All political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and are established to protect and maintain individual rights.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Seattle Minimum Wage

The Seattle City Clowncil has imposed a city wide increase in minimum wage to $15 per hour.  This move is anti-freedom --a repressive political system based on control by a single group of politicians.  The political class is hoping the workers' greed will blind them to the cost of the loss of freedom.  If you didn't earn it, you don't own it. Anticipate the political class to remind you of this when they take your "excess" money from you.

Once again the Council politicians have convinced people that personal freedom -- the freedom to make it on your own - is a bad idea, and the people need someone to control their lives.  The Council's authoritarian pigs are going to destroy individual businesses so they can look like heroes to the shrinking number of employed people. 

The Council's message to business is clear:  Don't locate in Seattle.  We will take away your right to do business.  The Council's message to the people is also clear: we, the Council, are happy to spend someone else money to fool you into thinking we are giving you something.  The political class only wants your vote.  They don't care about your wage except to fool you.  Don't be fooled. 

The Council should be hung.

Cross posted on Resistance and Life

Friday, April 25, 2014

Free today?

Today, you are free! At least it's "Tax Freedom Day," which arrives in Washington state later than in 41 other states.

If all of our state's economic output, from January 1 until today, was directed to paying local, state, and federal taxes, it would take until today-April 25-to pay that bill. To put it another way, nearly a third of what we produce goes to government. And that's just in the form of taxes, not counting fees and debt.

Tax Freedom Day arrived in Oregon five days ago; in Idaho it was April 11. Washington can do better, if we wrench back control of government from public-sector unions. Those private special interests fight tooth and nail to grow government, imposing an ever-greater burden on everybody else.

Want proof? Tax Freedom Day for states that don't allow union monopolies would be on April 14, meaning the average tax burden in those states is significantly less than here. We can do better. As you help us expose monopoly unions and how they rig our political system, you are part of the solution.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Cary Condotta's Olympia report

The Legislature adjourned the 60-day, 2014 legislative session on time, Thursday, March 13. This means for the first time since 2009 there will be no special session. You will recall, last year we had three special sessions and lawmakers were in Olympia until the end of June. Below is a brief overview of successes and disappointments of the legislative session.

Supplemental operating budget
The supplemental state operating budget passed by the Legislature this year had some very positive pieces to it. However, I opposed the budget this session because it left out some tax incentives important to our region. If you recall, in November, legislators were rushed back to Olympia and in a whirlwind special session we were asked to vote on tax incentive legislation to keep Boeing jobs in the Puget Sound region. Some legislators from Eastern Washington reminded all legislators during the debate to remember this during the upcoming session so we can do more to help the rest of our state improve job creation and strengthen the economy. 

Unfortunately, there were tax incentive bills for a variety of issues, including extending the tax incentive legislation to construct data centers, that would have helped accomplish this, but the proposals were not included in the final budget. The governor and House Democrats continually talk about “one Washington” but that doesn’t seem to extend outside the I-5 corridor. The latest unemployment numbers recently came out. King County has the lowest rate at 5.2 percent while the counties in the 12th District are:
  • Chelan: 8.8 percent
  • Douglas: 9.0 percent
  • Okanogan: 10.9 percent
  • Grant: 11.5 percent
We had a great opportunity to improve the business climate for all of Washington, not just the one Washington on the Westside of the mountains.

Prime-sponsored legislation
I had a number of bills receive public hearings and pass thru committees that brought attention to a variety of issues. We made significant progress on major issues for our district. These include defining independent contractors, property taxes and other bills related to local wineries and small business. We completed work on two of these important bills this session.

My bill to give county treasurers more flexibility in accepting property tax payments has been signed by the governor. I introduced House Bill 2309 because of the number of people I was hearing from about the lack of flexibility of trying to pay their property taxes during difficult times. A fellow legislator out of Spokane informed me his county treasurer, Rob Chase, had similar concerns. We worked on drafting the legislation and I was able to get it through the legislative process. This legislation may benefit people who lose their jobs, have health crises, live on retirement income or work seasonal jobs.

