Republicans aren't the only ones who want to get rid of the Long Term Care Tax. The taxes are way too high for benefits that are way too low. It's a bad tax and a money grab. It needs to be repealed altogether.
Meanwhile, in the real world, schools will be criminally underfunded (literally) and by building new highway lanes that aren't transit-only and/or HOV-only, we will increase climate change emissions this decade by DOUBLING them.
Excuses mean a 10 foot increase in sea level this decade and a state in hock to pay for all the sunken billiionaire and millionaire properties. Because rich people sue - and win.
@1 - Amen. Nevertheless a good round-up Rich, thanks.
Yes on HB1706 - Truckers gotta pee
I also agree with @1. The LTC tax legislation was, even by Washington standards, very poorly constructed. Even before it was passed some of the sponsors were already discussing future legislative fixes.
Rich, you forgot Hasegawa's bill (SB 5116) to strengthen regulation around the use of automated decision systems by state agencies for sentencing, recidivism risk scoring, qualification for benefits, and a host of other critical issues where proprietary black-box algorithms can have real impacts on people's lives.
There will also likely be another battle over data privacy regulation, posing Carlyle's industry-authored legislation which attempts to preempt strong privacy protections with business-friendly provisions against another version of the consumer rights and civil liberties coalition-backed "People's Privacy Act." This will be the third or fourth time Carlyle's will try to ram through his bill, which was written by his Microsoft and Amazon lobbyist buddies.
Can someone explain to me why the fuck the Washington State Legislature only meets for 60 Days (105 in odd years).
These clowns get paid $56,681 a year but only need to work 2 months? That’s bullshit when you consider median income statewide is about $36,000.
We need to change the damn constitution and make these legislators work year-round.
@6 You are forgetting they also get a $120 per diem, as well as the same benefits available to state employees.
Also, it's not like most legislators are working round the clock during the legislative session. A lot of them are more or less along for the ride, just twiddling their thumbs on Zoom calls or whatever. The legislators who actually get stuff done are the exception to the rule.
@7 So we have a bunch of part-time employees getting full-time benefits and taking home over $65,000 a year, while only working for 2 months.
And to make it worse some of the conservative ones from east podunkistan had the unmitigated gall to criticize Inslee's use of his executive and emergency powers during a freaking global pandemic.
Non-Republican here: WA Cares was bad legislation and I'm glad it's not going into effect this year.
Of course by The Stranger political metrics, this means I'm basically a Ted Cruz sycophant
@10 Welcome to the club Brent!
Agree with all on the WA Cares fiasco. If the state wanted to provide a long-term care backstop at taxpayer expense they should have just done it. Pitching it as a great insurance plan for individuals was a huge error - even an idiot could see that the premium/coverage ratio was terrible.
And regardless of how you feel about life without parole sentences, why the hell would we decide to go easier on drive-by shooters than other murderers? They endanger bystanders WAY more than the average killer. That crime should be punished more harshly, not less.
Totally down with 'build more MFH statewide". However - if this should pass, the new problem will be finding enough construction professionals to actually DO the work of constructing all these buildings.
Please good golly SJM 8002, Requesting an amendment to the United States Constitution on campaign finance reform. If we solve this issue, the juggernaut of dark money dominating politics can finally come to an end. We’re just poor turnips being squeezed for blood we never had in the first place. And it’s killing us.
Thanks, Rich! Especially want to follow Rep. Berry's yet-to-be-dropped Guaranteed Basic Income bill.
I'd like to throw out a selfish plug here for two bills my group, Animal Rights Initiative, is advocating for: HB 1615, which would ban the sale of cosmetics tested on other animals in WA and HB 1718, which would ban and shut down all existing fur farms in WA. These should be no-brainers to help suffering animals, and re: fur farms not only are they torture chambers for minks, they are COVID hotbeds. Over 400 fur farms globally and across the US have seen COVID outbreaks amongst minks and humans, including a new mutation which arose in Danish fur farms in 2020, leading them to cull over 15 million minks-essentially shutting down the industry. British Columbia, Italy, and France have all announced that all fur farms will close in the next couple of years just since fall 2021.
