1. The magazine has published a list of the most influential people in Seattle, mostly arts and culture types.
Fizz got in on the Met listmaking too, and you'll find some political movers on there—people you're probably very familiar with such as Real Change Director Timothy Harris, state Sen. Ed Murray, and ACLU Drug Policy Director Alison Holcomb.
But there are some insiders that you may not know about (yet) too, who are big deals behind the scenes, such Seattle Department of Transportation Director Peter Hahn and Seattle's lead lobbyist down in Olympia, Craig Engelking.
There's a also a Republican on the list: Sen. Steve Litzow, the pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, green Republican from Seattle's burbs who's currently chairing the state senate education committee.
Litzow apparently got the memo on how to revive the GOP long before the Republican National Committee released its blunt 100-page assessment yesterday telling the Republicans to join the rest of us here in the 21st c5entury.
2. Also on our list, the new chair of the state house finance committee, Rep. Reuven Carlyle (D-36, Queen Anne).
Perfect timing. We put Rep. Carlyle on the list because—after years of agitating from the back bench for tax policy reform, specifically demanding metrics to assess the some 600 tax breaks on the books—he now chairs the committee that reviews tax breaks.
Tax breaks are front-and-center this year because the recent Washington State Supreme Court decision overturning the two-thirds rule for raising taxes made it easier to repeal them.
With the budget shortfall likely to jump to $1.6 billion (the latest revenue forecast hits tomorrow) along with a court mandate to add about $1.4 billion to K-12 funding—and Gov. Jay Inslee getting set to recommend hundreds of millions in new revenue by closing tax breaks—Carlyle's role is pivotal.
Carlyle's scrutiny of tax preferences (as breaks are referred to formally) began in earnest yesterday at his house finance committee meeting where the Joint Legislative Audit Review Committee (JLARC) presented its latest report on tax preferences. They reviewied 23 preferences and recommended continuing 10 (worth $1.9 billion), terminating one (worth $0 ... because no one is using it), and reviewing and clarifying 12 (worth $223 million).
Since 2007, JLARC has recommended terminating 7 preferences (worth $98 million), allowing 12 to expire (worth $63 million), reviewing and clarifying 40 preferences (worth $1.6 billion) and continuing 99 (worth $54.7 billion).
The legislature is lax when it comes to coming up with metrics at the outset to eventually determine if tax preferences are working or not.
To read JLARC's latest report (or to download the power point) go here.
The biggest thing Fizz gets from all this is: the legislature is lax when it comes to coming up with metrics at the outset to eventually determine if tax preferences are working or not. At yesterday's meeting, Carlyle steered the conversation right to that critique:
Indeed, JLARC deputy John Woolley summed it up best when, being pushed to determine if a tax break for stevedores was actually creating jobs, he said: "These questions have not been asked very much in the past."
3. Metro announced yesterday that Metro's RapidRide proposed E and F lines—from downtown to Shoreline and from downtown Burien respectively, initially scheduled to open in September 2013, will now open in February 2014.
“We learned clear lessons after the rocky launch for the C and D lines last year and are taking ... steps so things go smoother for our customers with these lines,” Metro general manager Kevin Desmond said.
Metro says construction is needed on over 100 bus stops and stations before they can open the E and F lines.
4. Don't miss our latest mayoral candidate Q&A.
Late yesterday, we posted the transcript of our sit-down with Seattle City Council member and mayoral hopeful Tim Burgess.