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Archives: Feb. 2012

Feb.
29th

Mitt Romney to hold Bellevue ‘meet and greet’ Friday

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney will make a public appearance in Bellevue Friday.

He has scheduled an 8 a.m. “meet and greet” at the Highland Community Center, according to his website.

The Seattle Times reported last month that Romney would also host a March 1 cocktail fundraiser.

His visit comes just before Washington’s March 3 caucuses on Saturday.

Feb.
29th

Lonergan running for assessor-treasurer

Former Tacoma City Councilman Mike Lonergan said today he is running for Pierce County assessor-treasurer, making him the fourth candidate for the office.

Lonergan cited his experience as director of the Tacoma Rescue Mission from 1993 to 2005 as qualifying him to be assessor-treasurer.

His competitors “haven’t managed an office of the size and scope of the assessor’s office,” Lonergan said. “I have,” he told The News Tribune.

“I think the public needs someone with a track record of leading people and developing teamwork to accomplish a mission,” Lonergan said.

Lonergan, 62, was a Tacoma City Council member from 2001-2009,

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Feb.
29th

Tacoma: City dismisses ethics complaint against former facilities director Mike Combs stemming from Dome study

UPDATED: 5:28 p.m. In a phone interview this afternoon, Combs said he is satisfied with the review’s findings.

“It’s what I expected,” he said. “…What I was doing was working on this as a private citizen. I’m not a consultant or a city employee any more.”

Original post:

The city has dismissed an ethics complaint against former Public Assembly Facilities Director Mike Combs after a review found he did not violate Tacoma’s ethics code when he worked last year to seek a publicly-funded study about the Tacoma Dome.

Combs, a city employee for 25 years, had worked for several

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Feb.
29th

Freshmen House Democrats: Might take longer to persuade on taxes

Freshman House Democrats would rather seek unlikely two-thirds supermajorities in the Legislature for their tax-increase proposals than put them to a public vote.

If that means they need more time to persuade their fellow lawmakers, they said, so be it.

The group held a news conference today as some of their proposals start to get attention, 52 days into a 60-day session. A public hearing just wrapped up on a state tax on capital gains, offered by Tacoma Rep. Laurie Jinkins. Other proposals they support include adding expiration dates to tax breaks, charging sales tax to shoppers from out of state, and

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Feb.
29th

Morning update Day 52: Taxes galore

A 10 a.m. House Ways and Means Committee meeting today is the first official public hearing for some of the most talked-about tax ideas of the session.

That includes tax increases that freshmen House Democrats are pitching as long-term ways to stabilize the state’s revenue collections. The ideas are long shots in that they would require either two-thirds majorities or public votes.

Tacoma Rep. Laurie Jinkins has proposed a new capital gains tax and she and other freshmen have signed on to a bill by Seattle Rep. Reuven Carlyle that would put expiration dates on most of Washington’s tax

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Feb.
28th

Budget has good news for Narrows bridge commuters

While Senate Democrats’ budget does raise some new revenue by targeting tax breaks on wind energy and big banks, it reduces state tax collections in other areas, including new tax credits for movie producers and other industries — and delaying sales-tax payments by the Tacoma Narrows bridge.

When the second Narrows bridge was built in 2007, lawmakers allowed it to hold off paying sales taxes on construction for five years.

That bill comes due in December, with the bridge scheduled to pay $5.8 million a year for 10 years. That’s part of what’s driving the need for an increase in

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Feb.
28th

Last-minute Santorum, Paul, Romney rallies expected

State Republican Party Chairman Kirby Wilbur says presidential candidates Rick Santorum and Ron Paul are coming back to Washington this week for one last push before Saturday’s GOP caucuses.

And Mitt Romney, who will be in Bellevue Thursday for a long-planned fundraiser, is committed to having a public event at a time to be announced, Wilbur said.

Santorum plans two rallies Thursday in eastern Washington, while Paul comes to Seattle Friday, Wilbur said. There were no details yet on times and places.

The March visits follow February appearances by Santorum, Paul and Newt Gingrich and point out the potential importance of Washington’s caucuses,

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Feb.
28th

Senate Democrats’ budget a ‘game changer’?

It was something of a miracle in some onlookers’ eyes: Democrats rolled out another budget plan today that has $322 million in spending cuts. But as Mary Lindquist, president of the Washington Education Association said, the Senate’s partisan budget proposal spares K-12 schools for the first time in years – largely by making a $330 million permanent shift in when school districts get their state allotments.

The plan also unexpectedly spared major cuts in human services. And in laying out their plan, Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, D-Spokane, and her top budget writer, Sen. Ed Murray, said they want to start looking longer term at a better source of financing education.

“It’s the first time since 2008 that we’ve had a budget that doesn’t cut higher ed and K-12,” Lindquist said, unlocking a smile she hasn’t had a reason to use much recently. “I may have been more pleased by Sen. Brown and Sen. Murray’s comments that we’re going to get a path forward to fund the paramount duty of the state.”

Of course to do that, Democrats are postponing a payment from June 2013 to July that year for K-12 schools. That $330 million delay is smaller than the $404 million proposed by Democrats in the House, and it is a move that minority Republicans are dead-set against doing. Go here for details in the various plans.

Republican Sen. Joseph Zarelli “won’t be endorsing the Democratic budget,” one staff said. I’m waiting to talk to the GOP’s budget leader later in the day.

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