Political Buzz

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Archives: Sep. 2010


City Club holds Pierce District Court judicial candidate forum next week

The City Club of Tacoma is sponsoring a candidate forum featuring District Court candidates next week.

Judicial Forum—District Court Candidates
Tacoma, WA –September 28, 2010

Who will you elect? District Court candidates Kevin McCann and Claire Sussman will participate in this forum moderated by local attorney Jim Bush. The two candidates are running for the seat being vacated by David Kenworthy, who is retiring. Members of the audience will have the opportunity to submit questions to the moderator.

Date: Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Location: Wheelock Student Center Rotunda, University of Puget Sound

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Tax deduction – worth $600+ – caught up in Senate politics

WASHINGTON – A tax break that has saved Washington residents up to $500 million annually is once again caught up in Congress’ rush to adjourn, but this year the maneuvering has become entangled in election-year politics and the race between Democratic Sen. Patty Murray and Republican challenger Dino Rossi.

Over the past week, Republicans and Democrats on the Senate floor have both blocked efforts to extend the break, which allows residents of Washington and six other states without an income tax to deduct the amount they paid in state sales tax on their federal returns.

The issue has always been an end of the session item with sharp disagreements particularly over how to pay for it. But it has escalated into the latest flashpoint in the already contentious Senate race.

“I am going to keep fighting to get this done, but I am deeply disappointed that Senate Republicans continue to treat this as an election year game when families across my home state of Washington are counting on us to get something done,” Murray said after Republicans blocked her push Wednesday night to pass a one-year extension.

On Monday night, after Democrats blocked a Republican effort to pass a permanent extension, Rossi said, “Instead of finishing the work the people of Washington state elected her to do, Senator Murray opted instead to put politics first and gamble with the jobs and paychecks of every Washingtonian.”

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Former lawmaker Bill Fromhold dies from cancer

Bill Fromhold represented a Vancouver-area district from 2001 until 2008 but he was a Tacoma native and graduate of Lincoln Stadium High School and the University of Puget Sound where he received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree.

Here’s the note sent to House members and staff from his wife, Marcia Fromhold:

From Marcia:

Dear friends,

Last evening Bill lost his valiant battle. Just after midnight, with all of us around him, he peacefully passed on from this life His body could no longer battle this awful cancer and he never really came back to us after the surgery.

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Tax-deduction extension left unfinished: Who’s to blame?

UPDATE: See Les Blumenthal’s full story out of D.C.

Congress will adjourn until after election day with some unfinished business – including a detail that’s very dear to Washingtonians: continuation of the sales tax deduction for sales tax dependent states. This isn’t the first time that the extension has been stalled, and it usually plays out that our delegation comes through in the end and gets it inserted. But this year, in the midst of a heated Senate race between Sen. Patty Murray and Dino Rossi, the issue has become campaign fodder.

Murray’s camp says her efforts to broker a deal – including a compromise offered last night – were thwarted by the GOP. From her floor speech:

“I reached across the aisle to bring forward a compromise bill that would help families in Washington state—and that Senate Republicans had agreed to just two nights ago—but they stood up and said no.

“I was willing to do whatever it took tonight to get this sales tax deduction extended for Washington state families, but Senate Republicans refused to put politics aside and give an inch.

“I am going to keep fighting to get this done, but I am deeply disappointed that Senate Republicans continue to treat this issue as an election year game when families across my home state of Washington are counting on us to get something done.”

Rossi’s camp says it’s Murray who’s been stubborn and blasts her for heading out on the campaign trail without passing a continuation of the Bush tax cuts or the sales-tax deduction.

Jennifer Morris, Rossi’s campaign communications director, fired off this e-mail last night:

Sen. Murray just attempted to pass a bill to extend sales tax deductibility which no one has read. She claims it’s similar to the bill offered by Sen. Barrasso on Monday night, but, again, no one has seen the bill, save a few Democrats. If Sen. Murray was serious about her proposal to extend sales tax deductibility, she would have offered it BEFORE the Senate adjourned. She would have offered it BEFORE her colleagues left town. She would have let members read it BEFORE she proposed passing it.

Can you say election year politics by a desperate incumbent?

Read the full press releases after the jump.

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Huh? Washington ranked 3rd most financially fit larger states

Washington has a $4.5 billion budget shortfall. Its Medicaid director just announced cuts that eliminate payment for prescription drugs for the hundreds of thousands of people who get them prescribed in out-patient settings. And children’s health is getting cut.

But even with these nightmarish sounding realities coming true, one report suggests Washington is in relatively good financial shape – at least compared to the other 14 largest states. In fact it ranks third best and only Texas and Virginia rank higher with California at rock bottom.

Read full post.


DSHS orders 380 job cuts, more furloughs

The Department of Social and Health Services State ordered spending cuts of 6.3 percent today, including elimination of 380 jobs and additional unpaid furloughs for employees by June 30.

The cuts align with Gov. Chris Gregoire’s executive order to cut most state agencies’ spending across-the-board by 6.3 percent, and announcements by other agencies are due by Friday, the date the governor’s order takes effect.

In the case of DSHS, this means spending cuts of $168 million including nine one-day “temporary layoffs” or unpaid furloughs for workers not subject previously to the temporary layoffs ordered by the Legislature. The cuts

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