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.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Inslee gets petty

If you ask a Democratic insider in Olympia (off the record, of course) how influential Gov. Jay Inslee is in his party's legislative caucuses, you're bound to learn a lot. Legislators just concluded a bruising budget negotiation, but "the fingerprints of Inslee's December budget proposal are scarcely to be found" in the final product,  I point out on the SmarterGovernmentWashington website.

His fingerprints are smeared all over a very public veto he made yesterday of a bipartisan agreement to extend the B&O tax rates that Boeing receives to other manufacturers. These lower rates were "paid for" by ending other tax incentives, and are key to the final budget deal. Inslee vetoed the provision anyway, then gave a needlessly inartful, lecturing answer about it at a press conference.
What if legislators are upset about his veto, he was asked. "I can't control their tender feelings," he retorted. There were plenty of other such lines, but his fit of pique mostly revealed the weak hand he plays from in the state capitol (he is, he has insisted, "a player on the field").

Sen. Michael Baumgartner (R-Spokane) tweeted out, "There will 100% NOT be a Capital budget unless House helps overide Veto. Deal is a deal. 88 yes votes."

Rep. Drew Stokesbary (R-Auburn) wrote, "Reneging on difficult deal in which all sides gave up something is going to have profound consequences on future #waleg budgets negotiations." Turns out the other players on the field have moves to make, too.

-Rob McKenna

Friday, June 23, 2017

Special session update, revenue forecast released

The Legislature has concluded its second special session. There is still no agreement on an operating budget or an education funding plan. However, negotiators are very close.


I understand there is some concerns about a government shutdown and possible state employees being furloughed. However, while it is a situation we must prepare for, it is unlikely.
Contingency plans are being made if we do get to June 30 and a budget is not in place. We may be in a situation where the budget and education funding plans get passed by the end of the month, but we need to take a couple extra days in July to finish other business such as the capital budget and Hirst.
The governor indicated yesterday he would veto any temporary budget that would keep the government running for a few extra days until lawmakers reach a deal. Nobody wants to see a government shutdown and we want to do whatever is possible to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Negotiations
The education funding negotiation team continues to meet. Progress is being made, but given the extensive amount of detail involved, it is a difficult process. I remain positive that we will reach a solution for the education funding plan and the operating budget by the end of the month.
As for taxes with the operating budget, – I am hearing there are some still on the table – the internet sales tax and possibly adjusting the real estate excise tax. As I stated in my last update, I wouldn’t expect a capital gains state income tax or an increase to the B&O tax, as much as the governor would like to see one. I am still uncertain as to whether or not they have 50 votes for tax increases in the House, and 25 votes for tax increases in the Senate. We do not need to increase any taxes given the amount of revenue coming into the state.
Revenue Forecast
The Economic Revenue Forecast Council released their latest revenue forecast on Tuesday. The revenue  forecast has been increased by $81 million for the 2015-17 budget cycle and by $87 million for the 2017-19 budget cycle. The increases are smaller than the increases in the March forecast, but they are still positive.
While this provides some additional dollars that may be beneficial to budget negotiations, more dollars for the budget is not necessary. A reminder, we are expecting more than a 13 percent increase in revenue – taxpayer dollars – this biennium. Revenue is not the issue. I am concerned about what the level of proposed spending may be in the final budget plan. However, we will talk about that when the plan comes out.
I urge everyone to stay optimistic. From what I am seeing, a responsible, sustainable solution is within reach.
Sincerely,
Cary Condotta

Monday, June 12, 2017

Seattle taxes soda pop.

The Seattle City Council adopted a soda tax this week.  The rate is 1.75 cents per ounce, which means the tax would be about $1.18 for a 2-liter bottle of soda.  That rate will more than double the  price of some flavors.

The Left in Washington has grown bold, weaponizing taxes in the war against its opponents. They single out those they don’t like or the activities they find immoral, and use tax policy to compel submission to their fuzzy-headed, stupid-utopian dreams. Targeted authoritarianism is un-American and the precedent is dangerous.

The Left is committing public nudity; they no longer dress up their taxes and regulations as "support of the working class."  The Teamsters union recognized that taxes damage jobs and called this part of the war on workers. The council compromised by offering to use $1.5 million of the money the job-killing tax collected to give to workers for job retraining.

