Posts Tagged ‘Washington State’

WA Election Results

November 6, 2019

The race to the bottom continues. Washingtonians are notorious for wanting more government services while refusing to pay for them. Because the citizens have rejected an income tax multiple times, the state depends on regressive sales and property taxes and licensing fees for most of its income. Here’s a quick summary of both state and local issues:

1. Initiative 976, to cut car licensing fees, was approved 56-44
As a result, WA will lose ~$700million/year in revenue. Spokane will lose about $3million, about half its pothole budget. If I were in charge of road repair, I’d look at those precincts that voted for this, and spend zero funds on fixing or snowplowing their roads.

2. The local school levy was defeated, 2,167 YES-2,189 NO
Baseline education funds are provided by the state. The local school levies are voter approved enrichment, bond, capital improvement levies in excess of the regular state levies.

I don’t remember the last time a local levy was passed — not having kids, I don’t pay attention. I do know that I will now have a constant stream of urchins on my doorstep, seeking money for things the school district should be paying for. Should I tax myself to pay for their activities, allowing the rest of the community to be free riders, or should I drive them away, telling them to get their parents to work harder at passing proper levies? I know I got only one flyer this election season, from a guy who wanted me to (a) vote against the levy, and (b) vote for him for the local school board.

3. Advisories: In Washington, advisories are non-binding citizen comments on laws that the legislature has already passed. They have no direct impact, but they show the trends in voter opinions. Ten advisories, mostly about tax and license fee increases, were recommended for repeal, and two, a vaping tax and a tax on international business, were recommended to maintain.

So, the vaping crisis was well timed, and everybody hates them foreigners.

4. SJR 8200 Constitutional amendment allowing the government to implement emergency measures for something other than an enemy attack was approved 65-35. Canadian army seen pulling back from the border.

5. Referendum 88 was a referendum on an affirmative action initiative (I-1000) that was passed earlier this year. The referendum was rejected 52-48, which means the initiative won’t become a law, saving the state $1.5million. I don’t have anything useful to say, because I haven’t been following this issue. I do know that somebody was spending a lot of money on TV ads to defeat this.

Overall, these are pretty typical Washington election results. One knock-on effect of this is that a cash-strapped legislature will continue to cut funding for higher education. I am already hearing from my former colleagues that EWU is hurting financially, and that I retired just in time. This will only make things worse.

Political Shenanigans in Eastern Washington

October 21, 2018

We just got a flyer urging us to write in Joe Pakootas, Vice Chair of the Washington state Democratic Party, for the position of state senator from the 6th District. Trouble is. Pakootas isn’t running, and anyway is a supporter of Jessa Lewis, the official Democratic candidate. She’s running against Jeff Holy, long time Republican incumbent.

How could this be? Well, most of the money behind the flyer comes from two Republicans, one a strong Trump supporter. Their obvious goal is to split the Democratic vote, to make it easier to re-elect Holy (whose name has nothing at all to do with his choice of a Biblical type font on his campaign posters).

This attempt to mislead voters is not limited to the Spokane area. Similar flyers have been distributed elsewhere in Washington, supporting other non-running candidates.

As far as I know it’s not illegal, but it stinks, as they say, on ice.

WA Smokes

August 25, 2015

Our AQI continues to seesaw up and down. On Sunday and Monday it peaked in the 165 range. Today it was only in the 150’s, and tonight it’s down around 90.  Here’s the latest AQI maps and forecast. The AQI Loop is the most useful.

Slow improvement today

Slow improvement today

Sunday night we had a deep red-orange demon moon. Monday it was our familiar silver quarter. And tonight, it’s barely showing through the clouds.

UPDATE: And here’s the WSU AIRPACT-4 smoke forecast.

WA Smokes

August 22, 2015

Not drugs. The wildfires along the east slope of the Cascades have been dumping smoke over to our side of the state. Here’s a MODIS shot from yesterday (21 August).

Red areas are active fires

Red areas are infra-red detected active fires


On the ground. Driving into Spokane, this is what it looked like:


Looking NorthEast

Eighteen hours later we were all clear, but you could still smell the smoke.


Looking SouthWest

Pretty much kept all the attendees at WorldCon 2015 inside.

The Post-Election Blues 2

November 7, 2012

So, here in Washington State we had a handful of initiative and referendum measures. Some good ones got passed. Some bad ones got passed. Some good ones didn’t pass.

Every two years, Tim Eyman, well-known shill for big money and out-of-state interests, submits a referendum item on limiting tax increases to those approved by a 2/3 supermajority. Essentially, he convinces the electorate to deliver power into the hands of the Republicans – who could not themselves get elected as a majority – and who are working just as hard at the state as at the national level to make sure the economy craters, so that they can pick up the pieces. In addition to the Eyman Initiative, they passed a couple of Eyman-inspired, non-binding “advisory votes”: against ending tax breaks for big banks and against using a tax on petroleum products to pay for insurance against leaking oil tanks. It would seem that if you can in some way call something a “tax increase”, then Washingtonians are against it.

It would also seem that Washingtonians, like many others in this country, in this era, want all the services that government provides without paying for any of the costs, and if you call them on it, they scream about cutting government waste. This approach has (just for e.g.) gutted the state budgets for higher education, such that the state/student burden has gone from 70/30 to 50/50, and the students are having to pay for the increases with massive and expensive loans. You know, from big banks.

They also, more narrowly, passed a bill to allow charter schools in the state. I don’t have a strongly informed opinion, but the impression I get is that these schools are bad for teachers, while not demonstrably improving student outcomes. We’ll see.

On the positive side, Washingtonians approved the initiatives legalizing marijuana and same-sex marriage (civil status, churches can refuse).

The WA State Budget – Income taxes, and sales taxes for the poor

May 28, 2011

Well, the new budget is out. The state has been in an extreme bind for years now, being beset with both declining revenues and extreme divisions in viewpoint in the legislature. Here are my views on the topic, which, of course, have nothing to do with the views of any of my past, current or future employers.

Certain, umm…. patriarchal, segments of our political spectrum like to compare the government to a family, with claims that a family can’t long spend beyond its means. This is, of course, totally false for the federal government, and only partially true for a state. But let’s assume it’s true for Washington state. (more…)