Jeff Holy, Q&A on 15 topics
JEFF HOLY, Republican
Why do you feel that you are the best candidate?
Residency. I’ve lived here 30 years, having graduated Gonzaga Law, completed a career with Spokane P.D., raised my family and been involved in the community. I’m part of our community, people and issues.
Resume. Local public service, community activity, education, existing legislative relationships, institutional memory, political involvement and public safety are all tools that no other candidates possess.
Responsibility. I have big budget experience (Trustee for $6 Billion State Retirement System), I’m a small business owner who understands WA business climate and my work as an attorney teaches me to place other’s interests before my own.
2. What is the first bill you hope to sponsor or co-sponsor next session?
Business and Occupation Tax reform. Washington State’s B&O tax is based upon the gross receipts of a business, not taking into consideration business costs such as rent, equipment, wages or even the costs of materials. The current B&O tax is often imposed upon a single product multiple times as such product moves through stages of production. Multiple taxation burdens business owners and increases the cost to the consumers, who are subsidizing multiple levels of taxation even before having to pay sales tax on the product at the point of purchase. Washington business deserves better. We deserve better.
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?
The Court stated the “State has failed to meet its duty.” Washington State’s Auditor commented that less than an acceptable percentage of education funding makes it to the classroom. According to the Washington Policy Center, only 59 percent of basic education funding makes it to the classroom where it has a direct effect on student outcomes. Our children deserve better.
Revenue increases are needed. Increasing taxes is a poor first choice of revenue. Providing an environment supporting business growth would increase revenues under the existing tax structure. A healthy business environment provides increased revenue to the State, without new taxes.
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. The question of whether a 2/3 majority should be required to approve tax increases has already been asked of and answered by the people four times. How many times do the people have to speak to be heard? Sixteen other States have approved supermajority requirements for legislated tax increases. The people have clearly and repeatedly spoken. I will honor the will of the people.
During the 2013 Legislative session, Senator Holmquist (13th Leg Dist) intends to sponsor legislation for such constitutional amendment. All 16 of the other States having supermajority requirements for legislated tax increases, have enacted constitutional amendments.
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?
It depends. As the Federal Health Care Reform bill becomes fully effective, federal subsidies and expanded Medicare coverage will provide coverage for a large portion of Washington State’s most vulnerable that are now covered through the State Basic Health Plan. If the FHCR is amended or not fully implemented, a new discussion begins on caring for the most vulnerable.
6. Do you support same-sex marriage?
No. My Catholic formation and personal beliefs compel me to support the traditional definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman.
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 current plans. The North-South freeway has been in a planning stage for over 50 years, and yet it is only in the last 15 years that significant parts of the corridor have been completed. Continuing with construction as currently planned will preclude further delays. Washington has one of the highest State gas tax rates in the nation at 37.5 cents per gallon. I will not support additional gas tax unless first approved by a vote of the people. However, a current transportation budget surplus indicates that revenue may be available without a gas tax increase.
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?
I won’t support legislation legalizing recreational use. In my 22 years as a Spokane Police Officer, I’ve witnessed the consequences of all types of drug abuse, including alcohol. I do support the medical use of marijuana. The conflict between the Washington State statute allowing medical use of marijuana and the Federal law prohibiting such use will not resolve until the Federal Government changes federal law, or Washington State changes State law, or the courts decide who has control of the issue.
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 public safety. For other than public safety, I do not support collective bargaining with government employees in its current form. The most important change to be made is the return of collective bargaining with state employee unions to the legislature, allowing such process to be open to the public. The current format of the Governor negotiating with unions in secret provides opportunity for labor contracts that could only be accomplished outside of the public view, and are not in the people’s best interest.
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?
Maintained. As funding is available, a treasure like the MAC deserves to be preserved.
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. A lack of State income tax is one of the most notable advantages in attracting business that Washington State provides.
12. Do you support the state law that allows local governments to install red light enforcement cameras?
No. After 22 years as a Spokane Police Officer, I well understand the difference between that which enhances public safety, and creation of a revenue source.
13. Should the state allow the creation of charter schools?
Yes. A vast majority of Charter Schools that currently exist in 41 of 50 States have provided superior performance, lower cost of operation and have increased parental involvement and control of their children’s education. Nationwide, over 400,000 students wait for openings in charter schools to become available.
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?
Yes, as the law currently exists. However, I would hope that as the people have regularly found value in and voted to pay for local facilities and services, local governments would continue to come to the people for approval before imposing such a fee. I don’t support increasing fee limits without such increase first being put to a vote of the people.
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 college tuition? Would you support capping tuition increases at state universities?
What previously was funded at 80 percent by the State and expensed at 20 percent to the student has effectively been reversed. Higher education is no longer a priority. Dedicating a percentage of existing sales tax to higher education, as proposed by Sen. Michael Baumgartner, would allow funding to move closer to a 50/50 level and reestablish higher education as a priority investment in our future.
Capping tuition doesn’t solve the problem. Recently the legislature gave tuition setting authority to State university regents. Returning the responsibility for tuition setting to the legislature would provide direct accountability for tuition increases provided.