CORRECTIONS: We incorrectly said Sen. Steve Litzow was at the press conference and left out Sen. Bruce Dammeier. Also, Sen. Rodney Tom is from the 48th legislative district, not the 41st. We apologize for any confusion this has caused.
The Washington State senate Majority Coalition Caucus, the group of 23 Republicans (soon to be 24 with the newly elected Jan Angel, R-26, Port Orchard) and two conservative Democrats (Rodney Tom, D-48, Medina, and Tim Sheldon, D-35, Potlatch) marked its one-year anniversary today with a small press conference.
The press conference focused on achievements such as the two-year university tuition freeze at public universities, "tax relief" (no general tax raises in the past year), and an additional $1 billion to K–12 funding (although the Seattle Times debunked that claim in April, revealing it's actually $795 million ... and Josh broke down the numbers here showing that the budget fell hundreds of thousands short of meeting the state Supreme Court K-12 funding mandate and relied on unsustainable one-time transfers. Additionally, the tuition freeze was made possible by successful Democratic legislation to close a telephone industry loophole worth about $100 million.)
"Our bipartisan coalition now moves into a second year of working cooperatively,” Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom (D-Medina) said. “We’ve become the voice of reason when it comes to jobs, education and the budget."
Four other coalition members joined Tom at the press conference: Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler (R-9, Ritzville), Sen. Linda Evans Parlette (R-12, Wenatchee), Sen. Bruce Dammeier (R-25, Puyallup), and Sen. Barbara Bailey (R-10, Oak Harbor).
But not everyone agrees.
In response to the MCC's celebration, the Washington State Senate Democrats sent out an email listing several links to the Coalition's other "achievements" in the past year.
It comically cited the xoalition's 21 percent approval rating, harassment complaints between its own members, preventing equal access to higher ed, reducing middle-class wages, blocking women's access to reproductive services, and blocking gun control legislation among many (17, to be exact) other things.
We've got a call in to the Majority Coalition Caucus for a response.