Morning Fizz

Morning Fizz: Reframe the Debate in Dramatic Ways

Caffeinated News & Gossip featuring: marriage licenses, parks funding, and new committee chairs.

By Morning Fizz December 7, 2012

1. As we've already reported: The Democrats are breaking up the house Ways and Means Committee into two committees—the Appropriations Committee and the Finance Committee—an indication that there could be a renewed focus on revenue, and especially, in light of the McCleary decision: on new revenue for K-12 schools.

While former Ways and Means chair Rep. Ross Hunter (D-48, Medina) is slated to head up Appropriations (what to spend money on), the head of Finance (where to get the money) hasn't been named yet.

Carlyle would reframe the budget debate in dramatic ways. Fizz hears it may be Seattle area Rep. Reuven Carlyle (D-36, Queen Anne). 

Carlyle's insistent call to sunset tax loopholes and his sharp critique of the inequity in the current tax system (in which urban counties subsidize rural counties), indicates that he would reframe the budget debate in dramatic ways. 

Carlyle wouldn't comment on the rumor that he's going to get the job.

The Democratic caucus is likely to vote on it today.

2. In gay marriage news: King County issued 489 marriage licenses yesterday, the first day that gay marriage was legal.

Department of Licensing spokesman Cameron Satterfield reports that there were also some straight couples in line  (so we're still trying to get an exact number), but suffice it say, close to 500 gay couples got marriage licenses yesterday. 

3. As long as people are already speculating about about Hillary 2016, we might as well look at a potential item on the 2014 ballot: The Pro Parks Levy, which pays for Seattle parks.

At issue: Should the city go to the voters for another levy, or should they create a metropolitan park district run by an independent board of commissioners that would focus primarily on maintenance, not new parks? 

The last levy, which passed in 2008, was controversial because it focused on park acquisition and creation, rather than maintenance and operations, leaving the city saddled with parks it can ill afford to maintain.

Mayor Mike McGinn chaired that campaign. Although he defended supporting the levy, his parks department director resigned because, in his words, the lack of maintenance funding had left the parks system "unsustainable and in jeopardy of collapse." 

McGinn told PubliCola yesterday: “I support a renewal of the parks levy [with] an emphasis on taking care of our existing parks, on more community center hours, and on more programming."

However, he added, "We will also need to have some level of funding to take advantage of unique acquisition opportunities that might arise, as well as an opportunity fund for neighborhood driven initiatives."


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