Ironic?

~~~~~~~~

http://www.freedomfoundation.com/

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Stop the King County plan to promote opium use

The opioid epidemic is taking thousands of lives across our country. According to the Center for Disease Control, prescription opioids and heroin take more lives every day than car accidents.

...

Last year King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray assembled a task force to recommend how King County can address this problem. Among many suggestions was a proposal to create two-one in Seattle and one outside the city-“safe” sites for users to inject heroin and other illegal drugs.

These sites would be their first of their kind in the United States, but to understand how they impact communities, one must only look to Vancouver, B.C., home to the only heroin injection site in North America.

The statistics are startling. Overdoses in British Columbia are up over 490% since they opened their injection site, and they fail to get 98.5% of the users off lethal narcotics. Vancouver police estimate over 5,000 intravenous users live within a few blocks of the site’s neighborhood, where needles are littered all over the streets.

Is this an ethical way for King County to spend taxpayer dollars?

Many don’t believe it is, which is why a group called Safe King County, led by Bothell City Councilman Joshua Freed, have launched I-27 to ban heroin injection sites. They believe the money we’d spend on operating these sites-which costs $3 million per year in Vancouver-would be better spent on proven, compassionate solutions that will get people off drugs and save their lives.
I-27 is in the signature gathering stage, and is open to any registered King County voter. If you feel as I do that these sites are wrong for our neighborhoods, you can ask Safe King County to mail you a petition form here.

If you don’t live in King County, you should still be concerned about these sites. Like any other King County proposal, it’s only a matter of time until advocates try to build heroin injection sites statewide.

Donate today to help Safe King County gather enough signatures and stop heroin injection sites from popping up in communities across the state.

To qualify I-27 for the November ballot, Safe King County needs 47,443 signatures. When I talked to Joshua earlier this week, he told me they already have 8,000 signatures and have mailed out over 300 petitions to people that have requested one from their website.

The support is truly impressive, and if you’d like to have your voice be heard, visit their website and request a petition. Together we can push King County toward real solutions that will save lives.


Rob McKenna

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Kitsap County Anti-Gun Ordinance


Washington’s state firearms preemption statutes help keep firearm and ammunition laws consistent throughout the state by establishing that the State Legislature has full authority to regulate and create laws pertaining to firearms and ammunition.  These statutes help prevent a confusing patchwork of gun control laws which make it difficult for gun owners to ensure they are following the law.  Further, Second Amendment rights are guaranteed to all citizens, regardless of where one resides.  State preemption statutes help protect against the infringement of rights of citizens who live in localities controlled by anti-gun elected officials.

Kitsap County claims their ordinance doesn’t violate state law and that the preemption statutes only apply to criminal laws.  If this were true, the state firearms preemption statutes would be useless, and there would be nothing to prevent other local communities from enacting similar, or more restrictive, gun control ordinances.  The Kitsap County ordinance clearly violates Washington’s preemption statutes, which also preempts regulations for shooting ranges.

Last week, attorneys on behalf of the NRA filed an amicus brief in Kitsap County v. Kitsap Rifle and Revolver Club (Kitsap II), the case which challenges Kitsap County’s firearm discharge ban and range licensing scheme. Kitsap Rifle and Revolver Club, a local shooting range that has served the Kitsap community for almost 100 years, is at risk of being shut down by the regulations set forth in the Kitsap County anti-gun ordinance. In the amicus brief, the attorneys establish that Washington state law preempts firearms and shooting range regulations and that the Kitsap County ordinance is in violation of the state’s preemption statutes.

Gun ranges are essential for protecting your Right to Keep and Bear Arms as they provide gun owners with an environment where they can practice using their firearms safely and effectively through target shooting and firearms safety training.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

State Income Tax heading to floor vote

The ever-greedy leftists in Olympia propose an income tax on capital gains and other forms of income.  This will open the door to tax all types of income from all sources, something the left has longed to do for some time.  They will call it "fair" because it lets them take and spend the money you earned.  The total increase in proposed taxes over ten years is $23,139,555,000.00.

The text of the official alert:
SHB 2186, titled AN ACT Relating to investing in Washington families by improving the fairness of the state's excise tax system by narrowing or eliminating tax preferences, imposing a business and occupation tax surcharge while eliminating tax liability for small businesses, enacting an excise tax on capital gains, modifying the real estate excise tax, making administrative changes, and implementing marketplace fairness in Washington, has been passed by the House Committee on Finance. The Office of Financial Management has identified this bill as requiring a ten-year projection of increased cost to the taxpayers or affected fee payers.

Authorization is provided for the following agencies to raise taxes or fees: Department of Revenue
For ease of viewing, the 10-year projection is available by clicking on the following link:
http://ofm.wa.gov/tax/2017/2186SHB_fee_table.pdf

The following legislators voted do pass:

Representative Larry Springer
Democrat
Kirkland
(360) 786-7822
Larry.Springer@leg.wa.gov

Representative Kristine Lytton
Democrat
Anacortes
(360) 786-7800
Kristine.Lytton@leg.wa.gov

Representative Sharon Wylie
Democrat
Vancouver
(360) 786-7924
Sharon.Wylie@leg.wa.gov

Representative Gerry Pollet
Democrat
Seattle
(360) 786-7886
Gerry.Pollet@leg.wa.gov

Representative Noel Frame
Democrat
Seattle
(360) 786-7814
Noel.Frame@leg.wa.gov

Representative Laurie Dolan
Democrat
Olympia
(360) 786-7940
Laurie.Dolan@leg.wa.gov

