Morning Fizz


By Morning Fizz September 26, 2012

Caffeinated News & Gossip. Your daily Morning Fizz.

 1. A bit more of a Jolt than a Fizz item: King County Council member and Republican attorney general candidate Reagan Dunn, trailing his rival, Democrat Bob Ferguson, in the polls, poured $100,000 of his own money into his campaign yesterday.

Ferguson, in contrast, has not yet put any of his own money into his race.

The candidates have been running about even in fundraising, each raising a little more than $1 million so far.

2. We reported on the debate over the merits of Tim Eyman's two-thirds rule from yesterday's Supreme Court hearing, but most of the proceeding actually dealt with whether the case had "justiciability" (a fancy term that means it's appropriate for the court to hear the case.)

Justiciability is determined by a list of factors, including timeliness, relevance, and—what the two sides were scrapping over yesterday—standing. The Attorney General's office, defending the two-thirds rule, argued that the Democratic legislators who brought the case to overturn the rule didn't have standing to do so.[pullquote]Justice Debra Stephens appeared dumbstruck at the AG's argument, leaning forward and saying point blank: "You're losing me there, I just don't follow that at all."[/pullquote]

What would give them standing?, Justice Steven Gonzalez asked AG counsel Maureen Hart. She said the legislators would only have standing if they passed a tax by a simple majority (in violation of the current law) and the new tax ended up in court.

Essentially, to the court's apparent disbelief, the AG was suggesting that the only way to test the two-thirds rule in court was to illegally pass a tax, have the governor sign off on  it (the governor's lawyer argued in court yesterday that the governor would do no such thing because it would violate her oath of office), and start taxing the public.

Justice Debra Stephens appeared dumbstruck at the AG's argument, leaning forward and saying point blank: "You're losing me there, I just don't follow that at all."

The legislators maintain that they have standing because the two-thirds rule robs them of their ability to do their constitutionally mandated job by diluting the votes they cast on behalf of their constituents.

Justice Charlie Wiggins made this very point, asking Hart if his representative's vote for raising taxes didn't count as much as a representative from the minority bloc's vote against raising taxes.

Hart responded that legislators could still perform their duty and vote.

3. Revenue from parking fines and other court fines this year is now projected at around $4 million less than originally projected, according to city budget documents.

Initially, the city had estimated it would bring in $36,080,000 in court fines; now, it projects it will only receive $32.3 million in fines---a reduction of around $3.8 million.

Those revenues are supposed to increase slightly over the next two years (going up to a total of $34.7 million in 2014), thanks in part, the mayor's office says, to eight new parking enforcement officers included in Mayor Mike McGinn's proposed 2013-2014 budget.

4. The mayor's budget also includes a 180-stall new parking lot at the Woodland Park Zoo, at a cost of about $2 million. The mayor's office has not yet responded to a request for more information about why McGinn felt a new surface parking facility was necessary.
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