1. Fizz is hearing that the levy swap is DOA in Olympia because Democratic leadership (both senate leader Sen. Ed Murray and house speaker Rep. Frank Chopp) don't like it.
The idea—it would replace a major portion of local K-12 funding commitments by raising state property taxes an average of $1.17 per $1,000 of home value per year, even on the 15 school districts out of 295 that don't currently have local levies, and put $1 billion more state dollars into K-12 education—was a response to the State Supreme Court's McCleary decision, which said the state was underfunding schools and relying too heavily on local districts.
The levy swap had been championed by Democratic state Rep. Ross Hunter (D-48), the current chair of the Ways & Means committee, which—as we reported in Jolt yesterday—is being broken up by Democratic leadership.
2. Former King County Executive (and former Obama Deputy Housing and Urban Development Secretary) Ron Sims got back to us about local consultant George Griffin's titillating Facebook post yesterday hinting at Sims' intent to run for mayor. Griffin, who hasn't returned our call, wrote on Facebook:
"Had breakfast with Ron Sims today. All I can say is, if you haven't committed to someone for Mayor of Seattle yet, you may want to wait until everyone has had a chance to think it over... :-) "
All Sims would tell us is: "I have not made a decision."
It's hard to call a representative from an ag heavy district in eastern Washington a small government conservative when agriculture receives about $45 million per biennium in tax breaks.3. Speaking of Facebook and the pending 2013 mayor's race: Supporters of former Seattle City Council member Peter Steinbrueck, who's been in the news lately as a paid lobbyist against the arena proposal in SoDo and the planned South Lake Union upzone, have started a "People for Peter Steinbrueck" page urging him to run for mayor.
4. The state senate Republicans named state Sen. Mark Schoesler (R-9, Ritzville) as their caucus leader yesterday. Schoesler, a key player on the budget committee and the ranking Republican on the agriculture committee, is a strong small government conservative.
(Big footnote: It's hard to call a representative from an ag heavy district in eastern Washington a small government conservative when agriculture receives about $45 million per biennium in tax breaks.)