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    Inslee unshaken on no-new-taxes promise

    In a couple months, Jay Inslee will have to put the state's money where his mouth is on balancing Washington's budget without new taxes. Meanwhile, he appoints the people in charge of his transition to governor.
    Rep. Jay Inslee is interviewed on KCTS 9 by Enrique Cerna.

    Rep. Jay Inslee is interviewed on KCTS 9 by Enrique Cerna. KCTS 9

    Jay Inslee is sticking to his guns  — new taxes won't be needed to fix Washington's budget woes.

    At a Wednesday press conference in Seattle, three reporters challenged Inslee on that plank of his candidacy for governor. Each time, he cited his campaign promise that the Legislature can raise money to meet a Washington Supreme Court mandate to increase school funding by creating enough new jobs to generate more state revenue — and without raising taxes.

    "I think economic growth is the best way forward," Inslee said.

    Outgoing Gov.Chris Gregoire has said that meeting the Supreme Court's requirement without raising taxes is impossible. 

    Inslee has met briefly with Gregoire so far but plans to discuss the transition more extensively with her next week. Inslee and Gregoire will likely collaborate on the governor's biennial budget proposal to be unveiled in a few weeks. Preliminary estimates are that the Legislature will have to find an extra $2.1 billion to meet the Supreme Court mandate in 2013-2015, plus another roughly $900 million to meet other expected budget shortfalls.

    Inslee acknowledged that an economic growth solution will take a long time. "When you climb a mountain, you take one step at a time," he said.

    His top priority for the upcoming legislative session, he said, will be job creation.

    His plans call for reforms in taxes, especially business and occupation taxes, plus tax breaks for fledgling companies; health care reforms; and cutting some regulations. Inslee would split some duties away from the state commerce department to create small agencies to concentrate on recruiting and training for life sciences, maritime, aerospace and military jobs and businesses. His plans are mum on unemployment insurance and worker compensation reforms.

    Inslee wants to expand state support activities for companies seeking military-related work. He would provide more help to research institutions for spinning off new technologies into new businesses. He also seeks some regulatory reforms. 

    The purpose of Inslee's press conference was to introduce the people in charge of his transition team for the next two months. They are:

    • Transition director Brian Bonlender. He was Inslee's congressional chief of staff and a senior advisor for his gubernatorial campaign. 
    • Transition committee co-chairwoman Mary Alice Heuschel, superintendent of the Renton school district. Inslee noted her district has a 90 percent graduation rate.
    • Transition committee co-chairman Brad Smith, Microsoft's general counsel and executive vice president for legal and corporate affairs. He " is from  a culture of innovation," Inslee said.
    • Transition committee co-chairman Elson Floyd, president of Washington State University. "He has an ability to reach out to the underserved populations in this state," Inslee said.


    John Stang covers state government for Crosscut. He can be reached by writing editor@crosscut.com.

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    Posted Fri, Nov 16, 3:47 a.m. Inappropriate

    This is my first post and hopefully I will inspire others to come forward with ideas to help the State of Washington in maintaining a reputation for individual freedom while at the same time sustaining a promise of caring for the community in ways that better the human experience of life.
    My thoughts today are on that elusive budget shortfall of over a Billion Dollars that should concern citizens and therefore I would call on the present Governor and the Governor Elect to come together and solicit ideas from the public to bridge that deficit gap without putting an undue financial burden on the citizens and business enterprises that make up the community.
    My idea will take some research, planning and implementing if adapted. These are only ideas and should be thought of as springboard for other innovated ideas that take shape to solve the deficit. Governor(s) are elected to lead and part of the leadership can be in the form of soliciting ideas from the public that they serve.

    Here is my idea and some hurdles I know of that exist with the ideas, along with possible solutions to work around the hurdles.

    Extreme enhancement of, and possible changes to the Washington State Lottery by using innovative schemes to drastically increase the ongoing revenue stream generated within the State Lottery and therefore drastic increases realized in net proceeds for the general fund or categories of usage for the proceeds.
    This can be done by allowing purchasers of Lottery tickets to do so electronically either on the internet or via authorized vendor locations.
    Is it possible for Lottery Ticket purchases to be made with Credit Cards, Debit Cards or Direct debit from financial accounts such as checking, savings or money market?
    It is my belief that many if not all such account agreements disallow this activity since it may be deemed as gaming or gambling and therefore could be regulated by Federal Law (and/or Washington State Law)?
    If this were the case that purchasing Lottery Tickets using one of these accounts was in violation of a law, then what could be done to bypass such illegality? We know for instance that federal law classifies Marijuana as being illegal at the Federal level, yet Washington State has proven that State Rights trump federal law when the citizens vote their approval within the State jurisdiction.
    To overcome the (federal) obstacle Washington State could use the State Right to change or to circumvent such restrictions. How?
    By using such venues as transportation cards that are monetarily preloaded and already in existence that allow holders of such to purchase transportation services for bus, ferry and train services to also use these cards (that have been monetarily loaded using credit cards, check, savings and mm accounts ) additionally to purchase Lottery Tickets? Let's not stop there...there are a host of other services that could be paid with such a card system.
    How do we enhance and drastically increase the cash flow and therefore the profitability of the Lottery system?
    Why not let purchasers of lottery tickets purchase weekly Lottery tickets in advance up to say $10.00 per week and up to say $520.00 for a 52 week purchase in advance! The ticket purchases are therefore locked in and the $520.00 (or whatever) is now in the General Fund and drawing interest if keep inside an interest bearing account. WIN WIN !
    This can be done using a 'multiple use state issued debit card' mentioned above which is currently used for transportation only.
    The card alone is not just part of the solution. How many people would opt to pay Cash In Advance for several weeks or say 52 weeks for future tickets so as to avoid the constant trips to vendors to make such purchases?
    How about the ability to purchase Lottery Tickets at any and all government service offices? How about automated machines at parks, sports stadiums and interstate highway rest stops that allow travelers the opportunity to purchase Washington State Lottery Tickets?
    Lack of Imagination is the only real obstacle in not empowering and improving Lottery Ticket revenue funds to meet the many State needs.
    People enjoy playing the Lottery, so why not let the people have easy and enhanced options to play?
    Just an idea that I hope someone will share with the Governor and the Governor Elect so that we can all get past this stress test and move on to even more freedoms of choice.

    By the way, I am not a Washington State resident but rather an admirer and two time visitor to Seattle. My first visit was in 2008 and my latest was in 2010. My wife and I fell in love with the beauty and vitality of Washington but like the endings of all vacations had to return to our home here in Thailand. Ever since our 2010 visit I have been following Seattle closely through various internet sources and have been planning now for 2 years my seasonal transformation to your cool and hospitable climate (compared to our extreme hot tropical climate). We will make our first long term stay in Seattle beginning in March 2013 and hope to contribute to the well being of Seattle and Washington State society.
    We will need a modestly priced rental in Seattle for these two retirees...any suggestions would be graciously appreciated.

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