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Occupy Olympia!

Protesters Take Their Tents to Lawmakers on November 28

Occupy Olympia!

Every big problem that Seattle's Occupy protesters are upset about runs through the state capital, Olympia. Unfair tax policy, slashed education funding, our frayed social safety net—these are not issues that can be solved just by occupying the lawn in front of Seattle Central Community College or confronting the Seattle police, or taking over the University Bridge, or moving your money from Chase to a credit union.

Yes, of course, there's value to all of those actions—and to the general consciousness-raising that Occupy Seattle helps achieve merely by its existence. But it's time for Seattle's occupiers, and all who support their aims, to get down to Olympia, where a special legislative session opens on November 28 so that lawmakers can decide how to deal with yet another multibillion-dollar revenue shortfall.

"A sea of tents will cover the grounds by Capitol Lake directly in front of the Capitol," declares OccupyOlympia.org, which calls for a week of action aimed at state lawmakers.

Over the past three years, these legislators have cut a total of $10.5 billion from Washington State's budget, and almost all of those cuts have hurt the 99 percent. At the same time, the state legislature has refused to raise enough new revenue to keep funding programs that help the working poor.

You want to talk about green-lighting corporate giveaways while not looking out for the rest of us? Olympia hands out billions of dollars each year through tax loopholes that benefit the likes of Wall Street banks and private-jet owners—and despite the Great Recession, lawmakers still haven't gotten serious about closing any meaningful number of those loopholes (though they've been quick to cut benefits for state workers, medical care for vulnerable citizens, and scholarships for poor students). You want to talk about upside-down tax priorities? Our state has the most regressive tax structure in the nation, according to an analysis by the Sightline Institute, with poor people paying 17.3 percent of their income in taxes while the filthy rich pay only 2.6 percent of their income in taxes. Yet there's been no leadership from Olympia on moving us away from our overreliance on a regressive sales tax. Instead, Governor Chris Gregoire's big idea, released on November 21, is to temporarily raise the regressive sales tax by half a penny.

It's better than no revenue at all, but it shouldn't be the only reaction to the problems we currently face.

So be part of a bigger reaction. recommended

 

Comments (21) RSS

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1
Thank you for finally calling OS what it is. I've grown tired of blind the horn-tooting by other writers here.
Posted by The CHZA on November 23, 2011 at 12:06 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 2
This is a disingenous concept.

The reality is that the MSM will package and restrict Oly related activities into their Either-Or Black-White presentations of political parties while it's down there.

Altho a Mike Check might be useful in cutting thru the filters.

You need to do both: Actions in major cities or at media events like say Ski Hills when TV crews are filming AND actions in Olympia, realizing the Olympia actions will mostly be filtered out and tossed aside by the MSM.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on November 23, 2011 at 12:32 PM · Report this
judgmentalist 3
Love you, Eli. Thanks for being a consistent voice of reason on the Slog and advocate for rational change.
Posted by judgmentalist on November 23, 2011 at 12:36 PM · Report this
4
don't be daft, Eli - the legislature raised $800 million of new revenue in 2010. how quickly we forget!
Posted by Senate Bill 6130 on November 23, 2011 at 12:46 PM · Report this
5
$10.5 billion in cuts? You mean the state operating budget dropped from $34 billion to somewhere around $24 billion? I don't think so. Try again.
Posted by factsarestubbornthings on November 23, 2011 at 12:57 PM · Report this
6
There is a reason why Eli is the only Stranger staff writer that I take seriously.
Posted by Devin on November 23, 2011 at 1:04 PM · Report this
Eli Sanders 7
@4: Fixed.
Posted by Eli Sanders http://elisanders.net/ on November 23, 2011 at 1:38 PM · Report this
Ian Awesome 8
Errrr... Eli? We marched every day last week, to include the bridge shutdown called "Our bridges need work, so do we." There's not an action that goes on in this town that we don't participate in.

Sooooo... where were you?
Posted by Ian Awesome http://oneangryqueer.blogspot.com on November 23, 2011 at 3:25 PM · Report this
TotesFierce 9
Yeah y'all! Let's just legislate our way out of this! THAT'S BEEN WORKING SO WELL FOR US!
Posted by TotesFierce http://fag4life.com on November 23, 2011 at 5:38 PM · Report this
10
Absolutely! Come down here and help us out! We need a much bigger turnout to get the attention of the hundreds of legislators that see us everyday.
Posted by Occupus on November 23, 2011 at 5:46 PM · Report this
11
@9 what's your suggestion?
Posted by buttmonkey on November 23, 2011 at 7:45 PM · Report this
TotesFierce 12
@11: execute all straight people.
Posted by TotesFierce http://fag4life.com on November 23, 2011 at 11:14 PM · Report this
13
@12, yeah, cause there aren't any rich GLBT people... oh wait, some of the snobbiest folks I know are gay!
Posted by OccupOlyGirl on November 24, 2011 at 11:29 AM · Report this
14
Over half of the first dozen comments on this article seems like ridiculous and stupid trolling, which is unfortunately what I've come to expect from most participants in the SLOG. I don't know why some of you waste your time writing this stuff. It is ignorant, rude and doesn't even make sense half of the time, and it unfortunately drives people away from informing themselves and contributing to a healthy debate. Shame on you guys, and get a freakin' life.

