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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

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