July 15, 2012 in City, News
Bob Apple, Q&A on 15 topics
BOB APPLE, Democrat
1. Why do you feel that you are the best candidate?
Certainly experience and an ability to get jobs done while understanding the intermixing of associated issues and structures within our existing government.
2. What is the first bill you hope to sponsor or co-sponsor next session?
Ones that will benefit my constituents and can be made into law. I will accomplish what can be achieved by building alliances as needed to accomplish expressed goals. Whatever the legislation, I will hold true to the goals intended and not diminish what is meant to be achieved.
3. Do you agree with the state Supreme Court ruling from January that said that the state is not adequately funding basic education? Do you agree with Gov. Chris Gregoire’s assessment that tax increases are needed to meet the requirements of the ruling?
Yes, I support the court’s decision. It is addressed in the State Constitution as a required responsibility and statistically has not been reasonably accomplished more recently. However I don’t believe tax increases are needed. Administration of government should account for no more than eight percent of budgeted money and that is being unreasonably exceeded and by most State Departments and worse by more newly created departments so infact this is a big problem throughout our State government.
4. Do you support the voter-approved rule that stipulates that the Legislature can only approve a tax increase when each chamber supports the increase with two-thirds majorities? Should the state Constitution be amended to require two-thirds votes to approve tax increases?
Yes, I support the voter’s prerogative to direct. Perhaps the Constitution should be amended. Otherwise, the Legislature has is orders from the public and any change would reflect directly upon them.
5. The Legislature decided in 2011 to reduce the eligibility for the state’s Basic Health program and thousands of people were kicked off the plan. Benefits of the program also were reduced, including the elimination of adult dental coverage. Should the level of services of the program be cut, maintained or increased? If you support increased services, would you be willing to raise taxes to pay for the improvements?
I believe the state was on the right course in creating those medical care programs but with the federal direction change it has also thrown our state a curve and we need to see where the federal government is going. I do not believe the enacted national health care will solve all problems for our residents, and needs will continue to be a problem. Clearly, I would not support increased taxes at this time as we do not know whether the federal government program will survive court review and our residents are already heavily taxed, while in this recession situation. (Editor’s note: This response was written prior to the Supreme Court’s decision upholding the health care law.)
6. Do you support same-sex marriage?
No, civil unions are provided for that occurrence. Otherwise, I believe the term marriage was contrived by our churches with a specific meaning that is contrary to that use.
7. Current plans for completing the North Spokane freeway call for its interchange with Interstate 90 to expand I-90 to about 20 lanes wide, including onramps and service roads, in a portion of the East Central Neighborhood. Do you support this configuration? Would you support asking voters for a state gas tax increase if it included money to help complete the North Spokane freeway?
I support the configuration for the most part but will support reducing the overall impact. I might support a gas tax for the project, but only is the state Legislature agrees to provide the funds previously dedicated from a former nickel gas tax increase and further stipulate to a sunset clause.
8. Do you support the legalization of marijuana for adults, including for recreational purposes? If not, do you support the legalization of marijuana for medical use? How would you address the conflict that currently exists between state law allowing marijuana for medical use and federal law banning it?
Yes, the public’s high rate of use makes it difficult to do otherwise. I would recognize the use as a state’s right in advocating for public consumption. Besides, I believe the voters of the State should decide and we will see if this item makes it to the ballot.
9. Do you support the state’s current laws relating to collective bargaining among government workers? If not, how should those laws change?
Yes, for the most part. However, I am very concerned about management-level employees who are considered bargaining unit members and state processes or even board reviews that circumvent the commonsense application of contract language. In the past, management-level employees with the authority to hire, fire and discipline were exempt from labor organization representation, and it appears a lot of efforts have been engaged to allow this change to occur which is not in the best interests of either the public or perhaps the regular bargaining unit members.
10. State funding for the Northwest Museum of Arts and Cultures has been significantly cut in the last few years. Should the state’s current financial support to the museum be increased, maintained or decreased?
Increased. Spokane’s is no lesser than western Washington’s right for such amenities, and I will demand our equal funding.
11. Would you support the creation of an income tax to reduce or eliminate the business and occupation tax or cut other kinds of state taxes?
No, would consider if either property or sales tax were completely removed. I have always opposed the B&O tax on principal.
12. Do you support the state law that allows local governments to install red light enforcement cameras?
No, civil penalties are meant to change behavior, but with Photo-Red tickets are levied against the owner of the vehicle and weeks later, that only proves the practice is a tax fund raiser.
13. Should the state allow the creation of charter schools?
Yes, since the state is now allowing home schooling to occur through our school system enrolment, it appears only reasonable with conditions and such as open enrollment.
14. Do you support the state law that allows local governments to form districts that can add a fee of up to $20 to vehicle license charges without a public vote to pay for improvements to local streets? If so, would you support increasing the amount that could be charged without asking voters?
No, the voter should have a say and have made that clear in the past so I will honor that direction.
15. College tuition at state-supported institutions has soared in recent years. The Washington State University Board of Regents recently set the typical undergraduate tuition for 2012-2013 at $11,305. That’s up from $5,812 only five years ago. What should the Legislature do, if anything, to deal with the sharp increases in collection tuition? Would you support capping tuition increases at state universities?
First, determine if the increase is a result of increased costs and the leading contributors or is the State literally subsidized these costs previously before deciding what course to take. I would support capping tuition, and as well generally contributing costs that appear to have justified those increases to the boards.