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Seventeen arrested in Olympia budget protests; some tried to storm office of Gov. Chris Gregoire

Post by Katie Schmidt on April 7, 2011 at 3:13 pm with 35 Comments »
April 8, 2011 8:36 am

A House of Representatives security guard holds off two women as they try to push past into the House Chambers during the SEIU union's protest.
Seventeen people were arrested after trying to storm the governor’s office in a third day of mounting protests over state budget cuts Thursday.

In a prelude to what unions say will be an even bigger rally today, a protest organized by the Service Employees International Union brought about 500 people to Olympia to call on state lawmakers to end corporate tax exemptions before cutting state services.

Most protesters rallied in the Rotunda of the Legislative Building Thursday afternoon. Several were eventually arrested when they tried to push past Washington State Patrol officers guarding the governor’s office and refused to leave.

Protesters pushed against troopers stationed at the governor’s door shouting “let us in” and “we want the governor.”

“They (legislators) need to listen to us,” said Sharon Kitchel-Perdue a home-care worker from Olympia and one of the protesters arrested.

Sgt. John Sager, one of the troopers on the scene said that some of the protesters had said they wanted to be arrested, and eventually, their actions gave troopers no choice.

“It was getting pretty hairy in here,” Sager said.

Health care workers and supporters shout after being removed from the House of Representatives Chambers.

State patrol spokesman Bob Calkins said one protester was cited with two counts of third degree assault for hitting two state troopers, and the other 16 were cited for disorderly conduct and released.

Calkins said the two troopers who were hit by the protester were not seriously injured.

SEIU spokesman Adam Glickman said the arrests showed union members wanted to send a message.

“We hope that elected officials will take this for what it is, which is a statement about the severity of these cuts,” he said.

Sen. Jeannie Kohl-Welles, the sponsor of one bill that would add sunset dates to about 300 tax exemptions in the state, said she thought the rallies strengthened the case for the proposal. After the arrests Thursday, Gov. Chris Gregoire agreed to meet with a delegation of protesters to hear their concerns.

Earlier in the day, protesters rallied outside of Chase bank in Olympia to show their opposition to a state business and occupation tax deduction that exempts banks from paying taxes on the interest they make from first mortgages.

That exemption was first enacted in 1970 and was intended to reduce the cost of buying a home for Washington residents, according to the state’s tax exemption manual.

If it were eliminated, it would bring in about $86.6 million in taxes in 2011.

Throughout the week protesters have called for the end of tax exemptions for elective cosmetic surgery, non-organic fertilizer and country club membership fees, among others.

State lawmakers have countered that raising taxes will be particularly difficult this session because voters passed Initiative 1053, which requires either two-thirds of the Legislature or a vote of the people to approve tax increases.

When he released the House Democrats’ version of a two-year operating budget for the state Monday, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Ross Hunter, said he didn’t think it would be a good idea to count on new money this year.

“You don’t see a line here for new legislation that might require a two-thirds vote because it seemed foolish to include that in the budget,” said Hunter, a Medina Democrat.

Senate and House Republican caucus leaders Sen. Mike Hewitt, R-Walla Walla, and Rep. Richard Debolt, R-Chehalis, said they doubted any Republicans would support raising taxes because doing so could lead Washington businesses to lay off employees.

Jared Miller, a children’s mental health counselor from Olympia who attended the protest Thursday, said he was disappointed that legislators were planning on “cutting their way out of the budget crisis.” He thought there could be popular support for a ballot measure to raise taxes in the state.

“I think if people really know the choices that they’re making and the consequences of not raising revenue for the state, there would be support,” Miller said. “We’re creating awareness.”
Protesters Thursday said they were particularly concerned about the consequences of a $97.5 million proposed cut to the home-care workers’ hours and an $18.2 million cut to mental health services for low-income Washington residents that were included in Monday’s budget proposal.

