Extended Session Coming?

Comments

1
All right!

Income Tax for Millionaires, here we come!

Damn, I love our State Constitution which allows the House and Senate, no matter what the Governor says, to impose a flat one percent income tax with only one exemption (e.g. first $250,000 income per WA citizen in a family)!

Train's a coming!
2
So it is true that normally our legislators are only in session for 60 days each year? How does that make sense?!
4
Justin @2, the idea is that we have a citizen legislature, where most legislators have other careers and are only serving for a couple of months out of the year. The pay (currently $41k/year) is nice for only working 60 days compared to 240 for the average citizen, but it's not enough to live very well on in this state in 2010. Really, it's about right considering what they do and how long they do it. And during those 60 days the legislators usually pull very long days, typically living in Olympia far from their families and coming back on weekends if at all. It's a crappy job, except for the (not that extensive) power and opportunity to serve the public and/or corporate masters.

I didn't really fully understand this until I heard my legislators explaining their working hours, and seeing how tired they were at the end of the session.

As far as I know, this kind of arrangement is typical for state legislatures nationwide.
5
Also it's 60 days every 2 years. The other year it's 120 days.

The timing is so they can get their winter crop in and arrange for the neighbors to feed the cows and horses while they ride to Olympia for session, then get back in time for planting.

We have this thing called Daylight Savings Time too, based on the premise that 99 percent of Americans live on farms and have to wake up early.
6
Murray is nothing but a whore for corporations and it's the opposite of journalism for Eli Sanders to have such a smug relationship with him. It leaves him uncritical. The NYT got busted for its cozy relationship with the Bush White House (Judith Miller, anyone?). Eli, since you're not so big on asking real questions, I'll let you borrow mine.

Why do the Democrats refuse to tax the wealthiest folks in Washington? Why do they insist on continuing the tradition of cutting services from poor and working people and then demanding we pay more for fewer services?

Overall, the estimated total budget deficit for all 50 states in 2010 is $180 billion. Cutting the U.S. military budget by less than 10 percent would cover the entire budget gap, saving funding for schools, social programs and more. Just the annual spending on the U.S. occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan would nearly amount to the total deficits.

That's the reality of the misplaced priorities of U.S. political leaders. The money is there to save our schools--if the politicians would tax the rich and end U.S. wars halfway around the world.

Unfortunately, the union slogan " Raise Revenue!" leaves open the possibility of these regressive taxes. Not only will these hurt other working people, but they will undercut the support of workers in the private sector for the demands of state workers.

A far better approach was followed in Oregon, where voters passed Measures 66 and 67, raising taxes on the rich. There was plenty of support for this approach at the rally--including hand-made signs that said, "Robin Hood was right, tax the rich!"

But if this approach is to win out over the regressive consumption taxes now being proposed by the Democrats, it will take a strong and organized campaign. This will mean dropping the calls for a "balanced approach" that are now followed by too many labor leaders who want to get along with their Democratic "allies" in the state legislature.

The danger of relying on taxes that undercut the living standards of ordinary people was shown by the smaller rally that preceded the union rally, where the "Tea Party Movement" called for a cut in state taxes. If taxes continue to target the poor and workers, this will only further fuel the anti-tax movement.

Currently, Washington state has the most regressive tax structure of any state in the U.S. The top of the income scale pays only 3 percent of its income in state taxes, while the bottom 20 percent pay 17 percent of their income in state taxes.

Both to defend working-class living standards, and to win more political support from poor and working people, those who oppose budget cuts must demand that we "Tax the rich!"
7
@5, the long sessions, which happen in odd numbered years, are 105 days long, not 120.
http://www.leg.wa.gov/History/Legislativ…
8
@7 have you ever SEEN a 105 day session? most years they go way over, more like 150 days on average. it's easier shorthand to block it out at 4 months.
9
Will, when was the last time session lasted 150 days? (hint, it's been a long time)
10
For some reason, the state leg wants to let the foreign owned Trans-alta coal plant keep its multi-million sales tax exemption while it needs $2.8b in new funds. The same sales taxes everyone else pays. WTF?
11
@9 - I moved here in 1989. Not that long.

pp for the win. seriously, why are they tax-exempt?
12
@ 6, How is Senator Murray a whore for corporations? What corporations are you talking about? Senator Murray has been the state senate's fiercest advocate for protecting state services. Obviously this recession is not just a state mater - it is a global one and unfortunately budget cuts are part of the equation. But I think your frustrations are ill directed.

If you read the slog posted before this one you would've seen that the dems are proposing a "tax the rich" measure. That's no small task in this Eyman friendly atmosphere.