Morning Fizz

Predicting the Future

By Morning Fizz February 3, 2010

1. Yesterday afternoon, after the state Senate Democrats introduced legislation to suspend voter-approved I-960 (the Tim Eyman initiative that says tax increases need a two-thirds vote of the legislature), we called Eyman to get his reaction.  (Amazingly, media happy Eyman had not sent out a press release yet ... although, he did issue one a few hours later.)

Eyman told us he was "galled."

Not only were the Democrats proposing to suspend the two thirds requirement, he said, but they were doing away with the "transparency requirements." (The legislation requires a six-year forecast on a tax's fiscal impact instead of 960's 10-year forecast, and it does away with 960's provision that the public be given notice when a tax bill is introduced.)

This morning we hand the microphone to the Democrats, who say Eyman's spin is wrong.

"The bill ... preserves the transparency requirements of I-960, and actually makes them better," says Jeff Reading, spokesman for the Senate Democrats, explaining that 960's requirement of providing a 10-year-out analysis of a tax bill's impact is "unreliable guesswork" that undermines transparency because it's iffy info. Requiring a six-year forecast from the state budget office, Reading says, is more meaningful for the public because it's a "much more accurate gauge."

As for the notice provision, Reading says 25 percent of bills don't even get hearings and notice should be reserved—as the new legislation requires—for viable proposals.  "It isn’t an effective use of resources to send public notices when a fiscal bill is simply introduced," Reading says, explaining that reserving notice for viable bills (ones that have hearings) "gives the public a more accurate picture of bills that actually have a chance at making it through the process."

“Transparency is a good thing," Reading concludes. "And where predicting the future is involved, transparency plus accuracy is a better thing.”

And the Democrats were not done responding. In our post, Eyman had also taken a special dig at Democratic Sen. Majority Leader Lisa Brown (D-3).

So, the Dems sent us video of Sen. Brown explaining why she thought this year's proposal to suspend 960 was a good idea.
"We're in a very difficult  budget situation and to have to get a two thirds vote to even transfer money from one account to another or close a tax loophole, we believe just puts an unfair limitation on the process in a situation where we have a short time to solve a big problem. And we want to be able to have a simple majority to respond quickly and effectively."

Sen. Brown's comments on I-960 start about 50 seconds in. Watch it.


2. The Last Campaign of Booth Gardner, a documentary about former Washington Governor Booth Gardner's 2008 campaign to pass I-1000, Washington's Death with Dignity law, was nominated for an Oscar in the "Documentary Short" category.

The movie wad directed by Denver-based filmmaker Daniel Junge and produced by Just Media's Henry Ansbacher.

3. As we reported in Morning Fizz on Tuesday, the Army Corps of Engineers could contribute funding to replace the waterfront seawall. (Mayor Mike McGinn, who is proposing a $241 million ballot measure to pay for seawall replacement, previously said that the "odds of getting money" from the Corps were "low.")

Late last year, US Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) secured $462,000 in funding "to investigate and document damages to the infrastructure of the 75-year-old Elliot Bay Seawall." The end result of the study, according to a 2006 Corps report, will be "a recommendation to Congress regarding whether an Alaskan Way Seawall project should be authorized under the Corps' storm damage reduction authority and, if so, how much of the cost of the seawall rehabilitation effort could be supported by the Corps.”

Seattle Department of Transportation spokesman Rick Sheridan says the study is still underway.

Today's Morning Fizz is brought to you by Vote Yes on Seattle School Levies

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