Morning Fizz

Allowing the Same Dollar to Potentially be Booked Twice

By Josh Feit March 22, 2012

Caffeinated News & Gossip. Your daily Morning Fizz

1. Jordan Schrader at the Tacoma News Tribune has the story: Gov. Chris Gregoire has put a proposal on the table to solve the $200 million standoff between the Republicans, who don't like the Democrats' fix of delaying a $330 million local schools payment by a day, and the Democrats, who don't like the Republican fix of skipping a $130 million pension payment.

Schrader explains:
Gov. Chris Gregoire has put forward a third, previously undisclosed, alternative with support from fellow Democrat McIntire. While legislative leaders have yet to publicly embrace it, no one is rejecting it, either, Senate budget chairman Ed Murray, D-Seattle said.

As described by McIntire's office and others, the proposal would keep sales-tax revenue collected on behalf of local governments in the state's general fund longer. That could free up $238 million for spending elsewhere.


Local governments would get their money at the same time they do now ... Several local governments and their lobbying associations say they're fine with the idea the way it's being described.

Here's how the distribution works now: A day after sales-tax collections land in the general fund, local governments' share is transferred to a special account. But it's not distributed to the cities, counties, mass-transit agencies and others until the end of each month.

The proposal would keep the money in the general fund until the end of the month, transferring it into the other account just before it needs to be sent out to local governments.

Jason Mercier, a blogger for conservative think tank the Washington Policy Center, is skeptical:

"At first glance this looks like an interest free loan from local government for state spending allowing the same dollar to potentially be booked twice."

2. Add another name to the pile up in the race to fill retiring state Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson's (D-36, Ballard) seat. King County Council member Larry Phillips' son Brett Phillips announced this morning that he's in.[pullquote]Add another name to the pile up in the race to fill retiring state Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson's (D-36, Ballard) seat[/pullquote].

Hyping his environmental work as the Sustainability Director at local real estate firm Unico Properties—named 2011's Green Business of the Year by Seattle Business Magazine—and as a  board member of the King County Conservation Voters, Phillips' statement said he would bring a "commitment to environmental protection and development of clean energy technologies."

He also noted education funding, women's rights, and revenue solutions to the state's budget problems "so we can stop pitting education against human services" in his Democratic Party grab bag statement.

Flagging women's rights also flags a problem for Phillips in this race to replace Mary Lou Dickerson, though. The contest already has three women in the mix with impressive resumes: Seattle Port Commissioner Gael Tarleton (who announced last week); Washington State Progressive Majority Director and Washington Bus board member Noel Frame (who announced on Tuesday), and Seattle City Council member Mike O'Brien aide Sahar Fathi (who announced yesterday).

A fifth candidate, Phinney Ridge resident and fundraiser Nick Cail, also declared last week.

3. The city council's Economic Resiliency and Regional Relations Committee (Errr?) has directed the city's Office of Economic Development to figure out a way to streamline the city's Byzantine system of restaurant permitting.

Currently, anyone who wants to start a restaurant must run through a series of often-overlapping, sometimes redundant regulatory hoops, to the extent that even if an aspiring restaurateur has the money, has the lease, and is ready to open a restaurant tomorrow, it routinely takes six months or longer for them to navigate the regulatory "map."

The goal, committee chair Sally Clark says, is to come up with a list of steps in the process that can be streamlined or eliminated and act on it by August, before the council dives into the 2012 budget.
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