all 50 states and the District of Columbia). Written Explanation  

States that have passed the National Popular Vote include California, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. The status of all the states can be seen by clicking on this link.  State Status
One national organization working to pass the National Popular Vote is Common Cause.

“If you’re upset that the Electoral College swung this election, then the National Popular Vote compact is the most effective and practical way to change our system for the better. Please add your name today to tell lawmakers in your state to sign onto the National Popular Vote compact.

Representative Barbara Boxer has introduced a bill in Congress to amend the US Constitution to abolish the Electoral College. This is a much more difficult process that requires 2/3 of the members of both Houses of Congress to vote for it and then 3/4 of the states to pass it. Considering that Republicans control both the US House and Senate and a majority of state legislatures around the country this approach is likely not going anywhere at the moment.

Interestingly President Elect Donald Trump  reaffirmed his support for abolishing the Electoral College on 60 minutes this week but the next day praised the Electoral College. As usual it seems he is all over the place and one has no idea what he thinks.

The most practical approach at this time is for people to work to pass the National Popular Vote bill to create an interstate compact that uses the national popular vote to decide the outcome of the election. Check out what is happening in your state and urge your state legislators to act.

Washington Chapter Sierra Club 2016 General Election Endorsements

The Washington Chapter of the Sierra Club has made the following endorsements for the 2016 General Election ballot on November 8, 2016.

President – Hillary Clinton/Tim Kaine
US Senate – Patty Murray

US Representatives

  CD 1  Suzan DelBene
 CD 5  Joe Pakootas
 CD 6  Derek Kilmer
 CD  9  Adam Smith
CD 10  Denny Heck

Governor – Jay Inslee
Lieutenant Governor – Cyrus Habib
Attorney General – Bob Ferguson
Commissioner of Public Lands – Hilary Franz
Supreme Court Justice, Position #1 – Mary Yu
Supreme Court Justice, Position #5 – Barbara Madsen
Supreme Court Justice, Position #6 – Charles Wiggins

State Senate
State House
LD  1  Derek Stanford 
LD 1   Shelley Kloba 
LD 2  Amy Pivetta-Hoffman
LD 3  Marcus Riccelli                                                                                                                LD 3  Ormsby, Timm
LD 5  Darcy Burner
LD 10  Doris Brevoort
LD 11  Zack Hudgins
LD 11  Bergquist, Steve
LD 21  Strom Peterson
LD 21  Lillian Ortiz Self
LD 22  Laurie Dolan
LD 22 Beth Doglio
LD 23  Sherry Appleton
LD 23  Drew Hansen
LD 24  Mike Chapman
LD 24  Steve Tharinger
LD 25  Michelle Chatterton
LD 26  Larry Seaquist
LD 26 Randy Spitzer
LD 27  Laurie Jinkins
LD 27  Jake Fey
LD 28  Christine Kilduff
LD 28  Mari Leavitt
LD 29 Davis Sawyer
LD 29 Steve Kirby
LD 30  Mike Pellicciotti
LD 32  Cindy Ryu
LD 32  Ruth Kagi
LD 33  Tina Orwall
LD 33  Mia Gregerson
LD 34 Eileen Cody
LD 34  Joe Fitzgibbon
LD 35  Irene Bowling
LD 38  June Robinson
LD 38  Mike Sells
LD 39  Ronda Metcalf
LD 40  Kristine Lytton
LD 41  Tana Senn
LD 43  Frank Chopp
LD 43  Nicole Macri
LD 44  John Lovick
LD 45  Roger Goodman
LD 46  Gerry Pollet
LD 46  Jessyn Farrell
LD 47  Pat Sullivan
LD 48  Joan McBride
LD 49  Sharon Wylie
LD 49  Monica Stonier
LD 49  Alishia Topper
Clallam County Commissioner, District 2, Port Angeles – Ron Richards
Snohomish County Council – Hans Dunshee
Pierce County Executive – Rick Talbert
Pierce County Commissioner, District 2 – Carolyn Edmonds
Pierce County Commissioner, District 4 – Connie Ladenburg
Pierce County Commissioner, District 6 – Linda Farmer
Thurston County Commissioner, District 1 – Jim Cooper
Thurston County Commissioner, District 2 – Kelsey Hulse

