Morning Fizz: An Anonymous Opponent
Caffeinated News & Gossip featuring vying for Democratic state party chair, scrutinizing tax breaks, and declaring victory.
1. An (anonymous) opponent of Dana Laurent, a candidate for state Democratic Party chair, is distributing an email to party members trashing Laurent—the former policy director for Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and current executive director of the progressive Win/Win Network—for once wearing a shirt that read "I Had An Abortion," a reference to the 2005 film of the same name in which women who had abortions spoke out about their experiences.
The outraged email, titled, "She Wants to be State Party Chair?", calls Laurent "proudly pro-abortion," and accuses her of "openly encourag[ing]" abortion.
"This sort of dialogue would make a Dana Laurent a campaign issue, one which could cost critical votes in swing districts, especially in areas like Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish, Clark and all of eastern Washington."
The anonymous letter goes on to criticize Laurent for her association with "Seattle's sleaziest political consultants and insider elites."
Laurent's decision to don an "I Had an Abortion" T-shirt is nothing but brave. Other candidates for the spot being vacated by longtime chair and catchy quote machine Dwight Pelz are: former U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell aide and Jefferson County Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy Biery; former state party executive director (under former party chair Paul Berendt in the 90s and early 2000s) and former education reform lobbyist, Jim Kainber; and Tri-Cities Democratic activist and unsuccessful U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings challenger J. Clough.
Fizz (or the C is for Crank?) thinks Laurent's decision to don an "I Had an Abortion" T-shirt is nothing but brave; not that we get a vote, but if we did, it would make us all the more likely to support her as state Democratic Party chair.
2. The new CEO of the Washington Technology Industry Association, Michael Schutzler, pinged Fizz yesterday afternoon after we reported that state house finance chair Rep. Reuven Carlye (D-36, Queen Anne, Ballard)—a longtime hawk about tax breaks—was putting the spotlight on two expiring R&D tax breaks.
The breaks are worth an estimated $114 million to the state this biennium, and with an eye toward not reauthorizing them for bigger companies, Rep. Carlyle instead would earmark the new revenue for higher-ed tech schooling.
Schutzler sent over some bullet points praising the tax breaks (which, for example, waive sales taxes for construction of R&D facilities and equipment and let tech firms write off R&D investments up to $2 million), including his assertion that: "We invested more than $10 billion in R&D, for which we receive a grand total of $50 million per year in tax breaks."
I can assure you that we at WTIA are working with Rep Carlyle and other legislators in a positive and productive manner. There has been some enmity on this tax topic in the past, but we have REAL problems to solve in this state—like a broken education system—and building a strong partnership between government and our industry will build economic success for the entire state. We are committed to a building a tax package that works for WA.
Net net, this is not so much a fight between Microsoft and Reuven. This is an opportunity for the IT industry to help build a stronger WA state.
3. Leading by 77 votes—and more than a full point ahead now—the Yes for SeaTac campaign, which ran the initiative to increase the minimum wage for airport and surrounding area workers to $15 an hour, is declaring victory this morning.
King County Elections is going to officially certify the vote later this afternoon.
Fizz credits the unions such as the Service Employees International 775 who helped register 1,000 new voters in the runup to a vote decided by just 6,000 voters.