1. At the monthly Civic Cocktail sponsored by CityClub, Crosscut, and the Seattle Channel last night, host Brian Callanan polled the audience: If the mayor's race were held today, who would they vote for?
Scoff all you want that the Civic Cocktail audience is an elitist, bourgeois set that doesn't reflect the electorate, but consider: at the last Civic Cocktail, Callanan asked how important the Sonics deal was for people ... and you could hear crickets. Well, did you happen to catch the results of yesterday's Elway Poll ? It turns out, most people "didn't care" whether the Sonics came back or not.
So, last night's prescient poll on the mayor's race: Ed Murray 5, Mike McGinn 4, Peter Steinbrueck 3, Bruce Harrell 0. Undecided: The other 100 people in the room.
2. On the panel at the event last night, state Sen. Rodney Tom (D-48, Medina), the leader of the Republican-dominated Majority Coalition Caucus, which is currently locked in a battle with the house Democrats over the state budget.
Tom hinted that the legislature wasn't about to go into a second special session (the current special session ends next week). "We're not as far apart as people think we are," he said. "All we need is one break ... to come to agreement on one thing and suddenly all the other pieces fall into place."
He said the talk of a government shutdown (Democrats, including the governor, have warned that without a budget deal before July 1, the government will go off a fiscal cliff) was "nonsense." He said it "wasn't remotely on the radar" and that it would be "mutually assured destruction" for both parties. "That is not a pathway you'll see us go."
Well, what about the latest Democratic offer, which took the B&O taxes off the table, an audience member asked.
Tom rejected it: "Why would I vote for investing $700 million in K-12 with new taxes" (the Democratic offer includes getting rid of seven tax loopholes for $255.6 million dollars and reestablishing the voter-approved estate tax) "when I could vote for $1 billion in education and no new taxes," he said referring to the MCC offer.
Unfortunately, Tom wasn't challenged on the fact that the MCC budget comes with about $500 million in "fantastical gimmicks" according to the Democrats, including leaving federally mandated programs unfunded.
3. Speaking of the Demcorats' offer, lobbyists are already coming on full-force against ending tax loopholes (the Democrats have pared down the list of exemptions they want to end from 15 (worth about $500 million) to seven worth $255.6 million.
Even business lobbyists who won't get hit with the taxes are complaining. A lobbyist for the Washington State Auto Dealers Association, for example, sent out an email blast to lawmakers yesterday afternoon shortly after the Democrats announced their plan, objecting to the Democrats' plan to get rid of the exemption for out-of-state shoppers even though their car sales would still be exempt.
The Washington State Auto Dealers Association (WSADA) opposes section 109 of SHB 2034, which imposes sales tax on out-of-state buyers.
To be clear, the bill would not impose a sales tax on out-of-state customers who buy cars. However, it would create confusion and make it very difficult for auto dealers to convince out-of state customers that even though they would have to pay sales tax on everything else, they would not have to pay sales tax on one of the biggest purchases they make in their lives.
Auto dealerships, especially those in border communities like Vancouver, Longview, the Tri-Cities, and Walla Walla depend on out-of-state customers for sales. ...
As you consider how to balance the budget, auto dealers-especially in border communities-ask you not to take away an important tool to keep our WA dealerships competitive. WSADA requests that you not impose sales tax on non-resident customers of WA businesses.
4. Erica will be on KUOW's "The Conversation" with Ross Reynolds today to talk about the bike master plan. Tune in KUOW 94.9 FM at Noon.