1. The Association of Washington Business, the state's business lobby, emailed an assessment of this year's legislative session out to its membership this week shortly after the legislature finally wrapped things up over the weekend.
Here are some highlights from AWB's summary:
They were disappointed the legislature didn't pass the transportation funding package:
• Lawmakers adjourned the second special session Saturday and went home without taking action on a proposed $10 billion transportation package. The failure comes as a disappointment to business leaders who had been calling for increased spending on the state’s transportation infrastructure.
They were disappointed the legislature didn't pass business-friendly changes to workers' comp rules:
• A bipartisan Senate push to reform workers’ compensation crashed against strong union-led opposition in the Democrat-controlled House. This is a missed opportunity for “needed reforms,” The Spokesman-Review writes and it could cost employers hundreds of millions in higher workers’ comp taxes over the coming decade.
They were glad that the Democratic attempt to close tax loopholes and extend the B&O tax surcharge flopped:
•A bipartisan conservative majority in the Senate held the line against early calls by the governor and Democratic House to increase taxes by more than $1 billion.
They were happy about one Democratic success, though—Sen. Ed Murray's win exempting Seattle clubs from the "dance tax."
• Although Democrats had pushed to eliminate so-called tax loopholes, several Democratic lawmakers pushed for new tax breaks to benefit their constituents, including a sales tax exemption for ... dance clubs (that proviso was requested by Senate Minority Leader Ed Murray, D-Seattle, a candidate for mayor, noting that the “nightlife dance industry” is important to his Seattle district).
They conclude: "AWB will now begin the process of compiling its annual legislative review and vote record, which offers an in-depth look at how lawmakers voted on key bills, specific legislation by issue area and an analysis of the entire 153-day session. Watch for our special edition of 'Washington Business' magazine later this summer.
We'll stay tuned to see if AWB actually takes notice that it was Republican members, the one's the AWB backs over Democrats at election time, are the ones who sabotaged the transportation package, and begins to connect the dots.
2. KIRO radio's award-winning movie critic Tom Tangney is intrigued by the Mayoral Movies film fest we're putting on at Northwest Film Forum, analyzing all the candidates' picks.
I love this. It gets the politicians out of their comfort zone and talking points. When you get down to something like movie tastes, you might get a little insight into what really makes them tick. Something that breaks through the typical political cant, political rhetoric they normally give you.
Tangney begins his lengthy write up with his take on the opening night show, Mayor Mike McGinn's pick, To Kill a Mockingbird:
"I think it's a good and bad choice," Tangney says. "It's everything that we want in a film and our heroes. It's a great movie, but it's a little on the safe side because I don't know anybody that will criticize that one."
He goes on to dissect Peter Steinbrueck's "most surprising selection," (Buddy, The Rise and Fall of America's Most Notorious Mayor); Bruce Harrell's "dark" and "brutal" selection (Papillon); Ed Murray's "complex" pick (The Wind that Shakes the Barley); and Kate Martin's anti-establishment choice (All the President's Men).
P.S. to Tangney: City Council member Tim Burgess was originally part of our series; he dropped out of the race in May.
3. And in honor of the July 4 weekend, check out this civics lesson: A Schoolhouse Rocks-style YouTube ("I'm just a budget"... sitting here on Capitol Hill) explaining the the budget impasse, which places full blame on the Republicans, was produced by U.S. Sen. Patty Murray's budget committee.