For some reason Kevin Vandewege wants to end the state fish & wildlife commission and have the edge director chosen by the public lands commissioner. The whole reason for the fwc was so the dfw director would not be appointed by a single elected buyable person.
Not 'edge' (autocorrect!) but wdfw
Roger that @5 and @15. And, yeah, I think we need a long-term health care benefit, but I agree that the current structure sucks.
@11 The proposed legislation does not "build more MFH statewide." It merely alters zoning laws. It would then be up to developers and existing property owners to decide whether they want to build multi-family housing. So, this is a market-based solution to our housing crisis.
It is highly unlikely that for-profit developers will start churning out low-income multi-family units. Exisitng SFH property owners are not likely to tear down their family homes to replace them with low-income multi-family units either. As a result, this legislation will not accomplish anything beyond making some unintelligent portion of the electorate think that the legislature is doing something meaningful to address homelessness.
@6 - The reason for the short/long legislative sessions comes from back when Washington was a young state. The stated goal when designing our legislature was that we would not have professional lawmakers, but rather that members of the community would get elected and spend two months of even years and 3ish months of odd years in Olympia legislating, then they would spend the remaining 9/10 months at home in their districts.
Ideally, they would continue holding jobs and being active in their communities, doing the things that got them elected in the first place. They should continue earning their primary income through whatever they did before they got elected.
$65K/year + benefits is a lot, but it isn't enough to maintain a home in your district and rent a place for 3-4 months in Olympia. If we amend the constitution to require year round legislative sessions, we would have to increase lawmaker salaries to account for the "lost income" from their primary source of income, to make sure that they could then afford to maintain a home in district and a place to stay in Olympia. Rent in Olympia isn't horrible, but during the legislative sessions, finding a place to stay can be really difficult, and landlords do raise the rates during Session.
That said, most lawmakers do some level of "in district" work when they're not in Session. Attending events, meeting with other lawmakers or constituents, or doing research for the bills they plan to push/oppose in the coming Session. That's why their support staff are paid for 12 months of work, and are expected to do work in District and in Olympia. How much work the legislator is doing varies widely, of course, and that amount of work can become a campaign issue if people in the district feel the lawmaker isn't doing enough.
Legislators in Thurston, Pierce, or parts of King county can get away with commuting into Olympia when in Session, but the drive from the rest of the state isn't reasonable.
Bills 5217, 5078, and 1705.
Sigh. Trying to enact gun control in this country is like King Canute trying to order the tides, doomed to failure in the Supreme Court. These all seem like great ideas, but....
Bill 5426 Won't really address income inequality unless it is tied to some corresponding reduction in some other regressive tax or fee. Realistically the entire tax and fee structure of the state of Washington needs to be reworked from the ground up. Maybe if these jokers worked for more than 2 months a year they could accomplish something.
Bonds for babies. I'd like to learn more about Pellicciotti's idea. Is he planning on buying them Savings Bonds? Creating a fund to close the wealth gap by issuing a bond?
I don't understand how a guaranteed basic income won't simply be eaten up by inflation. It's a novel idea but I don't see a scenario where giving everyone a $1,000 a month doesn't just raise the cost of living by $1,000 a month.
5670 and 1782 There are worse ideas to address the cost of housing. I don't know how effective these ones would be. I do know the construction in my Seattle neighborhood involves tearing down low income housing and replacing it with luxury townhomes, so I'm not sure construction alone will bring down the cost of home ownership (at least not for 2 or 3 decades). It would be nice if they repealed the Condominium Act 64.34 RCW. Condos are a great option for first time buyers.
Ending Qualified Immunity would be good. Better would be eliminating police and other public sector unions.
Bill 1690 is a waste of time. I don't see the Amy Barrett Supreme Court (Is it really the Robert's court in anything but name?) overturning Frazier v. Cupp, so it doesn't matter what Strom Peterson thinks, cops are constitutionally allowed to deceive during interrogations and the evidence is admissible.
Bill 1692 is backward. I don't see any reason why anyone convicted of First Degree Murder should ever be released from prison. change the law so all First Degree Murder convictions result in life without parole.
