The Oly 'Animal House' frat face-off

Olympia's week in review: The Senate majority coalition is a tight pack. How they're using their new leverage to bandy about GOP-driven bills.

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Speaking of which, Tom hinted Thursday that another college tuition program might be on double secret probation.

The College Bound program promises tuition help and a small book allowance to low-income middle school students who work hard in school, stay put of trouble and succesfuly apply to college. Tom contended this program would ultimately cost the state $1 billion to $2 billion over a multi-year period. 

"We can't keep piling up liability on liability on liability for the next generation," Tom said.

Tom has already targeted the Guaranteed Education Tuition program — dubbed  "GET" — contending it has put the state $631 million in the hole. GET, which Dems want to keep, allows families to pay for state university tuitions in segments years in advance of a child actually attending college. The program — not the child's parents — compensate for increased tuition. 

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Earlier this week, Washington State Wire broke the story that the 2013-2015 budget shortfall might be $290 million more than expected.

The cause of the additional shortfall: Late last year the Washington Supreme Court made an extremely complicated and esoteric ruling on estate taxes, which will trim $120 million in 2013-2015 revenue and require $170 million in refunds according to a recent Washington Department of Revenue estimate. 

Prior to this Deathmobile crashing the Faber town parade, the best estimates for the state's predicted 2013-2015 budget shortfall were $2.5 billion to $3 billion. That guesstimate includes $900 million to $1.7 billion that the state Supreme Court has ruled is needed to fully fund K-12 education. 

Republicans and Inslee say there will be no new taxes to help fix that shortfall, banking on budget cuts and a magically improving economy to deal with the problem. Democrats say new taxes and tax hikes are needed.

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So far, no new developments in Olympia's attempts to develop guidelines for legally growing, selling and smoking marijuana without screwing up.

"This is a new idea. It's never been done before," said Gov. Jay inslee.

Inslee and new Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson flew to Washington, D.C. earlier this week to talk pot with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Washington has legalized marijuana, the feds say the stuff is illegal. Where is the common ground?

Evidently, they're not sure yet either. Though the three talked, ultimately nothing was resolved. Holder was inscrutable about where the U.S. Department of Justice stands. Future meetings are expected.

No word on whether Inslee, Ferguson and Holder passed around a joint.

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Inslee introduced his first job creation bill Thursday, sponsored by Rep. Bruce Chandler, R-Granger. The bill would spend $23 million of the capital budget on overhauling the reservoirs and rivers of the upper Yakima River Basin. The goal: better collection and storage of melting Cascade Mountain snowpack. This is the first of a series of proposals that Inslee says will improve the state's employment picture.

Republican leaders hemmed and hawed on the bill. The ecological stuff looks OK, they said, but the 316 jobs that Inslee claims will be created are government jobs, not private jobs. That might not be entirely cool with the GOP.

But Inslee got in his cool chops for the week regardless. Asked at a Thursday press conferenc whether he is concerned about North Korea's missile development and potential to strike the West Coast, he said this: 

"I'm reminded of the [final attack-on-the-parade] scene, with Kevin Bacon from Animal House saying, 'All is well! All is well!'"

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


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Comments:

Posted Fri, Jan 25, 9:32 a.m. Inappropriate

Wonderful imagery in this and your ok corral story. Makes your articles fun to read.

Posted Fri, Jan 25, 11:56 a.m. Inappropriate

Now who is Dean Wormer?

tom_hyde

Posted Sun, Jan 27, 10:36 a.m. Inappropriate

Flounder?

tom_hyde

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