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Archives: Feb. 2008


Evergreen State’s loss in tanker deal is Alabama’s gain

Folks around here, like U.S. Rep. Adam Smith and Gov. Chris Gregoire, are waiting to read the fine print to find out why Boeing lost the bid for the Pentagon’s tanker contract.

In Alabama, meanwhile, politicians are celebrating because the tanker will be built in Mobile, generating thousands of jobs.

From U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.

"Today’s selection of Northrop Grumman/EADS to build the Air Force’s next air refueling tanker is fantastic news for Alabama. It marks a full circle transition for Brookley Field from a mothballed airbase to a world-class aircraft manufacturing center.

The Air

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Local politicos react to Boeing’s loss

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith released the following statement after the Pentagon announced that Boeing lost the long-awaited aerial refueling tanker contract to the Northrop Grumman/EADS (Airbus) team:

"I am very disappointed in the Air Force’s decision on the tanker contract. While I am sure that the Air Force’s process was fair and open, I look forward to reading in detail their justification, as the Defense Department had previously identified Boeing tankers as highly-rated, cost-effective updates to the force. Our regional producer had a very competitive bid, and I am disappointed that the Air Force did not select our home-grown,

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Raising taxes does, indeed, take a 2/3rds vote, Brad Owen rules

The Senate and House are both “committing news” at the same time, so I’m playing catch-up. (I’m trying to listen to the House debate a financing plan for the Highway 520 bridge, and Brad Owen, Senate president, issued a crucial ruling.)

Owen sided with Tim Eyman and Initiative 960 supporters by ruling that a bill to raise state liquor taxes would require a supermajority vote — that is, 33 of 49 votes — instead of a simple 25-vote majority to pass. That was for Senate Bill 6931.

Consequently, even though the vote was 25-21, the effort to raise the liquor tax for more State Patrol drunken driving crackdowns and drug and alcohol treatment failed.

Here’s the roll call:

Patrol funding
Senate vote on 3rd Reading & Final Passage

Yeas: 25 Nays: 21 Absent: 1 Excused: 2

Voting Yea: Senators Brown, Eide, Fairley, Franklin, Fraser, Hargrove, Hatfield, Hobbs, Jacobsen, Keiser, Kline, Kohl-Welles, Marr, McAuliffe, McDermott, Murray, Oemig, Prentice, Pridemore, Regala, Rockefeller, Shin, Spanel, Tom, and Weinstein
Voting Nay: Senators Benton, Berkey, Carrell, Delvin, Haugen, Holmquist, Honeyford, Kastama, Kauffman, Kilmer, King, McCaslin, Parlette, Pflug, Rasmussen, Roach, Schoesler, Sheldon, Stevens, Swecker, and Zarelli
Absent: Senator Morton
Excused: Senators Brandland and Hewitt

Here’s what Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, D-Spokane, had to say about the whole episode. (Just for the record, there were six of her Democrats among the “Republicans” who voted against the liquor tax hike.)

OLYMPIA – Senate Democrats say a failed measure to provide more resources for DUI enforcement and treatment illustrates the flaw in Initiative 960’s requirement of a two-thirds vote to raise new revenues.
Senate Bill 6931 would have imposed a 42-cent-per-liter surcharge on state liquor sales.
"We have good public policy – good public safety policy – that we’d like to pass, but the supermajority requirement hamstrings that effort," said Senate Majority Lisa Brown, D-Spokane. "It would have been nice if the Republican minority could support stronger DUI enforcement, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case. I-960 creates an obstructionist situation, which we believe is unconstitutional."
The measure garnered the constitutionally required 25 yes votes, but not the 33 yes votes required under I-960.

Here is Lt. Gov. Brad Owen’s ruling in its entirety:

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Barbara Gelman announces bid for assessor-treasurer

Barbara Gelman sent us a press release saying she will run for assessor-treasurer.

The seat is held by Ken Madsen, who has said he probably won’t seek re-election.

Gelman, currently a member of the County Council, has 22 years of experience in two Pierce County offices. She served two terms on the County Council and then two terms as assessor-treasurer before rejoining the council. She’s in her second consecutive (fourth overall) council term, which expires in 2010. (Four terms on the council will probably get a conference room named after her at some point, don’t you think?)

She’ll face Jan Shabro, also a veteran office holder, who announced her candidacy on Feb. 12.

The job pays $112,500 a year.

Here’s Gelman’s press release:

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Washington Senate passes tax break bill in the hope of keeping Russell Investment headquarters in Tacoma

Senate Bill 6626 would let the former Frank Russell Company defer sales tax on construction of a new headquarters building in a “community empowerment zone” as long as the building costs at least $30 million and employs at least 300 people who earn the average annual wage in Washington.

That sales tax eventually could be forgiven. Downtown Tacoma is, in fact, an empowerment zone, mostly because it combines the Hilltop neighborhood.

Apparently, Sen. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, is going to get credit for it. The House had a bill sponsored by Rep. Troy Kelley, D-Tacoma (or University

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Senate Democrats are setting up a constitutional test for Tim Eyman’s I-960 to see if tax bills do need a supermajority vote

The Senate is taking up a liquor tax. Right now. It clearly is an orchestrated effort to challenge Initiative 960.

It started with Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, asking Lt. Gov. Brad Owen, president of the Washington Senate, how many votes it will take to pass Senate Bill 6931. That’s the bill that would raise the liquor tax by 42 cents a liter to pay for more drunken driving enforcement by the Washington State Patrol and more treatment for drug addicts and alcholics.

Sen. Adam Kline, D-Seattle, is prime sponsor. The tax would raise about $12 million a year,

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Seattle Storm game tickets are part of budget squabble

The Senate is now debating whether to take out the $250,000 that Sens. Margarita Prentice, D-Renton, and Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, put into the state operating budget to help support the Seattle Storm women’s professional basketball team.

The team was recently purchased by a group of local women and will be staying in town, not leaving for Oklahoma City as the NBA’s Seattle SuperSonics will likely do soon.

The argument is over whether the state should buy tickets to give girls so they can go to Storm games. Actually, the tickets would go to anyone, but in the floor

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Proposed liquor tax hike may be first to require two-thirds majority by the Senate and maybe a public advisory vote this fall

The Senate is back in session and is likely to consider a tax increase bill.

Senate Bill 6931 would raise the state liquor tax by 42 cents a liter to raise money for the Washington State Patrol and the Department of Social and Health Services.

Each of them would get about $6 million a year, the State Patrol to go catch drunks and DSHS to provide treatment to drunks and drug users.

If I’m reading Initiative 960 correctly, the Senate will have to pass this bill by a two-thirds vote. And since the bill does not

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