Throughout the week, protests have also focused on cuts to naturalization services for refugees and immigrants and to social safety net programs including Basic Health and Disability Lifeline.
The biggest protest of the week is planned for Friday, when Washington Labor Council spokesman Sam Ross said he expects 5,000 to 10,000 union representatives and others to come to Olympia from around the state.

Major issues that protesters are likely to focus on, Ross said, are salary and pension cuts for state workers and reduced funding for the Basic Health Plan.

Several dozen protesters stayed overnight in the Capitol rotunda, protesting state budget cuts to education and other services, and lobbying lawmakers to end tax breaks on certain industries and services. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Leave a comment Comments → 35
  1. Votetherock says:

    Troopers 15 Protesters 0

  2. dbreneman says:

    They wanted to be arrested? This is simply childish behavior. Remember, this isn’t a fight between downtrodden union workers and greedy industrialists. This is a fight between government bureaucrats with comfortable salaries and cushy benefits packages, and you, the downtrodden taxpayer.

  3. not a one of those misfits ever worked a day in their lives

  4. NWflyfisher says:

    “When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic” – Quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin

  5. jetalmanac says:

    SEIU goons on parade. Leeches. Deadbeats. It’s amazing how ‘passionate’ people are over the discussion on how to spend someone elses money. Maybe they need to get off of the freebie wagon and start helping pull it.

  6. Soundlife says:

    Leeches are hard to get off once they get a hold and start sucking blood. Sounds like we need to send in a few more troopers with rubber bullets and truncheons for those loonies who want to fight.
    Be nice if the judges gave some prison time…

  7. “They need to listen to us,” Translation, “They need to do what we tell them. Give us more. We’re never satisfied, gimmie, gimmie, gimmie”

  8. tree_guy says:

    They need to listen to us,” said Sharon Kitchel-Perdue a home-care worker from Olympia, one of the protesters who was eventually arrested, referring to state legislators.

    Read more: http://blog.thenewstribune.com/politics/2011/04/07/fifteen-arrested-in-budget-protests/#ixzz1Isirv5NV

    Sharon, the legislators and governor are listening to the will of the voters as expressed in the last election. Why should they pay any extra attention to you and a handful of other disobediant malcontents? Maybe you could get job as a home care worker in the private sector and charge your clients more. Just an idea.

  9. puyallupmutt says:

    These deadbeat protestors should immediately be sent out to pick up garbage along I-5 and other state highways.
    But I bet they believe they are too special for such a task.
    Budding state workers.

  10. Unlike the rest of the posts here, it is the right of Americans to protest, even if you dont agree. I guess all those people that showed up for the Teabag protest never worked a day either, by your logic, or lack of it. God bless those who take the time to protest, no matter the cause, or we would all be slaves by now. Grow up and quit calling names at people you dont even know, Thats childish!

  11. UnbiasedReporter says:

    “one protester was cited with two counts of assault for striking two state troopers”

    CITED?!?!?! Anybody here want to go out and strike a state trooper and see if you only get cited? More like you’ll end up in cuffs and in jail (if the trooper decides NOT to beat the crap out of you first). What kind of BS are they letting the SEIU get away with?

  12. tree_guy says:

    “Unlike the rest of the posts here, it is the right of Americans to protest, even if you dont agree.” Theo

    Read more: http://blog.thenewstribune.com/politics/2011/04/07/fifteen-arrested-in-budget-protests/#ixzz1It0RPckc

    Did you actually read the posts you are criticizing? Not one posting so far mentions denying anyone the right to protest.

  13. beerdrinkingdawg says:

    These protestors are the grown up University Ave Urchins you see regularly slumming around downtown Olympia.

    These people are losers, not one of them producers in our society.

    Parasites is what they are.

