Morning Fizz: "Seattle Needs Comprehensive Transportation Solutions," says GOP state Rep.
Caffeinated News & Gossip featuring pot money, ridesharing, and chocolate.
1. We've been slacking on our "Isn't it Weird That..." posts lately, so here's one: Isn't it weird that Seattle state Rep. Reuven Carlyle (D-36, Queen Anne) is currently blocking a revenue stream for Seattle?
Cities like Seattle stand to lose if the omnibus marijuana legislation, which is currently queued up for a vote in the house after passing the senate over the weekend, isn't amended today, the last day of the session.
Candice Bock, the lobbyist for the Association of Washington Cities, points out that the pot taxing scheme originally sent a portion of the anticipated $190 million in revenues over the next four years to cities and counties—30 percent of 25 percent of the total excise tax dollars.
However, powerful house finance chair Rep. Carlyle doesn't think the revenue-sharing model is ready for prime time just yet.
Fizz asked the Seattle legislator why he was standing in the way of Seattle's pot money; in part, revenue sharing divvies up the 30 percent based on where the pot was sold, so Seattle, by virtue of its size, stood to do well in a revenue sharing scheme.
With Republicans adamantly opposed new taxes "any time on this planet," pot revenues are one of the only new streams of money to help the state meet the McCleary mandate, says Carlyle Rep. Carlyle says he isn't against revenue sharing in principle, but explains: A) he's seen no financial data yet to suggest that the pot market will put financial demands on cities and points out, in fact, that an initial selling point of I-502 was that it would decrease local law enforcement costs; B) with the Republicans adamantly against new taxes and Carlyle's efforts to close tax loopholes—"any time on this planet"—pot revenues are one of the only new streams of money to help the state meet the McCleary K-12 funding mandate from the Washington State Supreme Court. And finally, C) he doesn't like the double whammy of giving local districts both the right to pot sale revenues and the ability to put a moratorium on pot sales. "What does the state get?" he grouses about the situation, which gives local districts the upper hand.
AWC lobbyist Bock doesn't agree. She tells Fizz:
"Per the initiative, the majority of the revenue is directed to specific purposes unrelated to education funding. Cities are asking that the state recognize local governments are a partner in successfully implementing legalized marijuana and that cities will need additional resources to address local impacts including greater enforcement of the illicit market. Some cities have adopted temporary moratoria as they evaluate the approach to regulation that best fits their community. These are short term measures that shouldn't impact the partnership between cities and the state."
2. While we're at it, here's another "Isn't it Weird That" item about Seattle—via Olympia.
Isn't it weird that the state house Republican transporation lead, Rep. Ed Orcutt (R-20, Kalama), is suddenly concerned about Seattle's transportation needs? (The Republicans are the ones who've scoffed at a transit/roads transportation package split any higher than 10 percent/90 percent and who've stalled new transportation funding, including authorizing a local motor-vehicle excise tax option to fund King County Metro, because they want to see "reforms" such as paying non-union wages on road projects first.)
But check it out. From a letter that Rep. Orcutt, the ranking Republican on the house transportation committee sent yesterday to Donald Clark, U.S. Secretary of the Federal Trade Commission (and cc'd to Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, the Seattle City Council, and King County Executive Dow Constantine):
"Seattle needs comprehensive transportation solutions for the 630,000 residents, plus hundreds of thousands of tourists that visit the city's businesses each year."
Whoa. We don't know why a Republican is suddenly hip to Seattle's significance and corresponding needs, but we'll take it.
Specifically, Rep. Orcutt's letter to the feds raises red flags about the pending ridesharing legislation at city hall, which Orcutt says will "impede market place competition, re-inforce an arbitrary and monopolistic playing field for taxi cab services, and limit the transportation services that the City of Seattle's own demand study showed residents want..."
Come reclaim chococlate as a political weapon for women...and eat candy.
Orcutt adds that the 150 cap on rideshare drivers per company on the road at any given time plus new licensing requirements on drivers "would risk crushing the ride share model that relies on the flexibility and independence of small business partners that embrace part-time or even casual drivers and riders."
Full letter here.
3. And a reminder from the PubliCalendar files—and nothing weird here: Erica "the C. is for Crank" Barnett is a celebrity judge tonight, along with Mayor Ed Murray, KEXP's Kerri Harrop, awesome illustrator Ellen Forney and others—at NARAL Pro-Choice Washington's annual "Chocolate for Choice" (reclaim chococlate as a political weapon for women, or at least as a source of income) fundraiser.
The tasty event is at 6:30-8:30pm, at the Terrace Club at Safeco Field 1250 1st Ave, $40 and up.