Caffeinated News and Gossip

1. Democrats may be hating on yesterday's Republican budget proposal, but there's certainly a goody in there for Democratic leader Sen. Ed Murray (D-43, Capitol Hill), whose "Footloose" bill to get rid of a tax on venues where there's a cover charge and "an opportunity to dance"—like at the Century Ballroom and the Tractor Tavern—made it into the Republican plan.

Consider this an instance where the GOP's anti-tax fervor and Sen. Murray's interests aligned; Murray is running for mayor of Seattle, where the nightlife industry has rallied against the obscure tax. 

The state would lose about $892,000 this biennium, according to the fiscal note, if the tax was repealed.

Consider this an instance where the GOP's anti-tax fervor and Sen. Murray's interests aligned.

2. The Republican budget rollout wasn't the only item on the agenda in Olympia yesterday. Cities from around the state, including Seattle, sent contingents to the capitol in a lobbying onslaught to support giving local governments the option to raise taxes to fund transit. Fizz spotted Seattle city council members Sally Clark and Mike O'Brien and King County Council members Rod Dembowski and Larry Phillips making the rounds.

We also caught up with some of the pro-transit lobbying troops at the end of the day to find out how it had gone. The reactions were split. Word was both (from folks who had met with Republican transportation chair, Sen. Curtis King) that the idea of providing local options was very much alive now and (from folks who had met with senate leader Sen. Rodney Tom) that it would have to be "embedded" in a larger tax package that would have to go to a statewide vote—which doesn't seem likely this session.

Here are the politics: Conservatives who are interested in a major roads package don't want places like King County to be able to fund their own projects because they believe that if King County isn't relying on a statewide package for its transit needs, voters there won't be willing to put major tax package over the top at the polls. So they are "starving" King County.

Of course, the irony is that the tax-phobic conservatives are also blocking a major statewide transportation package.

The other irony: conservatives are supposed to be for local control.

The joke in Olympia right now is that Washington state Republicans "didn't get the memo."

3. The joke in Olympia right now is that Washington state Republicans "didn't get the memo" (there's an actual 100-page memo) that the Grand Old Party—emphasis on old—needs to catch up with the changing times and changing voter demographics—and support things like the DREAM Act, which would allow kids of undocumented immigrants to get state financial aid.

The GOP blocked both the local DREAM Act and a voting rights bill to help Latinos and other minority communities have equal representation at the polls this session.

Hoping to embarrass Washington state Republicans, savvy immigrants rights groups have begun including a Republican National Committee hashtag, (the RNC wrote the now-famous memo) in tweets about their frustration with the local party.

Republican leaders, such as state senate higher education chair Sen. Barbara Bailey (R-10, Oak Harbor), say they don't support the DREAM Act bill because there's not enough money to expand the program, arguing that they can't even fund state aid for the 30,000-plus kids who are already entitled to the aid.

Yesterday, when the Republicans announced at their budget proposal rollout that they'd added $20 million to the financial aid program (the State Need Grant) to help 4,600 extra students, reporters asked if that would put the DREAM Act back on the table. Republican budget leader Sen. Andy Hill (R-45, Redmond) said the new money was only to help students who were already eligible.

4. NBA.com has an in depth report from yesterday's NBA relocation committee meeting—contingents from both Seattle (including King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn) and Sacramento made their pitches to land the Sacramento Kings.

5. A 32-year employee of Seattle City Light was fined $500 by the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission yesterday for using her city computer and telephone to help her daughter, an Avon lady, sell beauty products.

According to the settlement agreement, the employee sent or received more than 1,800 emails between April 2011 and February 2013 that included the word "Avon." The city could have fined the employee as much as $5,000. 

6. Several new faces have entered city races in the past month.

By position, they include: Socialist Mary Martin, who's running against Mayor Mike McGinn; Shane Mcomber, who didn't respond to our email, who's opposing council member Sally Bagshaw; and Edwin Fruit, another socialist candidate who's running against council member Nick Licata.

The new additions mean every candidate running for reelection this year, with the exception of City Attorney Pete Holmes, has at least one challenger, although so far, the only candidate with a list of credible challengers—lots of them—is McGinn. 

7. Correction: Yesterday's On Other Blogs Today roundup identified Rep. Mike Sells (D-38, Everett) as a Republican. We regret the error and have corrected it.

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