Afternoon Jolt

Afternoon Jolt: Mr. Tutta Bella Goes to DC and Transit Voters aren't Just in Seattle Anymore

A closer look at Sound Transit polling and a closer listen to Tutta Bella owner Joe Fugere

By Josh Feit January 23, 2015

I wanted to get in two more Friday LIKES.

Afternoon Jolt

1. First, here's a follow up to Thursday's item about Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria owner Joe Fugere testifying in the U.S. Senate yesterday (at the behest of U.S. Sen. Patty Murray) against a Republican effort to raise the hourly requirement from 30 to 40 hours a week to qualify for Obamacare. The GOP believes the measure will save small businesses like Fugere's money. (Fugere owns five locations in the Seattle area and employs slighty more than 200 people.)

But Democrats such as Sen. Murray oppose the idea because, according to the Congressional Budget Office,  it would eliminate employer coverage for one million people working between 30-39 hours per week, add between 500,000 to one million people to government health insurance programs such as Medicaid and CHIP, and cost $53.2 billion over the next decade.

Also, Sen. Murray points out, it would put workers who put in 40 (or just over 40 hours per week) at risk because employers could be incentivized to bump them down to 39 hours. 

Murray spokesman Sean Coit said: "Senator Murray brought Joe in as an example of when workers and employees get good wages and benefits, companies succeed. Joe has been providing full benefits to employees of a whole range of hours for years – even before Obamacare, and is really an example, to [Sen. Murray], as an employer who’s doing the right thing by his employees and benefiting from it."

Afternoon LIKE: Fugere's testimony:


2. Another follow-up ... and another LIKE.

Yesterday, Bernard reported on polling that showed overwhelming support for expanding (and paying for) light rail. The slide show presentation the EMC pollsters presented yesterday afternoon to the Sound Transit board, however, didn't breakdown the numbers by Sound Transit sub-area. (Sound Transit has five sub-areas that take in Everett in Sohomish County and Tacoma in Pierce County.)

And so I wondered if the overall positive numbers were being skewed by liberal King County (57 to 36 percent preferred transit to roads when it came to dealing with traffic problems; 68 to 30 percent said the legislature should give ST the authority to put a light rail tax measure on the ballot; and 70 to 28 percent said they would support it knowing the cost).

Today, EMC provided me with a more detailed account of their poll which showed that all the regions, including Pierce, Snohomish, and East King were strongly in favor of expanding light rail.

For example: Overall support for a $15 billion ST expansion ballot measure knowing it could cost $78 a person was 70-28. And while the numbers were highest in N. King County (Seattle) 76-23, they were nothing to sneeze at in Pierce, 65-33, or Snohomish, 75-23, or East King, 70-29.

Additionally, while overall, voters favored transit over roads for dealing with traffic problems 57-36, transit won out in Pierce, Snohomish, and East King as well: 49-46, 52-37, and 59-35 and respectively.

3. And here's a basic Jolt: Longtime city council member Tom Rasumussen announced he's not running for reelection. Under the new districted system, Rasmussen, not much of a street fighting politician, represents District 1, West Seattle.

West Seattle Blog, the Stranger, and the Seattle Times have reports on Rasmussen's big announcement.


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