Lobbyists Criticize Legislature in Anonymous Poll
Lobbyists give lawmakers a D+ for the 2014 legislative session overall and F in transportation.
The Elway Poll surveyed 269 lobbyists (out of the 808 registered) about the 2014 legislative session.
The lobbyists—the biggest number, 35 percent, representing businesses interests—gave the session a D+ overall, handing out an F (the first F ever in this fifth year of the poll) in transportation. "Transportation" was also rated as "the most significant" disappointment, with 40 percent of those surveyed identifying the issue as a flop; the legislature failed, for the second session in a row, to pass a transportation funding package.
"Education" was the second biggest bust, though only 18 percent of those polled chose it as their top disappointment.
The "most significant accomplishment"? Passing the Dream Act; 14 percent of those polled cheered that legislation. Some context, though, "they did no damage" was the second "most significant accomplishment" at 12 percent.
When it came to the four caucuses, the house Democrats got the highest GPA, 2.13, and the senate Republicans had the lowest GPA, 1.62.
It was Gov. Jay Inslee, though, who scored the worst. He got a 1.34 GPA down from 1.42 last year.
Lobbyists also assessed the Majority Coalition Caucus, the group of 24 Republicans and two black sheep Democrats who control the senate with a conservative agenda.
"The most significant change is that the MCC appears to be less polarizing that it has been in the past. Last year, 48% of lobbyists rated the MCC as having either a “very positive (17%) or “very negative”(31%) impact on the session. This year, just 34% were at the extreme ends of the impact scale (12% “very positive”; 22% “very negative”)."
And in the anonymous comments section, which pin-balled all over the place from—"I have never seen the political divide between D's ad R's as great as it is now" to "Legislators from across the aisle and rotunda seemed to work more collaboratively together than they have in the past"—was at least consistent on Gov. Inslee.
In a bad way. Here's what the lobbyists had to say:
MCC continues to be in-charge. Governor Inslee still hasn't hit stride--can't even deliver House Democrats on test scores as a component of teacher-principal evaluations.
Perhaps more progress could have been made had the governor used his bully pulpit to demonstrate leadership and encourage bipartisan solutions instead of attempting to, well, bully the MCC and condemn Republicans for his and the Democrats' policy failures .
Govs office had little if any impact. What happened to transportation???
Many felt the session wasn't significant and was simply setting up next year's tumultous budget battle. "It was kind of a nothing burger," one lobbyist quipped.
And an obvious liberal lobbyist—18 percent of those polled were social service lobbyists and 14 percent were from labor—summarized:
One side is attempting to have a rational discussion about how to finance basic education reforms required by the McCleary ruling without doing irrevocable damage to health care, child care, public safety, and other important investments. The other side is on an ideological quest to undermine government, no matter the cost to workers, families, and communities.
Read the whole poll here.