The new year stretches before us like an unbroken cross-country trail on Mount Spokane. While many calendars are mostly blank for 2022, Spin Control looks into its crystal ball in an effort to fill in a few spaces with its annual predictions.
Or as Bullwinkle J. Moose would say, “Eenie, meanie, chili beanie, the spirits are about to speak.”
Prediction 1: Initiative entrepreneur Tim Eyman will begin filing proposed ballot initiatives later this week, switch to initiatives to the Legislature later this spring and break last year’s total of 137 initiative proposals before the year is out. None of them will gather the required signatures to go before voters in November or legislators in 2023.
Prediction 2: Because the Seahawks won’t make the playoffs, Gov. Jay Inslee will rely on college basketball metaphors for his State of the Union speech. Legislative Republicans, in their post-speech press conference, will try to whistle Inslee for a “flop” and technical foul.
Prediction 3: During a cold snap, climate change deniers will confuse weather with climate and point to a record low temperature as proof that global warming is a hoax.
Prediction 4: Washington’s legal marijuana growers and sellers will continue to increase sales and the tax revenue they provide to state coffers. But lobbyists will claim the industry is hurting and urge the Legislature to remove barriers to out-of-state investors and ownership, despite the fact that prohibition was one of the selling points of the initiative voters approved in 2012.
Prediction 5: More counties and cities will approve ordinances or charter amendments that ban local income taxes even though no one is seriously proposing such a tax and the people voting against them are the people who would have to approve them if such a proposal surfaced. After each such vote, the Washington Policy Center will issue a statement congratulating the local government for its wisdom.
Prediction 6: Gov. Inslee will further test the limits of his veto powers on bills that pass the Legislature. Having tried twice to veto a subsection of a transportation bill when state law says he must veto at least a section – and having had the Legislature sue him twice and the state Supreme Court agree once already – Inslee will try vetoing a single word. Rather than vetoing the sentence “Fuel type may not be a factor in the grant selection process,” Inslee will veto the word “not.” When legislators sue, the governor’s office will argue that Inslee wasn’t actually vetoing, he was merely editing.
Prediction 7: After requiring last year that patrons of fast food restaurants must ask for single-use plastic utensils rather than getting them automatically, the Legislature will debate whether patrons must sign a legally binding document requiring they be disposed of in proper recycling bins. The bill will be amended to require only a pinkie swear.
Prediction 8: During a three-day heat wave in the summer, those who believe climate change is real will confuse weather with climate and claim this is definite proof global warming is happening.
Prediction 9: Spokane County commissioners will decide that the newly restructured Board of Health is still too unwieldy and decide to reduce the number again. To comply with the state law that says a health board must have an equal number of elected and unelected members, the commissioners will make it a six-person board with themselves as the three elected members and appoint the three unelected members.
Prediction 10: COVID-19 will mutate so rapidly that the World Health Organization will get to omega, the final letter of the Greek alphabet, and begin using the Tolkien elvish alphabet. This will create a spirited debate in the scientific community from those who believe it should use the Klingon alphabet.
Prediction 11: Although two of Washington’s Republicans in the U.S. House will face multiple challenges to their re-election from other members of their party, U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers will have relatively light GOP opposition. That will be partly because the more conservative Republicans in her district have forgotten she voted to certify Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 election, but more because so many Republicans are running for seats on the new five-member board of county commissioners.
Prediction 12: Speculation about the 2022 mid-terms will occupy most of the talk on cable news until Nov. 8, which is Election Day. On Nov. 9, the midterms will be forgotten and they will immediately switch to speculation of the 2024 presidential election.