  14. it’s middle and poor classes against the wealty AND NON TAXED CORPOPRATIONS. repukers need to stop pitting the working classes against each other. shows the ignorance of repubs and tea baggies

  15. fbergford says:

    I’m going to ‘protest’ the ‘protesters’ tomorrow! Just for sh*ts and giggles! I think it would be funny and it will amuse me for a few hours! Who is in?! You will know it’s me cause I’ll be holding a big sign that says “protesting the protesters”

  16. Just a couple of waco leaders with big mouths and no brains and a bunch
    of paid Greeners for puppets to chant what there told. HogWash.

  17. itwasntmethistime says:

    Wow, look how FAT they are! Maybe they should cut back on the groceries and donate the money saved to the poor. Judging by the number of enormous people I saw on the TV news it would add up to a lot of money!

  18. Is this the same group that calls the Tea Party violent and racist..?

    Anything illegals are for, I’m against.

    :(

  19. teaparty had thousands at the rallies care to guess how many got arrested for assault or anything like that? these people are professional beggars mixed with anarchists and outright communists

  20. LastEvenings says:

    Uh, folks, I hate to rain on your parade, but the majority of the people affected by cuts to the state budget aren’t illegals and aren’t union members. People can wail all they want about “SEIU thugs”, “University Ave Urchins”, “Leaches”, and “Misfits”, but the reality is that many of the people who will be hurting will look a lot like your family, friends, and neighbors.

  21. missmarie253 says:

    THESE CUTS will EFFECT ALL OF YOU!!! NOT JUST “illegals” and NOT JUST “lazy welfare moms.” Unless you are in good company with BIll Gates and the other top 1 percent, then they will effect YOUUUUUUU!

    Cuts in education take jobs away from teachers, cuts in healthcare take jobs away from administrators and other positions, cuts in public transportation take a way jobs from bus drivers, ect.

    MANY OF THESE PEOPLE are hard working citizens. There cuts will force them to depend on the system since there are no job openings to pursue.

    HOW DO YOU BUILD AN ECONOMY BY TAKING AWAY JOBS?

    ALSO, Gregoire makes $167k/year. Where’s the cut from HER budget????

  22. Pat_riot says:

    Are there really this many completely retarded people out there? I mean seriously.. what the hell do they expect.. should we just pretend that there is enough money for everyone to get everything they want anytime they want? Maybe if our elected officials (or rather, if we elected officials that..), state AND federal, took a little more prudence in times of plenty (as in not creating budgets that are dependent on funds that won’t always be there).. we wouldn’t create this breed of people, that is so dependent on tax payer funds they feel it necessary to protest and get arrested when we are forced to make cuts in times of scarcity. It has to be done, you’ll learn to survive.. and be stronger for it in the long run. Time to ween yourself from the teet folks.

  23. tree_guy says:

    I don’t mean to be unkind… but it looks most of the protesters haven’t been missing any meals lately. Instead of camping out at the capital they should be camping out at the gym.

  24. tree_guy says:

    “MANY OF THESE PEOPLE are hard working citizens. There cuts will force them to depend on the system since there are no job openings to pursue.” missmarie

    Read more: http://blog.thenewstribune.com/politics/2011/04/07/fifteen-arrested-in-budget-protests/#ixzz1ItlefIXJ

    Well, missmari,e this cannot be true. Government workers always claim they could earn more in the private sector. If someone happens to lose their job then they can go get that private sector job that they claim is waiting for them.

  25. Im depending and hoping these cuts will affect us state,local and federal government has become an albatross around our necks……..starve the beast!

  26. family_man says:

    We said no. Who is it that these protestors think they represent? We voted down new taxes – we don’t want them. We will live with cuts – yes that means that there are services that all of us have used that will be gone. That is what the majority of voters wanted. Why should government now change just because some loud mouth people storm their offices??? Throw them in jail and get on with your business. I know the cuts are hard – but make them already.

  27. itwasntmethistime says:

    These cuts won’t cost hard-working folks their jobs, they’ll just have to change who they work for.

