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.

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?

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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.

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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

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-- Joseph Stalin