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Thursday, January 12, 2012

State of the State

Governor Christine Gregoire in her State of the State message on Tuesday, January 10, included her visions for “New revenue options.”

Gregoire said, "In the next 60 days, I ask you to do four things:

1. Use the early start you got in December and quickly pass a budget;
2. Ask the voters this spring to approve a temporary, half-penny sales tax increase for students and their future;
3. Pass my school reforms; and,
4. Pass a major transportation and jobs package”

Gregoire also addressed her favorite topics – new taxes and fees, and closing tax “loopholes”. She said, “We must look for new revenue as well. Close tax loopholes to save vital services like the Basic Health Program for the working poor. It’s a matter of firmness.”

“Firmness” -- not a matter of wisdom, workability or fairness, but Who Is Governor.

Gregoire doesn’t support budget cuts.

Her favorite target is to increase the sales tax.

“Our businesses, our state, our children and our grandchildren can’t afford anymore “deep cuts” to education. About $411 million of the $494 [increased] million sales tax revenue would go to K-12 and higher education." The children need to be rescued from the uncaring state, again.

The House and Senate Democrats will likely both have their own budgets, as well as Senate & House Republicans.

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Gregoire's forth item, a transportation and jobs package, is an ongoing display piece, so everyone can see that She Is Getting Something Done. Politicians get fascinated with an idea and they relentlessly sell the idea to the People, who then clamor for construction. Whether or not a project will ever work out is ignored. Millions get spent.

The present tunnel-under-Seattle project will is one of these. The Alaskan Way Viaduct has been largely destroyed, to the delight of private landholders whose property has dramatically increased in value because of the Governor's action.

The whole project should have been shelved until the economy was stronger. But the "liberals" insisted there was no time to consider the options! The Governor must push forward! Billions have been committed.

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If you've lived in Seattle for a little while, you'll remember the downtown Seattle “Transit Tunnel Project” back in 1987, and the years of complications it produced. When the project was finished it traffic and bus riders snarls concerning transfers and safety problems. So Diesel buses were allowed to use the tunnel but other surface traffic was re-routed. Then things things became more tangled.

We never got the half-billion we spent back in benefits. We really should stop spending until we see where the money goes. We can spend tomorrow only what we still have.

Some material in this report comes from Mark Gjurasic

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