Thank you, Eli, for helping promote the Occupy Olympia week of action. This is by far the most important thing the Occupy movement in Washington State has done, and we need all the support and publicity we can get. There will be huge actions all over the country next week and it would be AWESOME if ours was one of the biggest, not only because of our horribly regressive tax structure, but also because our very own Patty Murray is the co-chair of the failed supercommittee.

However, I don't think you should downplay the importance of the other actions over the last couple of months. The bridge action last Thursday was a nationally coordinated event put on by the SEIU and other unions to call attention to our failing infrastructure. It ended up being co-sponsored by the occupiers in most places it took place and was an incredible display of solidarity betweeen two quickly converging movements. Stuff like this is extremely important for building awareness and making connections between seemingly disparate issues.

All of the occupations have called attention to homelessness and unemployment, making them household words for the first time in decades. All the acts of civil disobedience (with their 4,000+ arrests at the national level) have called attention to police militarization and brutality, the increasingly obvious role of the police as protecting wealth and private property, and the degree to which people are willing to sacrifice their own safety to call attention to the issues.

These actions, much like the upcoming Olympia occupation, are some of the many things people can do to call attention to the issues and create change in the world. We've already had hundreds of thousands of people protesting, moving their money to credit unions, marching, letter-writing, camping and doing all sorts of other great stuff. Next week, we take it directly to government. I personally think it couldn't be timed better and is the perfect culmination to the first step of mass action. I look forward to seeing what we all pull off next.
More...
Posted by Dr.Devo on November 24, 2011 at 1:01 PM · Report this
15
@14 Dr. Devo----right on and whip 'em good!!
Posted by auntie grizelda on November 24, 2011 at 1:53 PM · Report this
16
Right on, Eli! As an Olympia resident, I can confirm that I will be there for the Week of Action, starting next Monday.

Bring on the tents and the "tired, huddled masses," and then let those masses stand up, get energized, and place some pressure on the 1% in the Capitol! Tell the governor to veto any budget that doesn't include a progressive income tax, coupled with a reduction in the sales tax! Tell the public that capitalism is corrupt and needs to be replaced with cooperative economics! Tell the assembled masses that you are tired of working hard and still being poor!

Whatever your own message for the 1% is, just show up and be part of it. We are the "Sleeping Giant" of the 21st Century, and we are waking up...
Posted by wrkrcoop on November 24, 2011 at 10:31 PM · Report this
17
Especially important to Occupy Olympia since some of the "inside Olympia" liberal crowd are already trying to conjure up support for sales tax increase - the most regressive tax on the books - as part of a so-called "balanced" approach: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/op…

Business interests will think that's just fine, thank you very much, which is no surprise since no one is seriously considering the kinds of tax reforms that would endanger the perks corporations have carved out of the state tax code over the past 5 decades or so: http://www.awb.org/articles/pressrelease…
Posted by cloudveil1 on November 25, 2011 at 11:16 AM · Report this
18
I-1053 requires a 2/3 majority to raise any revenue, whether through taxes or closed loopholes. The only thing a simple majority can do is make cuts. That seems like an important detail you left out.
Posted by pox on November 27, 2011 at 9:53 AM · Report this
slade 19
"Olympia hands out billions of dollars each year through tax loopholes that benefit the likes of Wall Street banks and private-jet owners—and despite the Great Recession, lawmakers still haven't gotten serious about closing any meaningful number of those loopholes (though they've been quick to cut benefits for state workers, medical care for vulnerable citizens, and scholarships for poor students). You want to talk about upside-down tax priorities? Our state has the most regressive tax structure in the nation, according to an analysis by the Sightline Institute, with poor people paying 17.3 percent of their income in taxes while the filthy rich pay only 2.6"

This is just a ailment of a far greater problem that has stooped and duped Congress and the American people for many many decades.

The rich are rich and have better tax rates better service and better health and education because America "serves" the rich?

The Boston tea party and the Boston massacre and Slavery are perfect examples of what ignorance we must endure constantly. We must Party and Massacre and be slaves to some one for fricking ever.
Posted by slade http://www.youtube.com/user/guppygator on November 29, 2011 at 1:31 PM · Report this
20
@12: My, such big talk for such a little troll!
Posted by auntie grizelda on November 29, 2011 at 11:57 PM · Report this
lyllyth 21
@12: Would that include the person who fucked someone and ended up giving birth to you?

'Cause I'm betting that at least for just that one time, something hetero was involved.

You should give up your gay card, if you're that full of hate. You can't possibly be light-hearted or happy.

Regarding the Occupy Movement? Portland is putting Seattle to shame. Did you see their Bank of America anti-coal zombie protest? We're running around mumbling to ourselves and our numbers are dwindling. How about we put some more organization in our efforts and less whining? Hell yeah we should be producing petitions and passing out leaflets with valid ways we can get shit done. I've lived here for ages, and I still can't believe we have no normal liquor stores on Sundays and no State Income Tax.
(I know we get liquor stores soon, but jaysus, do we really want to be in the same category as UTAH?)

I think a state income tax would be an excellent start...
Posted by lyllyth on November 30, 2011 at 5:53 AM · Report this

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