This Washington

Gregoire's State of the State Speech

By Josh Feit January 11, 2011

After a month of sweeping announcements—no more automatic pension increases, a consolidated department of education, devolving ferry funding to local districts, scaling back unemployment insurance—Governor Chris Gregoire offered no new proposals in her state of the state speech today.

In a speech that reflected on Boeing's emergence during the Great Depression, Microsoft's emergence out of the doldrums of the "Last one to leave Seattle..." 1970s, and even the underdog Seattle Sea Hawks, Gregoire hit the theme of opportunity out of adversity, reiterating all those proposals today:
Like the boldness of the 1935 Legislature in the midst of the Great Depression, we can set a path for success in our state. We can take a page from those who lived during the Great Depression. Like them we accept the challenge. We are ready to do the hard work and make the tough decisions. We will remain hopeful and optimistic. We will be bold and set a course for a better tomorrow for the State of Washington.

Gregoire did roll out a pitch for more direct user fees, questioning things like "a Bellingham family with young kids helping pay for the license of an adult family home in Vancouver" and  "a small business owner in Spokane pay[ing] the cost of processing a water right for a landowner in the Yakima Valley" and suggesting that "those who use the parks pay for their operation and maintenance."

She concluded: "Let’s adopt a user-pays policy so that when only a few benefit from the service, they pay for it."

Gregoire did not broach the idea of new revenue, nor did she mention the current buzz among Democrats about going after corporate tax loopholes.

Off to the GOP response...
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