Why have a Rainy Day Fund if state leaders don’t even grasp its purpose?

We will suffer another economic downturn at some point – that’s a given. The “when” is unpredictable, as ample history should make obvious. As much as some like to search after-the-fact for those “voices in the wilderness,” such as those issuing warnings in 2007 of impending problems, those cases may have more to do with […]

Public wants transparency, so shouldn’t Inslee veto SEIU giveaway bill?

The average voter, I think it’s fair to say, didn’t care much for the Legislature’s public records bill. A good chunk of Olympia took a gamble that voters wouldn’t care about a “boring topic” like open government. They bet wrong. The public doesn’t want to see governing conducted in secret. They don’t want legislation passed […]

House Republicans’ mics cut off for pointing out union giveaway

Most eyes in Olympia this week were on the will-he-or-won’t-he veto drama on the legislative records bill – and deservedly so. Legislators took a gamble that voters wouldn’t care too much about this issue. They were wrong, and I hope it clarified for public officials around the state that people care about open government. Lesson […]

Bipartisanship gone bad: Anti-transparency bill is insulting

We often praise bipartisanship, but some of the worst abuses of process have broad agreement from both parties. You saw a clear example of that Friday, when a bill to largely exempt legislators from the Public Records Act passed out of both chambers in record time with basically no debate. It’s hard to put a […]

State tax increases: There’s simply no need

It happens every year: Work in Olympia on the state budget doesn’t really get underway until the revenue forecast comes out. Then, lawmakers have a clearer idea of how much money they have to work with and can set their negotiating strategies. The latest revenue forecast came out Thursday, and it’s all positive news. In […]

SEIU-backed bill is power politics at its most brazen – and it stinks

The bill Senate Democrats tried to run Wednesday night on behalf of the Service Employees International Union 775 (SEIU) – a “major political contributor to Washington Democrats” – is “an inappropriate sweetheart deal that is trying to be muscled through by the union and the governor at a late hour.” That straight-forward and blunt assessment […]

McKenna on KIRO: Legislature might do away with the death penalty

KIRO 97.3 host Dave Ross asked Rob about bills in Olympia that would end the death penalty in Washington. He said last year that a lifetime of “miserable existence” in solitary confinement is a punishment he can live with for murderers like Gary Ridgway. Dave Ross: “It sounds like you feel the best way, then, […]

A practical step to fix shameful state of mental health care here

All around us, you see the evidence. In communities around Washington, you see major unmet needs when it comes to helping the mentally ill. You see it in our burgeoning homeless population, where mental health issues and drug addiction reinforce each other. You see it in families struggling to secure care for a loved one, […]

All five countywide port commissioners are from Seattle. Is that fair?

One way we measure the health of our representative democracy is if citizens feel someone is advocating for them and their interests. People want to know that someone from their area, who experiences daily life like they do, represents them to a government body. From that perspective, some are questioning how representative the Port of […]

2018 Legislature: The “don’t expect too much” session

Gov. Jay Inslee already rolled out his supplemental budget proposal and laid out his legislative priorities for 2018. He wants a carbon tax, and he wants a quick ramp-up of teacher salaries. Legislative leaders…well, they’re not really leaping to embrace Inslee’s agenda. I’m not talking about Republican legislative leaders; there would be nothing surprising about […]