Political Buzz

Talking WA politics.

NOTICE: Political Buzz has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved Political Buzz.
Visit the new section.

Tag: Mark Miloscia


Watkins in 1st, Kelley leads Democrats for state auditor

Rep. Troy Kelley leads a trio of Democratic lawmakers in early returns tonight in the race to succeed State Auditor Brian Sonntag.

The sole Republican, James Watkins of Redmond, has the overall lead as expected with 46 percent, followed by Kelley with 24 percent — threatening elimination for Vancouver Sen. Craig Pridemore (not far behind at 20 percent) and Federal Way Rep. Mark Miloscia (10 percent). All three are giving up their seats to run for auditor.

The top two vote-getters advance to the Nov. 6 general election.

Kelley, a Tacoma business owner, chipped in $240,000 of his own money and spent it

Read more »


Gregoire administration lets agencies skip ‘quality’ assessment

State agencies are supposed to get physicals every three years in the form of assessments by the Washington State Quality Award program. But most have never done it, and Gov. Chris Gregoire‘s budget office now says they can’t afford to do it this year either.

Two Democratic legislators running for statewide office want a second opinion. Rep. Mark Miloscia of Federal Way and Sen. Jim Kastama of Puyallup have asked Attorney General Rob McKenna to declare whether agencies have to follow this kind of a mandate from the Legislature.

Miloscia has already drawn a conclusion — that skipping the examinations violates state law.

Read more »


Federal Way looks for way to secede from Sound Transit

Federal Way is firing a shot across the bow of Sound Transit.

The city is upset that Sound Transit expects to scrap plans to bring light rail to Federal Way by 2023 as part of the $17.9 billion mass transit measure voters approved in 2008. The agency’s tax revenues from South King County have dropped by nearly a third, so the agency plans to delay the extension to South 272nd Street until 2034 or later.

Now six proposals tied to Sound Transit have surfaced in the Legislature with backing from Federal Way.

None of them would bring more trains

Read more »


Mark Miloscia running to succeed Sonntag as state auditor

Federal Way state Rep. Mark Miloscia says he will run for state auditor.

He’s the first to declare his intentions since Democratic Auditor Brian Sonntag announced this week he wouldn’t run for a sixth term.

He says in a news release:

As State Auditor, our state will be recognized by our own citizens and the performance experts as the most efficient and effective government in the world. Where the most innovative companies in the world, the Boeings and Microsoft’s come to our agencies door to learn performance best practices from our employees, not the other way around .  Washington’s voters are expecting a real performance task master in the State Auditors Office to improve our state and I am just the leader that will get us results.

Miloscia, a socially conservative, pro-labor Democrat, has been at odds with members of his party on many issues and even briefly challenged Frank Chopp last year for the job of House speaker.

He says in his release that the same qualities that have “perplexed” his colleagues would make him a good auditor:

Rep. Miloscia sometimes has perplexed his colleagues and interest groups with his passion for government performance, having a track record of grilling government agencies in almost every committee hearing and of voting against state budgets and tax increases when accountability measures were excluded or lacking.

Miloscia will have to give up his seat representing the 30th District to run for statewide office.

Here’s Miloscia’s full news release: Read more »


No action on heritage bill, other mergers after Democrats split

It was an odd morning in the House State Government Committee as lawmakers came back from their party caucuses only to adjourn the meeting without any action.

The committee was scheduled to weigh in on some big decisions: whether to abolish the state printer, merge ethics and elections watchdogs, and move Heritage Center construction funding to a new department that would preserve the state history museums and Arts Commission.

It didn’t happen because Democrats didn’t have the votes.

Specifically, they didn’t have Rep. Mark Miloscia’s vote. The Federal Way Democrat who often breaks with his party was ready

Read more »


State House committees whittled down

The state House will have fewer committees when it reconvenes in January.

House members have received a list of the 21 committees they will serve on, down from 24 last year. The King County Democrats posted it on their blog.

The Everett Herald’s Jerry Cornfield has reported on the possibility of a reorganization, and the list looks pretty much as he described, with four committees folding.

Most significantly, the Finance Committee will be folded into Ways and Means, which makes it likely Rep. Ross Hunter, D-Medina, will chair that budget committee, the most important in the House.

Read more »


State workers: Don’t take us for granted

Sen. Pam Roach is the only senator who did enough this year to avoid a scolding from a major state employees group.

The Washington Federation of State Employees is denying endorsements to most legislators for now, saying they “waged a systematic campaign to dismantle human services and inflict extraordinary and unnecessary sacrifices on state employees.”

In case you’re scratching your head trying to remember these sacrifices, a quick recap of this session:  Democrats raised taxes as unions requested, didn’t cut pay for state workers, and ponied up an extra $65 million for worker health insurance, but they also closed three state institutions and downsized two others, cut about 3,000 state-employee and educator jobs, and furloughed as much as a quarter of the workforce.

The rhetoric may have bothered unions as much as the actions: Republicans demanding reopening of worker contracts; centrist Democrats complaining their party wasn’t doing enough to outsource non-core functions of government like the state print shop and liquor stores.

The result: Only 18 House members, mostly liberals, and the conservative Roach received backing Saturday at the union’s Endorsements Conference. The stamp of approval puts them on the fast track for the group’s endorsement — and the promise of fundraising help that comes with it.

Read more »


Which Democrats are immune to tax ads?

The answer: Not very many.

A number of freshmen and swing-district Democratic legislators were cut loose by their party to go their own way on tough tax or budget votes. But very few voted no across the board.

If the key bills are the main tax package, the tobacco taxes, and the operating budget that depends on both of those tax increases, the list of Democrats who opposed all three is small. I only see four: Rep. John Driscoll of Spokane,  Rep. Tim Probst of Vancouver, Sen. Tim Sheldon of Potlatch, and just one from Pierce County:

Read more »