Morning Fizz

"If I Get Sick"

By Morning Fizz March 18, 2011

1. While state  budget leaders Sen. Ed Murray (D-43), the senate ways and means chair, Sen. Joe Zarelli (R-18), the ranking Republican on Murray's committee, and Rep. Ross Hunter (D-48) the house ways and means chair, were all cordial with one another, even playful (Murray joked that he'd be happy to hand the whole thing over to Hunter), the fourth member at yesterday's revenue forecast meeting, Rep. Ed Orcutt (R-18), the assistant ranking Republican on the ways and means committee, was downright grouchy. At one point, he even picked a fight with the Democrats; this just moments after Murray and Zarelli joked about having to work together.

Fizz talked to Orcutt afterward, and noting the credible push for bipartisanship on the senate side, we asked him about his relationship with Hunter and the house Democrats. Were they going to work together? Orcutt told us we'd have to ask Rep. Gary Alexander (R-20), the top Republican on Hunter's committee.

That seems like a bad sign. Earlier this session, Alexander refused to sign the emergency supplemental budget in protest. Murray, Zarelli, and Hunter all signed.

To read all our coverage of yesterday's budget news about the latest revenue shortfall, start here with our report on Gov. Chris Gregoire's press conference.

2. Speaking of Gregoire's press conference, we forgot to report on her most dramatic remarks, which had nothing to do with the budget. First, she told everyone to stop freaking out about radiation—the Washington State Department of Health has stepped up its monitoring and the levels are the same today as they've been for weeks, she said. And for crying out loud, "do not take potassium iodide. It is not needed and can cause side effects," she said.

Also: At the end of the press conference, she was asked if she planned to retire. "Me? Retire?" she said, raising her voice and kinda lunging forward, top-hat-and-tails "Ta-da!" style. "That is not what I'm thinking about right now."

3. Stephanie Pure, spokeswoman for American Institute for Architects Seattle, has written an excellent post over on Dan Bertolet's brand new urbanist blog.

Pure busts out of rah-rah-cities-are-groovy mode, challenges readers assumptions (Seattle's persecution complex), candidly identifies a political problem, and issues a do-something-about-it challenge: "Instead of apologizing for our funding needs, we should be boosters for them."

4. About 1500 protesters showed up in Olympia yesterday for a "Revenue Rally" demanding that taxes—or more specifically, ending tax exemptions for things like big banks (currently benefiting from a mortgage loan loophole) be part of the budget equation.

If legislators don't end any tax exemptions—liberals such as Rep. Eileen Cody (D-34) and Sen. Maralyn Chase (D-32) sponsored bills to that end, but to no avail—the protesters said they would go with a statewide initiative to do so.

An all cuts budget, they argued, would just compound the financial crisis.

Edie Koch, who was rallying with members of the Puget Sound Alliance for Retired Americans, told PubliCola she is at risk of being kicked off the state's Basic Health Plan. "If I get sick," she says, "I end up at Harborview where they can't refuse me medical attention." Forcing more uninsured people to use emergency rooms would cost much more in the long run, she said,  than simply paying for basic health insurance.

Koch added that adult day health care services and home care services were also at risk and would add additional costs to the state if legislators cut them permanently.
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