Some data from Gov. Chris Gregoire's recent pulse-taking town-hall meeting in Spokane:
What people thought was not working well in state government:
-Unfriendly business climate
-Too much money and attention spent on west side of state
-Higher gas tax, "but roads on the east side are worse than ever"
-License tabs were supposed to be $30, but they keep rising.
What they thought is working well:
-The Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) test is increasing accountability for teachers, students and parents
Questions they had:
-What's the new-business survival rate?
-How do we compare to other states, economically?
-What's the cost of providing health care to illegal aliens?
-How effective are intervention programs like anti-smoking efforts?
-What percentage of state residents pay for health care, versus the number who are on public health coverage?
-"Where is the money going in higher education?"
-How is public-school money distributed?
-How much are we spending per prisoner?
-How is transportation money divided up?
(The respondents were 55 people, all registered voters, who showed up for the June 26 meeting at Spokane Falls Community College.)