House Bill 2146 passed the Legislature unanimously and awaits the governor’s signature. It modifies the appeal bond amount for appeals of penalties to the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I). Unless you deal with this agency on a regular basis this may not mean a great deal to you, but it is a great example of the dysfunction we periodically encounter in our agencies. I became aware that to appeal a $150 penalty with the department you had to pay a $200 appeal bond. With small penalty levels and a high appeal cost, people obviously did not appeal. This will give people more reasonable access to appeal without encouraging frivolous appeals. This will change the appeal amount to 10 percent of the penalty amount, or $200, whichever is less, subject to a $100 minimum.

Session successes
House Bill 2789 is known as the “drone bill.” Given the National Security Agency (NSA) recording phone calls and e-mails, this bill quickly became very important this session. It places privacy protections around the use of unmanned surveillance aircraft by state agencies. It protects our privacy and constitutional rights as citizens. We are one of the first in the nation to pass such legislation. It still allows law enforcement to use surveillance aircraft in certain situations, such as search and rescue missions and emergencies. However, it will not allow agencies to observe your house or farm from the air without a warrant.

House Bill 2192 will promote economic development by improving the predictability and efficiency of state agency permit decisions. This legislation is a good transparency measure making information about permitting assistance and timelines more readily available to the public.

House Bills 2261 and 2262 require the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and the Department of Ecology (DOE) to “show their work” by categorizing on their websites the sources of scientific information relied upon in support of significant agency actions. This makes state agencies accountable for their actions and making their decision-making process more transparent.

House Bill 2207 provides that certain school districts which receive federal forest revenue will no longer have their state funding allocation reduced by the amount of federal forest revenue received.

Session disappointments
As I mentioned earlier, after the Legislature provided Boeing the tax incentives they wanted, nothing was done this session for the rest of the state. We had legislation to:
  • re-enact the Rural County Tax Incentive Program (that would have helped up to 31 counties);
  • extend the tax incentive for data centers constructed in our state; and
  • extend the same tax incentives Boeing received to rotorcraft (i.e. helicopters) because a company wanted to build helicopters in Southwest Washington.
I was very surprised the budget didn’t include renewing the server farm/data center tax incentive, especially with the amount of construction, economic development and family-wage jobs we saw it generate.
Other disappointments include:
  • The lack of meaningful transportation reforms to ensure gas tax dollars are maximized and WSDOT is held accountable (Bertha shutdown, faulty 520 Bridge pontoons – including cost overruns, waste in the ferry system); and 
  • Nothing to help people who have been negatively impacted by Obamacare (290,000 cancellation notices).
I-502 implementation
I was recently appointed as the ranking Republican on the House Government Oversight and Accountability Committee (GOA). This committee works on legislation related to alcohol, gambling and now overseeing the implementation of the legalization of marijuana initiative (I-502).

The citizens of Washington passed the initiative and the Legislature is trying to provide regulations and oversight to make it work. It has proven to be a very difficult task since no other state has done this before. Even Colorado is operating off a very different model than our voters approved. The challenge for me is to ensure local money is included in any implementation plan. Many cities and counties are struggling, including right here in our 12th District.

Local governments are concerned about oversight on marijuana grows and businesses in their localities when no funding has been designated for them in the initiative. Many have considered bans or moratoriums rather than risk increased costs dealing with zoning, planning and enforcement.

Unfortunately, we were unable to reach an agreement before the session adjourned. Senate Bill 5887 would have integrated the medical and recreational marijuana systems, and made several changes related to the possession, growing and purchasing of medical marijuana as well as provide local governments with some of the tax money generated from the I-502 implementation.

We worked on this issue up until the last hour, including a one-on-one meeting with Gov. Jay Inslee. All the stakeholders agreed to keep working to ensure local governments a share in this program.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

$15/hour minimum wage?

