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Spin Control

Posts tagged: 2012 governor

Many distinctions drawn in first Inslee-McKenna debate

The two leading candidates for Washington governor debated for the first time on Tuesday and agreed that new taxes aren’t needed to improve schools.

But they disagreed on most other points, including education in the hour-long debate at the Bing Crosby Theater in Spokane.

Former Democratic Congressman Jay Inslee declined to promise that he would add a billion dollars in the next two-year budget to improve basic education in a way demanded by the state Supreme Court in a ruling made earlier this year. His opponent, Republican Rob McKenna did, noting that $1 billion is just 3 percent of the state budget.

But Inslee accused McKenna of “faulty math” for supporting significant budget increases for education, higher education and Medicaid funding while also supporting to exempt more than 100,000 businesses from the state’s business and occupation tax.

“We do have to realize that we don’t have a printing press,” Inslee said. “My opponent has made promises that we just cannot keep.”

McKenna responded that he would push for business and occupation tax relief only after schools are “fully funded” and the higher education budget is boosted.

“It’s not something we can afford to do right away,” McKenna said. “If it’s not part of your vision, you’ll never attain it.”

Gov debate: Tribal gaming

Inslee: There's a federal process and that process needs to be followed. I have a concern about expansion of tribal gaming that could lead to harm for existing businesses. Each of them needs to be reviewed on the merits. Need to look at land use impacts. There are legitimate concerns about how the Spokane Tribe proposal could affect Fairchild Air Force Base.

McKenna: Does he support revenue sharing with tribes. I do not think it's a good policy. The compacts don't allow it and I don't think we want the state government to become dependent on gaming revenue.

Inslee: Thanks for reminding me. I don't support revenue sharing on gaming

Gov debate: Supermajority for taxes

How will you vote on the initiative?

McKenna: We will go to the Supreme Court and I believe they will overturn the King County ruling the supermajority is unconstitutional. The voters have been clear on taxes. They did so because it provides a higher wall. But it's not insurmountable.

Inslee: Rob supported multiple tax increases while he was on the King County Council and they didn't require a supermajority. When we impose a two-thirds majority it goes against one-person, one-vote. Let democracy rule.

McKenna: He's clearly against a rule 64 percent of the voters approved.

Gov debate: Transportation

When is the right time to ask voters for a tax increase for transportation?

McKenna: The fall of 2013 or fall of 2014. It will depend on the voters' reaction to the list of projects…including the North Spokane Corridor. We need to look for ways to provide more support to local governments to expand transit. We need to pay close attention to freight mobility.

Inslee: Right now we're lacking in trust in the state government. We need to bring lean management to every department of government, including the Department of Transportation.

McKenna: He didn't answer the question. When is the right time. He refuses to take a position on this

Inslee: The right time is when we regain the trust of voters. That's not a calendar date.

Followup: What about public-private partnerships for transporation.

Inslee: We should look at multiple options and find one that works. Need to watch the details, look at all the tools at our disposal. Private enterprise can produce good products for state government. It has to be a partnership between a more efficient government and business. I would would consider those in the right circumstances.

McKenna: I don't believe we should tap our pension system to fund programs, as Inslee proposed at the beginning of his campaign. We need to attract private capital.

Inslee: I listened to people and will not propose changes to our pension system.

Gov debate: McKenna to Inslee

If you could do it over, would you make it possible to make it easier to get mortgagest for people with poor credit?

Inslee: The problem was de-regulation of Wall Street. I stood up to Bill Clinton and my party on the repeal of Glass Stieglitz. I don't blame the homeowners. I blame Wall Street for the financial collapse. Some people were over their heads. But the answer is not to reduce people's access to credit.

McKenna: The question was whether to release standards, making it easier for people with poor credit to obtain loans. It invited speculators in.

Inslee: The McKenna Romney view is the problem is because of homeowners. I believe it's because of Wall Street.

Gov debate: Inslee to McKenna

Inslee: As King County Council president, the council passed a budget that was out of balance in King County, why should voters trust you as governor?

McKenna: I opposed a new tax increase, the council passed it. In my opinion, it was the wrong thing to do. They passed the budget they wanted.

Inslee: Leadership is hard. Given the opportunity to build consensus, my opponet didn't succeed.

Gov debate: Coal exports terminals

Inslee: Look at them through the lens of jobs and job benefits, and the potential downsides for the towns the trains will go through, including Spokane. Right policy and it is the law. This is a moment of truth for the state of Washington: Will we embrace new sources of energy? We need to have policies to make sure new energy companies locate here.

McKenna: Important to business, labor and communities. We're talking about hundreds of high-paying jobs. They have to go through a rigorous EIS process. If they make it through, why should they be discriminated against.

Inslee: I think that's a fair statement if you look at the impact on companies in communites where trains go through.

Gov debate: Jobs

How many jobs can you create if you're elected? How can the state afford tax breaks to business if you're going to spend more for higher education?

McKenna: It's not something we can afford to do right away. The current threshhold doesn't make sense, but after we've fully funded education and restored funding for higher education, we should look at. We need to centralize the collection of the B&O tax, like centralized sales tax would make more sense.

Inslee: Making promises you can't fulfill is not the leadership the state needs. His promises can't be kept. I have proposed a tax credit for research and development for small businesses, credits for hiring new employees.

McKenna: The congressman opposes B&O tax relief at any time.

Why target B&O tax relief to certain industries?

Inslee: We don't have unlimited funds. We have to choose and we should not be waiting to building the industries of the next century.

McKenna: Why not give all businesses a fair chance to be successful.

