Political Buzz

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Archives: Sep. 2008

Sep.
30th

Washington minimum wage rises to $8.55 an hour on Jan. 1

I had forgotten it was 10 years ago that Washington voters approved the initiative that raised the minimum raise and pegged annual increases to inflation.

Washington’s minimum wage to increase to $8.55 Jan. 1

TUMWATER – Washington’s minimum wage will increase 48 cents to $8.55 an hour beginning Jan. 1, 2009, an increase required by a voter initiative that passed 10 years ago.

The Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) recalculates the state’s minimum wage each year in September as required by Initiative 688, which was approved by Washington voters in 1998. The law requires that the state minimum wage be adjusted each year according to the change in the federal Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) during the 12 months ending each Aug. 31.

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Sep.
30th

The annual limit on property taxes increases is 1 percent, but….

But that limitation, first imposed by Tim Eyman’s Initiative 747, applies only to the regular governmental levies — not to voter approved levies.

That’s why total property tax revenues can increase by 6.2 percent, as they did in 2008. That, plus new construction. I’m posting this news release mainly for educational purposes. It’s a mish-mash of numbers, mostly.

The Legislature reinstated the 1 percent limit after the Supreme Court threw out I-747. That 1 percent limit is on the total amount of money a government can collect from property taxes (from its regular levy) from one year to the next. So, if Tacoma collected $100 in 2007, it could collect a total of $101 in 2008.

Much of the growth comes from new construction, but that gravy train for state and local governments is about to come to an end. The economy in general, housing industry specifically and financial markets overall are going into the tank.

Property Tax Revenues Increase 6.2 Percent in 2008

OLYMPIA, Wash., Sept. 30, 2008 — Property tax revenues increased 6.2 percent to $8.2 billion in 2008, with more than half of the increase stemming from new construction and voter-approved levies, the Washington State Department of Revenue reported today.

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Sep.
30th

A ‘flush tax’ for Puget Sound would raise $54 million a year

The Puget Sound Partnership, the group created by Gov. Chris Gregoire and the Legislature to figure out how to clean up Hood Canal and other waterways threatened by pollution, has a bunch of taxes fees for the Legislature to consider.


From their matrix:


Sewage significantly impacts the health of the Sound through nutrient loading, temperature, and other water pollution. Although a flush tax is unlikely to change behavior, it will be a stable source of revenue due to the inelastic nature of bathrooms and has clear nexus to the health of Puget Sound.


“The inelastic nature of

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Sep.
30th

Washington brings more prison inmates back from Arizona

This is the second batch of permanent returnees. The state penitentiary at Walla Walla has been expanded and inmates from other Washington prisons were moved to the pen, freeing up space elsewhere.

Apparently, these inmates will be headed to Shelton (for reprocessing?) and to Monroe.

I’m told the state Department of Corrections is having its own budget problems and even though DOC is saying publicly that the Coyote Ridge prison will open on time (starting in January), it won’t be up an running. The state will save money by slowing down the opening of each wing, regardless of who is governor.

DOC recruiting is doing better. But I don’t think they have enough guards to run a 2,400-bed prison, and won’t by the end of 2009, either.

DOC Transfers 110 Inmates Back from Private Prison in Arizona

OLYMPIA – The Department of Corrections today returned 110 inmates from three privately operated prisons in Arizona, bringing the total number of inmates housed out
of state below the 1,000 mark.

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Sep.
30th

Rossi’s ‘deficit’ ad is called misleading

Here’s a shocker: a television ad in the governor’s race is misleading.


At issue is Dino Rossi’s new ad that questions whether Gov. Chris Gregoire is dishonest or is in denial over the state’s finances. The Olympian and The Seattle Times both report today that the ad falsely implies that the state has a deficit. In fact, the state has a surplus today, but the state is projected to run into a huge revenue shortfall next year if spending continues on the same track.

Sep.
30th

Business group backs Rossi, Bergeson, Sutherland, McKenna; opposes Eyman’s I-985 and SEIU’s I-1029

You coulda knocked me over with a feather! I was that surprised! Imagine, the Association of Washington Business supporting Republican Dino Rossi for governor.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 30, 2008

AWB endorses Rossi for governor

Business group announces endorsements for ballot measures, statewide and legislative offices

OLYMPIA – The board of directors for Washington’s largest statewide business association has voted to endorse former State Sen. Dino Rossi, G.O.P., in the 2008 race for governor. The decision was made Friday during a meeting of the board of directors of the Association of Washington Business during its 19th Annual Policy Summit in Blaine, Wash.

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Sep.
30th

Tacoma church holds forum TONIGHT on assisted suicide (death with dignity) ballot measure

Pete Callaghan passed this on to me from a reader:


Immanuel Presbyterian, is holding a one-hour forum Tuesday evening, Sept. 30, at 7 p.m. in our Fireside Room. (Former Gov.) Booth Gardner (sponsor of Initiative 1000), has been scheduled to come, but I’m not positive that he has recovered from a recent fall. Both sides will be represented.


The church is at 901 North J St. The Fireside Room is off the alley between J and I streets on 9th.

Sep.
30th

Want to vote in Pierce County? Better register soon

Can’t wait to vote in the Nov. 4 general election? You’d better hurry up and register.


The deadline to register or transfer your voter registration in Pierce County is Saturday if you’re registering by mail or online. You can register in person at the auditor’s office until Oct. 20. If you don’t meet those deadlines, you won’t be able to vote in the November election.


To register in person, visit the Pierce County Election Center, 2501 S. 35th St., Suite C, Tacoma. The auditor’s office plans extended hours to accommodate an expected rush of last-minute registrations. The hours

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