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Eye On Olympia

Wed., Jan. 15, 2003, 1:12 p.m.

Helping you wade through the bureaucratic babble

How do our state and local taxes compare to those paid by people in other states?
How many state employees are there in Washington?
How can you file a consumer complaint with state officials?
How do you get your own citizens’ initiative on the ballot?
Who donated money to your state representative?

Olympia may be 300 miles away, but finding those things out is easier than it seems. Washington’s state government, watchdog groups, advocacy organizations and thinktanks run scores of internet Web sites, many of them containing valuable information about what state government is doing.

Throughout the coming weeks, The Spokesman-Review will be building a Web site to help you use those sites to find out more about what your elected leaders and state agencies are up to. We’ll try to help you wade through spin and bureaucratic babble, and highlight reports, laws and proposals important to the Inland Northwest. We’ll include frequent updates from Olympia, with striking quotes, photographs, breaking news, and News of the Weird. The site will include e-mail forums on upcoming issues, such as whether the state should expand gambling in order to help fix a $2.4 billion shortfall.

Please keep reading, give us suggestions, and check back often. Government represents the people – it sets your taxes and makes the laws. Make sure you know what it’s up to.

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Short takes and breaking news from the Washington Legislature and the state capital.