Inslee: Cutting edge companies are growing in Washington, especially in Eastern Washington, seeds that we need to see sprout. A center for aviation biofuels at WSU. To make sure businesses compete with oil industries, allow R&D from our universities.

MKenna: Innovation occurs in many places, not just in hand-picked industries. Best approach is to be color blind in the kind of industries we're supporting, green, blue collar or pink collar.

Inslee: Our existing industries aren't color blind.

Follow up: What's the balance between environment and job growth. What state restrictions are too strict:

McKenna: Inslee should have addressed federal assistance for those companes when he was in Congress. Shorelines management. We have local, state and federal, we should harmonize those rules and get more cleanup.

Inslee: Harmonizing means reduce our protections for clean air and clean water

McKenna: The Congressman has never seen a regulation he didn't like.

Gov debate: Higher ed

Inslee: I know how difficult it is to see this incredible debt burden on kids. We've got to do things to make higher education more affordable… Expand online learning opportunities…free universities from some of the restrictions…allow colleges to commercialize some of their technologies …If we do these things, use colleges to drive our economy.

McKenna: In the 1990s, over 16 percent of the state budget went to higher education. Now it's 8 percent. Stop cutting higher education in the general fund budget, which is why I called Republicans to reverse their proposed cuts in higher education.

Followup: You're talking about a lot of new state spending. Can you reverse the trend in a first term?

Inslee: Don't dig the hole deeper.

McKenna: The folks running Olympia (Democrats) for the last 20 years are responsible.

Gov debate: Education

Will you ask for a new tax for schools?

Inslee: No. I'm proposing job creation (to increase revenue) and close some of the corporate tax loopholes. We are 5th in high tech jobs, but 46th in the production of students to fullfill those jobs…We have to have changes that can't wait for additional funding. Not allow substandard teachers in the classroom, expand science technology and math education.

McKenna: We can't put more money into an unreformed system. Look for more money on all day kindergarten, close tax loopholes, squeeze the budget, repurpose existing spending on things like administration.

Inslee: This is not a time to take away money (for charter schools)

Followup: Take a new fund source off the table?

Inslee: Yes. Finance our schools through growth.

McKenna: We have a dedicated source, it's called the general fund. That's what paramount duty says.

Inslee: We can't wait for the billion dollars to make the reform.

McKenna: We can find the money in the state budget.

Followup: Do you support a ballot measure for charter schools?

McKenna: This is a too we ought to have in our state. All states with major metropolitan areas have them. They should be part of the mix. There are other models for innovation too. I'll be voting yes.

Inslee: Great innovation going on around the state. I'm going to put $1 billion more into the budget, don't want to have some of it going out for charter schools. Only 1 in 5 succeed. I'll be voting no.

McKenna: These charter schools are public schools

Gov debate: Health care

What steps would you take if the Supreme Court

McKenna: Implement the health insurance exchange, expanded Medicaid program. We also need to look to insurance reform to create more competition. We need a market that is national. We also need liabilitly reform, reduce the cost of defensive medicine. Encourage more Washingtonians to move to consumer directed health care plans. I expect we will continue to be leaders.

Inslee: It is a value in the state of Washington that if you are a breast cancer survivor, you should be able to get health care insurance… You should be able to have your son or daughter on your insurance. I am disappointed our attorney general has tried to take that awaly.

McKenna: Inslee voted for a law advisers warned had an unconstitutional mandate. Medicaid could expand if the bill is overturned.

Inslee: If the bill is oveturned, we can't look to Uncle Sam.

Gov debate: Opening statements

Here's how the gubernatorial debate in Spokane started:

Rob McKenna: We need a new direction for Washington…These dreams are at risks.)ure Streets aren't safe. Our schools leave people behind, our universities are too expensive.

Jay Inslee: Build a working Washington. I have an abiding faith in our ability to move forward

Gregoire pushes education funding to center of debate

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Jay Inslee talks charter schools to WEA
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Jay Inslee talks collective bargaining to WEA

 

Job creation may be the main talking point of the two main candidates for governor, but another topic is rivaling jobs as a top issue in the campaign.

That’s thanks in part to outgoing Gov. Chris Gregoire, who has loudly backed the creation of new taxes to support the state’s Constitutional requirement to provide quality basic education.

The state Supreme Court ruled early this year that the state hasn’t met its obligation to adequately fund education programs.

But both Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna, and Democratic Congressman Jay Inslee — Gregoire’s pick to succeed her — disagree with her assertion that more taxes are necessary.

Gregoire spoke strongly last week to the Washington Education Association for the need for “new revenue” to raise an extra $1 billion in the next two-year budget. The teachers union held its annual convention at the Spokane Convention Center.

The next day, however, Inslee addressed the WEA convention and largely avoided the topic of how to address the the Supreme Court ruling.

In an interview before the speech, Inslee said he would focus efforts to improve education funding on improving the economy, which would increase tax revenue.

“The most fundamental thing we need to do is get people back to work in this state,” he said. “That’s the real driver of revenue creation in our state.”

Inslee said he also would find savings by instituting efficiency programs that have grown popular in corporate America as well as in some city’s like Spokane under former Mayor Mary Verner.

McKenna says growing the economy is important, but says Democratic administrations have allowed the percentage of the state budget devoted to education to shrink as other programs have grown. He said he would reverse that trend.

“Moving forward we have to focus on reform and on spending more of the state budget on education,” McKenna said in an interview last week. “That means we’re not going to spend as much on other parts of the budget – that we won’t allow other parts of the budget to grow as fast as they have been growing.”

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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