~~~~~~~~
The following legislators voted do not pass:

Representative Ed Orcutt
Republican
Kalama
(360) 786-7990
Ed.Orcutt@leg.wa.gov

Representative Cary Condotta
Republican
Chelan
(360) 786-7954
Cary.Condotta@leg.wa.gov

Representative Terry Nealey
Republican
Dayton
(360) 786-7828
Terry.Nealey@leg.wa.gov

Representative J.T. Wilcox
Republican
Roy
(360) 786-7912
JT.Wilcox@leg.wa.gov

Representative Drew Stokesbary
Republican
Auburn
(360) 786-7846
Drew.Stokesbary@leg.wa.gov


Find out more:  http://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=2186&Year=2017

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Olympia House Democrats’ proposed operating budget – large increase in spending and taxes

Cary Condotta
There is less than three weeks left in the legislative session and the proposed operating budgets have been unveiled by Senate Republicans and House Democrats. The Senate Republican operating budget prioritizes and invests heavily in K-12 education. The plan would continue an upward trend of investments in K-12 education since Republicans have been in the majority in the Senate. Under this budget proposal 50 percent of the operating budget would be dedicated to education — the highest percentage since 1983.
The House Democrats’ operating budget proposal is spend and tax, and spend and tax some more. Click here to watch my video as I breakdown the numbers. Numbers you should know:
  • 17 percent increase in spending for the next budget cycle;
  • 15 percent increase in spending for the following cycle, 2019-21;
  • $3 billion in proposed tax increases for the next biennium, $8 billion over four years; and
  • $12 million left over in the ending fund balance for the four-year outlook.
State revenues are at historic levels, yet they want to raise taxes in a number of areas — including a capital gains income tax, modifying our state’s already onerous B&O tax (you can find a list of winners and losers here), a change to the real estate excise tax, and closing some tax exemptions. Businesses in Washington already pay more than their fair share under our B&O tax system.
In an effort to satisfy the courts’ McCleary order, both proposed budgets increase education spending substantially. The two budgets are only about $83 million apart. Only $83 million – yet Democrats propose raising taxes $3 billion and increase spending by more than $6.5 billion in the next biennium. Senate Republicans use existing revenues.
I would add the House Democrats’ proposal does not offer fundamental reforms to the way funds are spent in the schools, as required by McCleary. The Senate Republican proposal offers reforms including the replacement of inequitable and discriminatory local levies by creating a new state “local effort levy.” I don’t know that the House proposal would pass constitutional muster because it leaves in place the very levy system the courts have criticized. 
Friday, House Democrats passed their operating budget proposal on a party-line vote 50-48.
Today, a public hearing was held on their tax bill – House Bill 2186. It is scheduled for a committee vote on Tuesday.
We will have to see if they have the votes to pass it out of committee AND bring it to the floor for a vote by the full House of Representatives. Stay tuned…
Fuel tax transparency
In an effort to let taxpayers know how much gas tax money they are truly paying at the pump I have introduced legislation that would require the Washington State Department of Agriculture to place a sticker on all fuel pumps letting people know how much they are currently paying in federal and state gas tax rates.
I am expecting some sticker shock with House Bill 2180. Think about it this way, if you pump 20 gallons of gas into your car, you are paying $13.56 in gas tax. Of course diesel fuel is more.
With taxation must come transparency. With transparency also comes accountability. Our government is held more accountable if the citizens of our state are more knowledgeable about the taxes they are paying.
Washington state’s current gas tax is 49.4 cents per gallon. It is the second highest gas tax in the country behind Pennsylvania. The federal gas tax rate is 18.4 cents per gallon, 22.4 cents per gallon for diesel fuel.

What other people read on this blog

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“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