Morning Fizz

With Fundraising Prowess

By Morning Fizz January 16, 2012

Caffeinated news and gossip. Your daily Morning Fizz.

1. Fizz hears that the Downtown Seattle Association---the business group for downtown Seattle---is reluctantly opposing a proposal by Gov. Chris Gregoire to "streamline" business and occupation (B&O) taxes at the state level because it could take tax revenue (up to $43 million) from the city.

Seattle Rep. Reuven Carlyle  (D-36, Queen Anne, Ballard) is sponsoring the bill in the house, he tells PubliCola, because he likes the idea of streamlining the B&O for businesses. However, recognizing that "the proposal is aggressive and threatens the integrity of cities control of their taxing authority," Carlyle says he has "a deep sense of reluctance about" the bill.

"Instead of being passive about it," he says, "I sponsored it to keep control of it and keep the cities in charge of the policy and process with ... Seattle's interests front and center. That's why the city of Seattle asked me to do this." [pullquote]"That's why the city of Seattle asked me to do this."—State Rep. Reuven Carlyle[/pullquote]

And as we noted on Friday, the senate sponsor of the B&O bill is state Sen. Steve Hobbs (D-44, Lake Stevens), which is funny because Hobbs is running for US Congress in the new 1st Congressional District. Also running in that district: State Department of Revenue Director Suzan DelBene. DelBene is the point person promoting the bill on the executive side (the legislation was requested by the governor's request legislation).

We certainly get that both Hobbs and DelBene want to be seen as pro-business by streamlining the tax, but the bill, which would authorize the state to manage the B&O program for cities, could backfire on them. Cities that don't currently levy B&O taxes (only 39 of 207 cities currently do) may like the idea of the state running the program for them and could decided to start levying the tax.

2. Speaking of the 1st Congressional District: Fizz hears Republican party bigwigs approached moderate state Sen. Andy Hill (R-45, Redmond) about running for US Congress in the new 1st Congressional District, but Hill reportedly said no.

As we mentioned last week, we've heard that the GOP establishment is not 100 percent satisfied with John Koster, currently the main Republican running for the open seat, as the best fit for the swing district.

The Snohomish County Council member is a hardline conservative; he lost a run for Congress in 2010 against US Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA, 2) in 2010.

3. And speaking of Rep. Carlyle: Watch for Carlyle to file a bill this week to abolish the death penalty in Washington State.

Seattle-area state Sen. Ed Murray (D-43, Capitol Hill) has sponsored an anti-death penalty bill in the past, but it hasn't gotten far.[pullquote]State Rep. Hasegawa should have the inside track on the open state senate seat in his district, but...[/pullquote]

4. State Rep. Hasegawa (D-11, S. Seattle) should have the inside track on the open state senate seat in his district (state Sen. Margarita Prentice is retiring), but newcomer Bobby Virk  has proven to Democratic insiders that he's a formidable fundraiser. The Democrats, we hear, are enticed by the idea of having someone from a safe Democratic district like Virk in their caucus with fundraising prowess who can raise money for everybody else.

Virk, a Punjabi Indian with an immigrant's success story (from pizza delivery to orthodontist) also has a lock on  South Seattle's Sikh community.

5. A group of organizations that provide outdoor meals to the homeless met Friday night to discuss a proposal by the city's Human Services Department to shut down the city's only outdoor meal site.

At issue was the fact that the proposal would shift the responsibility for serving the more than 150,000 meals that are currently served outdoors onto the city's existing indoor meal providers, which would not be given any additional funding---a burden meal providers say they can't afford.
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