Last Night

Last Night

By Josh Feit June 17, 2010

Last night, actually two nights ago, I moderated a panel starring Bill Gates, Sr. and State Sens. Eric Oemig (D-45, Bellevue), Claudia Kauffman (D-47, Southeast King County), and Joe McDermott (D-34, W. Seattle).

It was kind of a hodgepodge, with each panelist talking about his or her own pet project—Gates on the high-earners income tax; Oemig on campaign finance reform and his battle to repeal a corporate tax break for a Centralia coal plant (and major greenhouse gas polluter) owned by TransAlta; Kauffman on early learning; and McDermott on reforming the state's initiative process.

I did find a common thread, though, at least for the three Democratic state senators. All of their major efforts got gunned down, either this session or last.

The assassin in two instances was Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire. The culprit in the third instance wasn't Gregoire, but it was a fellow Democrat.

Gregoire won't get behind Sen. Oemig's effort to repeal the TransAlta tax break—which passed the Senate—because she's currently in negotiations with TransAlta to get them to phase out their reliance on coal by 2025, and she wants to hold on to the tax break as a bargaining chip. (The tradeoff and the wait don't seem worth it to environmentalists.)

Meanwhile, Gregoire line-item vetoed the part of last year's education reform bill that expanded the definition of basic education to include early learning. (Gregoire didn't like it because it only focused on "at risk" kids and not all kids.)

Meanwhile, McDermott  legislation to make signature gatherers register with the state passed the Senate, but got roughed up in the House, reportedly by state Rep. Mark Milocia (D-30).

Last night's theme: The biggest obstacle to the Democratic agenda? Democrats.
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