 

Washington Conservation Voters 2016 General Election Endorsements for Legislature

The Washington Conservation Voters works to “elect environmentally responsible candidates” in Washington State. Below is their list of candidates for the Washington State Legislature they think will be leaders in protecting the environment. Additional statewide endorsements and ballot measures endorsements can be seen on their endorsement page.

Washington Conservation Voters     General Election Endorsements                     Washington State LEGISLATIVE RACES 2016

1st District
Senate: Guy Palumbo
House Position 1: Derek Stanford
House Position 2: Shelley Kloba
3rd District
Senate: Andy Billig
House Position 1: Marcus Riccelli
House Position 2: Timm Ormsby
5th District
Senate: Mark Mullet
House Position 1: Jason Ritchie
House Position 2: Darcy Burner
6th District
House Position 1: Lynnette Vehrs
10th District
Senate: Angie Homola
House Position 2: Doris Brevoort
11th District
Senate: Robert Hasegawa
House Position 1: Zachary Hudgins
House Position 2: Steven Bergquist
17th District
Senate: Tim Probst
House Position 1: Sam Kim
21st District
House Position 1: Strom Peterson
House Position 2: Lillian Ortiz-Self
22nd District
Senate: Sam Hunt
House Position 1: Laurie Dolan
House Position 2: Beth Doglio
23rd District
Senate: Christine Rolfes
House Position 1: Sherry Appleton
House Position 2: Drew Hansen
24th District
Senate: Kevin Van De Wege
House Position 1: Mike Chapman
House Position 2: Stephen Tharinger
25th District
House Position 2: Michelle Chatterton
26th District
House Position 1: Larry Seaquist
House Position 2: Randy Spitzer
27th District
Senate: Jeannie Darneille
House Position 1: Laurie Jinkins
House Position 2: Jacob Fey
28th District
Senate: Marisa Peloquin
House Position 1: Mari Leavitt
House Position 2: Christine Kilduff
29th District
House Position 1: David Sawyer
House Position 2: Steven Kirby
30th District
House Position 1: Michael Pellicciotti
House Position 2: Kristine Reeves
32nd District
House Position 1: Cindy Ryu
House Position 2: Ruth Kagi
33rd District
House Position 1: Tina Orwall
House Position 2: Mia Su-Ling Gregerson
34th District
House Position 1: Eileen Cody
House Position 2: Joseph Fitzgibbon
35th District
House Position 1: Irene Bowling
House Position 2: Craig Patti
36th District
Senate: Reuven Carlyle
House Position 1: Noel Frame
House Position 2: Gael Tarleton
37th District
House Position 1: Sharon Tomiko Santos
House Position 2: Eric Pettigrew
38th District
House Position 1: June Robinson
House Position 2: Michael Sells
40th District
Senate: Kevin Ranker
House Position 1: Kristine Lytton
House Position 2: Jeffrey Morris
41st District
House Position 1: Tana Senn
House Position 2: Judith Clibborn
42nd District
House Position 1: Sharlaine LaClair
43rd District
House Position 1: Nicole Macri
House Position 2: Frank Chopp
44th District
House Position 1: John Lovick
House Position 2: Katrina Ondracek
45th District
House Position 1: Roger Goodman
House Position 2: Lawrence Springer
46th District
House Position 1: Gerald Pollet
House Position 2: Jessyn Farrell
47th District
House Position 2: Patrick Sullivan
48th District
House Position 1: Patricia Kuderer
House Position 2: Joan McBride
49th District
Senate: Annette Cleveland
House Position 1: Sharon Wylie
House Position 2: Alishia Topper