1. Business consultant Albert Shen, who's running against Seattle City Council liberal Mike O'Brien, hasn't reported any contributions yet, just some initial filing papers on his early expenditures (such as $2,700 on a campaign website).
However, Fizz hears Shen has raised $40,000 in the past two weeks since announcing.
Shen, who consults on major infrastructure projects (his firm has worked with the Port of Seattle on the third SeaTac runway), has been on the board of several local Asian civic boards including the Northwest Asian American Theatre and the Seattle Chinatown–International District Preservation and Development Authority; he also once ran the the Seattle Asian American Film Festival.
O'Brien, the council's premier urban environmentalist (Sightline Director Alan Durning and Program Director Clark Williams-Derry have both contributed to him), has reported raising about $20,000, with more than half of it coming in small (mostly $10) contributions. In addition to being a green, O'Brien champions campaign finance reform and raised his first $10,000 in small contributions.
2. Two weeks ago, Fizz noted that the state house passed a tax break ... in a good way.
The break requires companies to pay the state back if they end up moving jobs out of state.
Why were we excited about the break?
Because: for the first time ever, a tax break (an estimated $2 million per biennium exemption for wood pulp companies that use wood production waste as fuel) came with some accountability. It required companies to pay the state back if they ended up failing and moving jobs out of state.
This weekend the Olympian reported that the Republican-dominated state senate is skeptical of the accountability provision.
However, Rep. Reuven Carlyle (D-36, Queen Anne), the house finance committee chair who championed the accountability provision, told the Olympian he's not backing down. Carlyle kicked off phase two of this year's session in Olympia, the negotiations over a budget deal (which will likely hinge on fights over tax breaks), with a quite a quote. The Olympian reports:
“If that provision comes out, the bill goes down to a violent and ugly death and the tax exemption goes away,” he said bluntly. “It expires. It is not worth that game. I’m not playing fiddlesticks with this.”
3. Speaking of tax breaks, Gov. Jay Inslee has said he'll be releasing a list of breaks this week that the legislature should do away with to help deal with the $1.3 billion to $1.6 billion (and likely more after this week's revenue forecast) budget shortfall along with the estimated $1.4 billion extra needed to meet the K-12 funding mandate from the state Supreme Court.
Inslee's spokeswoman Jaime Smith tell PubliCola Inslee's list will be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Tax breaks are easier to close than before—it only takes a simple majority as opposed to a two-thirds vote—now that the Supreme Court has declared the voter-approved two-thirds requirement unconstitutional.