Election results so far….

By | November 8, 2011 | 0 Comments

So far, every initiative is passing — except Tim Eyman’s initiative 1125, which is behind by about 2 points right now.

There will be more batches of returns in the coming days and more updates, but for tonight it looks like the state will have privatized liquor stores, more training for home healthcare workers, a budget stabilization account and no residency requirement to vote for president.

This week’s Q&A: Doug MacDonald on the problems with Initiative 1125

By | August 19, 2011 | 0 Comments

macdonaldLast week, I spoke to Tim Eyman about his latest initiative and how it would affect tolling across the state. This week, I spoke with Doug MacDonald, former secretary of transportation. He retired in 2007, just after the Tacoma Narrows Bridge opened. He’s an opponent of the initiative. Here’s what he had to say.

Q: First, what does this initiative do from your perspective?
MacDonald: Well, the worst part of the initiative is that it’s going to stop a whole lot of progress that’s been made on roadway improvements. I’m not sure that Tim Eyman, when he drafted this initiative, understood what some of its effects would be. But the kind of bomb that it dropped that’s most significant is on the 520 bridge project, because that’s structured to be financed by tolls to pay back bonds that would pay for some of its cost. That’s a good thing because it means that costs get paid in part by the users and not fall on taxpayers across the state. That’s a plan that’s been very attractive.

But the initiative says that tolls have to be set by the Legislature, which is absolutely not consistent with tolls being used to pay back that kind of a bond. And the confirmation of that isn’t coming from people like me, it’s coming from our state treasurer, Jim McIntire. McIntire has analyzed all this and he has put out a statement, reflected in the OFM fiscal analysis, that says that investors won’t buy bonds at as favorable a rate if there’s the political uncertainty of having tolls being set by the Legislature. (more…)

This week’s Q&A: Tim Eyman on Initiative 1125

By | August 12, 2011 | 0 Comments

eymanThis week, I spoke with Tim Eyman on Initiative 1125. Eyman says it provides straightforward protections for toll revenues. Opponents say it blows a hole in transportation funding and is just bad policy. And the Office of Financial Management’s projections say it could jeopardize funding for some big-ticket projects.

Usually, Q&A conversations are limited to 15 minutes. This one went a bit longer — so when I talk to the opposition next week, I’ll give them an extra five minutes, too.

Q: First, what does this initiative do from your perspective?

Eyman: Biggest thing that the initiative does is that it follows up on last year’s initiative 1053. We did that last year, it was the fourth time the voters voted for the policy. It got 64 percent approval. That was about saying, if they’re going to raise taxes, it takes a two-thirds vote. If they’re going to increase a fee, they’ve got to take a legislative vote. It was the fourth time the voters had voted for these policies. It was just a long-standing debate and the voters said this is what we want unambiguously. During session, the transportation budget writers decided not to comply – they re-delegated the authority to set tolls right back to the Transportation Commission.

In theory, initiatives are good for two years. After two years, they can start monkeying with it. This is the first time I’d ever seen them sidestep a provision in an initiative within the two-year period. What 1125 does is the idea that it needs to be the Legislature that sets the tolls it can’t be the unelected bureaucrats at the state agency. (more…)

Update: Tuition, 520 tolls and the budget

By | April 24, 2009 | 0 Comments

The House just reconvened. The budget is on their list of things to address.

In the meantime, the Senate is preparing to run the bill to authorize early tolling on the 520 bridge, a 14 percent tuition increase and an “opt-out” fee for parks that the Legislature hopes will prevent park closures.

Stay tuned.

Categories: Budget, Public Policy
Tags: , , ,

Early tolling LIVE now on TVW, watch tax increase hearing here

By | April 17, 2009 | 0 Comments

Tune into TVW right now to hear the House debate on a bill that would allow early tolling on 520.

And from earlier today, don’t miss the hearing on the .3 percent sales tax increase.

Categories: Budget, Public Policy, tax
Tags: ,