Bill 1637. Yes Mental illness should be considered by a judge when sentencing, but let's eliminate the BS of saying someone is too mentally ill to stand trial. No matter how loony they are put them on trial, and yea, let the judge take their loonyness into consideration at sentencing.
It will be interesting to watch Rich and the Stranger staff reverse their opinion on "criminalize the act of printing out ballots near candidate tents" when megachurches start doing it to swing the WA-8 (so potentially the entire HOR) to whichever Republican ends up challenging Schrier.
@19 - more MFH would increase the supply, which ultimately eases the burden on everyone. There is no question that rents go down if there are more vacant places on the market. It may be the only situation in which trickle-down actually works.
@22 No one is going to create supply unless there is demand, right? The current demand, as @21 correctly points out, is for luxury townhomes.
No property owner or developer is going to turn existing SFH units into MFH units unless they think it would be profitable. As a result, there's never a going to be a situation in which we somehow build ourselves into a glut of affordable housing merely by zoning for greater density.
@5 Mr. Happy Sunshine, @15 joshmanboy, and @18 Rich: Thank you for further elaborating, and to Rich for another helpfully informative article.
The only place in Washington State where anyone who ISN'T filthy stinking rich can to afford to buy a house is either in or near Republic, Ferry County?! UGH! No, thanks! Why would I ever want to live next door to zombie superspreader ex-cop-turned-unmasked GOP 2020 gubernatorial candidate and sore loser, looney "Nooooope--something's fishy!" Trump wannabe LOREN CULP??
It's no wonder real estate, along with wages in the upper buttcrack of blood red Eastern Washington are cheaper than dirt there. Not that they're not experiencing growth. I'd be amazed if Culp and his kinfolk aren't threatened by an incoming septic tidal wave of unvaccinated ex-Idahoans seeking catastrophic healthcare, overwhelming the horse-spittles there. Cliven Bundy, his loyal dog, Ammo, and fellow NRA gun nutzis are probably building a hunting lodge there. And when the Reverend sez that when they all drop like Mike Pence's flies, it'll be "their TAHM"! It's the Apocalypse via COVID---wheeeeeeeee!
And people wonder why Washington State is do deeply divided on either side of the Cascades.
Go, Kim Schrier in WA District 8, GO!!
@23 - it's not about building a glut. And you are correct, developers are going to build high-end housing. They have no choice with land as expensive as it is. But building more housing at the upper end means less demand for places (like mine) that are in nice areas but maybe older, smaller, etc. as a bunch of Google/Facebook people move into the newer ones as they arrive. That means I can't ask as much for them & they become more affordable. That will continue down the line. It's how the housing market works. It doesn't take too much of an increase in vacancies to start bringing rents down.
Would a ton of public housing drop rents even more? Sure. But I don't see anyone lining up to pay for it and siting it in this town will be a nightmare. Let's at least do the things that are possible now, instead of nothing.
Leave it to an ugly old white RepubliKKKan man who should have retired decades ago to fuss over abortion pills. Brad deserves to get his shriveled balls Klippert for his ridiculous House Billl 1679.
@26 'developers are going to build high-end housing'
Naw, developers are going to build whatever they can make the most money building. Before congregate housing was pretty much regulated into oblivion, developers were very happy to build those, and they definitely weren't high end housing. This was the last time that building cheap housing was really profitable and they were not popular.
I will certainly agree that developers can't be relied on to build a glut of housing. It could happen, but this would be them making a mistake. What they can do is add enough supply that housing prices will increase much slower than they currently do. We've certainly seen what building too little housing to meet demand has done to housing costs.
Agree with all the other commenters on WA-Cares. It's a complete disaster of a bill. They should not only repeal it but also compensate everyone who had to rush to acquire a shitty, wholly unnecessary LTC Insurance plan just to meet the opt-out requirements.
I had to spend two weeks making calls, filling out forms, submitting all sorts of information, corralling all my doctors and specialists to provide testimony, etc. and now I'm stuck paying over $100 a month for a plan that I don't want and will never use. All because of some bad legislation that the Democrats didn't think through. It's outrageous.
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