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee has declared Washington State needs to have a higher minimum wage.  If the worst tradition of "liberalism" Inslee is spending someone else money, but now Inslee is too cowardly to tax it first. 

A minimum wage supposes no dignity of working -- under the minimum wage system, people don't get a wage, they are assigned a scale. 

Government forces upon them the idea that the wage earner is inferior to the employer, that only Big Brother government can make the mean ol' employer pay the wage -- premised upon the idea the worker is too weak to stand on his own hind legs. 

The government supposes the worker is a weakling, and must be protected and coddled and controlled, never to live life as a free citizen, but only to exist until it is convenient for the government autocrats to allow the worker to perish.  No free worker should believe this kind of patronizing.

The economic impact is the minimum wage has always caused a reduction in labor hours, i.e. total employment drops. 

Think about it:  If something goes up in cost, do you 1) buy more of it because you are stupid and loaded with money?  or 2) you buy less of the thing because you are not loaded with money and are watching your expenses too.  

If the $15 hour wage is adopted we will see more automation and less unskilled labor used in the market.  Another impact is new workers in the market, i.e. the young, will get frozen out.

The second result is more severe:  The actual use of labor may drop significantly because the hourly price is set too high.  If $15 is good, why isn't $35 better?  Why not make the minimum wage $35 per hour?

Obviously, government authorities will have to set the amount exactly right, or the economy goes stupid. 

The authoritarian autocrats will never confess that they are bad managers of the economy.  The authoritarian leftist will say something must be wrong with the workers, or the employers are too greedy, or anything except take responsibility.

The whole productive system can grind to a halt and jobs get sent overseas.  Some Authoritarian-Democrats will complain that America is a consumption based economy.  That is stupid.  Production has to equal (or exceed) consumption, otherwise there is a shortage.

Every time the people get fooled into demanding the government do something for them, the people have suffered.  Power always takes more than it gives

~~~~~~~~

Get the power back, workers.

Negotiate your own wage between you and your employer. Once in history, this was done by the local union, but even that doesn't exist anymore. 

Too many greedy authoritarians have seen the money they could get by pretending to be the protector of the people.  All they are looking out for is their own gain.  Don't trust them, workers.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Why don’t Democrats want to Fund Education First?

Republican legislators’ mantra last year during budget negotiations was Fund Education First, and it was a popular one. Not only does our state constitution say that education is the state’s paramount duty, it’s also voters’ number one priority. To them, it is obvious that state leaders should fully fund our paramount duty before other priorities in the budget.

Gov. Inslee announced his plan Tuesday to end seven tax preferences and raise $200 million in new tax revenue this year, to be put toward school operational costs, textbooks, and a cost-of-living raise for teachers. Public radio’s Austin Jenkins asked the governor directly at his press conference why Democrats don’t agree with Republicans’ preference for funding education first and funding other, lower priorities of government through tax increases if Democrats feel that is necessary.

Not surprisingly, Inslee didn’t want to answer that question. Instead, he gave an answer about his current supplemental budget proposal that ignored the premise of the question: If education is the paramount duty of the state, why not fund it first and make a tax fight about other spending?

You don’t have to go back in time very far to see Republicans step up for education while Democrats made their support contingent on getting new taxes approved. Just last year, the Majority Coalition Caucus proposed a budget that increased education funding by $1 billion without needing general tax increases. Budget proposals from the House Democrats and the governor also increased education funding, but only if big tax increases were approved.

Of course, we all know why the governor and his party don’t support Fund Education First, they just can’t say it out loud. As the party of bigger government, they want tax increases, and they think they’re more likely to pass a tax increase if it’s “for schools.” Legislators and the public are less likely to feel pressured to approve new taxes if they went to, say, more government regulations enforced by more government employees.

Unfortunately, Fund Education First doesn’t fit into their Grow Government First agenda at all.

– Rob McKenna

What other people read on this blog

Effing the ineffable - Washington State elections sometimes have been rigged.

“It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.”
-- Joseph Stalin