    When education dollars are cut and public school classrooms become too crowded, more people will send their kids to private school so the private schools will be hiring more teachers. Unions don’t protect bad teachers in private schools, so only good teachers will be teaching our kids.

    Healthcare admin workers won’t lose their jobs. Doctors have too many patients right now. They are overbooked. They can lose some patients and still keep a full schedule and a full staff.

    Cuts in public transportation will cause more people to hire taxis to get where they need to go. The displaced bus drivers who are worth their salt can drive cabs instead of buses.

    This is step one toward moving the jobs out of the public sector, back into the private sector where they belong. The only people complaining are those who don’t have the work ethic to compete in the private sector. No more free ride, get to work!

  28. Only in America can fat people protest that they’ll starve if budget cuts go through. I’m thinking “Biggest Loser” for some of these parasites I saw on TV.

  29. theaveragecitizen says:

    interesting that people will criticise others for protesting…. I hope you all felt the same way when the Tea Party folks got together for their protests. And as much as some people here are putting down state workers as “deadbeats”… remember that the State Troopers taking punches to the face are also state employees. Are you gonna call them “deadbeats” too? If these folks want to protest, let them. If they want to be arrested, let them. Its pretty clear that taxes can’t be raised to cover the gaps (even if a simple majority wanted to raise them), and most of the state did their protesting on the ballot last november.

  30. yeah_right says:

    Feel the same way about tea party protests?
    Tea party protesters aren’t primarily bottom feeding garbage. They actually pay taxes and want accountability.
    Most of us know exactly who shows up at these things. You can see the same assortment of “people” dumpster diving, panhandling and protesting in Olympia ANY damn day.

    If being an Olympia political bum wasn’t such a hip rewarding gig people can do while they are high as a kite… there wouldn’t be any protester news today.

  31. guiltybystander says:

    The thing is, these are mostly liberals protesting the very people they put into office. The GOP and Tea Party have nothing to do with these cuts…the balanced budget requirement does.

    These folks DO have every right to assemble and protest peacefully. However, breaking into the Governor’s office isn’t peaceful. Even the Tea Partiers have never tried that.

  32. itwasntmethistime says:

    They can protest, I’m okay with that. When they cross the line by shoving their way into closed places and physically assaulting the officers who protect us they aren’t protesting, they are rioting.

    Animals, spoiled children, poor sports, whatever you want to call them. They won’t play by the rules of a democracy. When they are in the majority they applaud our democratic system because they get what they want. When they are in the minority they refuse to step back and let the majority call the shots.

    When you take a vote and you lose, that means it’s not your turn to get your way. If you want your way all the time go start your own society. That is, if you can get anybody who actually pays taxes to join you.

  33. An SEIU-organized thug-fest. You noticed it was the SEIU spokesperson who was agitating for the protests and demands to ‘gimmee, gimmee’. There will be more of this and, like in Wisconsin, the unions will ship their thugs in from out of state when they feel it is necessary to ‘put up significant numbers of bodies’. Now, if they would arrest the union leaders and the organizers of these ‘protests’ for inciting illegal behavior , along with the cannon fodder they send to engage in them, it would go a long way in controlling such things.

    Like spoiled children, the only way to stop a temper tantrum and to discourage repeated ones is to constantly and consistently say ‘no’ , and stick to it. Like spoiled children, those that only ‘want’ but can’t stand to be refused their demands, will never accept a refusal regardless of the sound reasoning behind it. Arguing or trying to persuade them is a fruitless exercise, they only know they ‘want’ something. In the face of their unreasonable demands, conceding ANYTHING only encourages them to persist. Just say ‘no’.

  34. From the pictures I saw and from what I am reading, it looks as if the dregs of Washington State were in attendence at the Ill conceived rally!And anyone assaulting any Law Officer should be given the harshest sentence available to the Judge.Any thing less is saying to the lawbreakers,do anything you want to do and there will be nothing done to punish you for any criminal acts.

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