At his first press conference as governor yesterday, Jay Inslee talked about taxes, gun control, the Reproductive Parity Act, and finally, the controversial coal train proposal (we've been disappointed that he's left that issue hanging.)
Here's what he said:
1. On taxes—specifically, extending the B&O tax surcharge and the hospital bed taxes that former Gov. Gregoire proposed:
I favor a good budget ... that will be balanced. That will move forward to the extent humanly possible on school funding and will not increase taxes as much as humanly possible...
I don't want to foreclose the possibility of those [extending taxes] being on the table for discussion. I'm not proposing that right now.
2. On gun control and gun safety, Inslee did not come out for closing the gun show loophole, but said this:
I have always believed that it was common sense to have meaningful ways to determine that we're not selling guns to felons. That's what I believe. And finding a way to actually do that. I also believe it's not common sense to allow people to buy weapons that can hold 100 rounds. No one can articulate a justifiable reason that anyone actually needs that for hunting or protection of your home. I have believed that since 1994. That was my position then and that's my position now. [Inslee famously voted for the assault weapons ban as a U.S. Rep. from Yakima—and was voted out of office.]
3. On the Reproductive Parity Act:
This is easily solvable. If my Republican friends don't want to talk about it, they can send me the bill. I will sign it. It will be resolved, and we can move past it. This is a health issue, this is an issue about both the health of the women of the state of Washington and the privacy and liberty interests of the state of Washington. Both of those need to be respected.
The need is to make a very clear guarantee to women that that is the case. An assurance, a confidence statement for future decades, this is a debate that should be behind us.
4. And on the coal train proposal:
I will be fully evaluating that question. We will do that right thing after talking to a lot of folks scientifically and legally. I will try to obtain a clear and certain answer to that question.
And pushed by a reporter: "You’re the climate governor. Is it hypocritical to let coal go to China when your big thing is carbon emissions and clean air?"
I wouldn’t look at this as a "who is hypocritical or not." We all face a common destiny and a common challenge. It is a common problem, common destiny, common love for our children. We're all going to experience health outcomes if we do not fix this problem.
Whatever we do, we are not going to stop using fossil fuels today, this year, this decade. It’s an important part of our economy and lives. I believe our state is unmatched anywhere in the world in the ability to develop solutions to this problem. We have the best engineers, machinists, entrepreneurial climate. and we've got a not so bad governor on this subject.