Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Pullmanites Make Deposit in Washington Idea Bank
This afternoon, Michael Costello, several local Republicans, two Democratic flunkies, one local liberal, and myself had a nice lunch at the Hilltop Restaurant in Pullman to hear the Washington Idea Bank presentation from Dino Rossi.
The Washington Idea Bank is a project of Forward Washington , the non-partisan group created and headed by Dino.
This was not a campaign event. Dino has not yet announced his decision on next year's gubernatorial race. That, of course, has not stopped the Democrats, who are terrified of Dino. They have filed a frivilous PDC complaint and that is why the two earnest looking young ladies were there filming every word Dino had to say. Dino told them they needn't film anything, that it was all on the website. The girls appeared to be Young Democrats on summer vacation. Wonder if the Washington Democratic Party pays a "living wage?" I should have asked them...
Anyway, this was very much in the style of a "town hall" type meeting. Dino has been traveling the state (he was on his way to Spokane afterwards) solicting solutions, not complaints, for Washington's problems to make this a better state for everyone. The idea is that through statewide collaboration, maybe we can come up with some really innovative ideas. Unspoken, but obviously on everyone's mind, was the fact that the best idea for improving Washington is to throw Queen Christine and her dark minions out of office next year.
Dino presented a few ideas that had already been solicited, such as a required rainy day fund, especially after this past legislative session's drunken spending orgy. He said he knew that tactic from his days in Olympia: The easiest way to get reelected is to give people things, even though it comes out of someone else's pocketbook.
Rossi also talked about repealing the estate tax and how it damaged local ownership of business and drove entrepreneurs away. As I have said before, if Democrats really support local business and hate evil, faceless corporations from back east, the best way to do that is to get rid of the death tax.
Each person in attendance had an index card on which they could write an idea. Those ideas were collected and then Dino discussed some of them. They included:
- Getting rid of the B&O tax
- Health savings accounts and competition in the health care industry
- Increasing the quality of science and math teachers in the public schools
- Sustainability of the state budget
- Welfare reform
- Property rights protection (yes, that was mine)
- Bureaucratic costs and regulation (I was interested to hear from an audience member that 40% of the price of a house in Washington comes from regulatory overhead and taxes)
You can submit your own ideas here.
Alice Schroeder, president of the Pullman League of Women Vultures, er, Voters, was present Her "great" idea was to get rid of sales taxes, not because they are regressive and unfair, but because they make local governments chase after "rampant, unchecked growth and development," which "ends up costing the city more in infrastructure costs in the long run." Without ever mentioning it, you could tell she was referring to the Pullman City Council and Wal-Mart, obviously having drank deeply from the PARD Kool-Aid. I guess Schroeder considers our city government to be soulless whores for supporting the Supercenter project. Schroeder, of course, failed to mention that Wal-Mart, or any other large retail development in Pullman, would more than pay for any increased infrastructure requirements through the variety of taxes, including sales taxes, they would pay. She also neglected to mention the benefits of increased employment for students, increased traffic for other local businesses, increased amenities and quality of life created by more shopping choices and less driving, etc., etc. And Schroeder had no solutions on what would replace sales taxes, as obviously we are maxed out on property taxes and a state income tax is politically unpalatable. But what else could you expect from a left-wing, anti-capitalist front group like the LWV?
I witnessed Schroeder chewing on everyone's ear before and after lunch, offering her liberal spin on various issues that had been raised. I noticed Michael was speaking with her (she obviously had no idea who he was; Schroeder didn't bother talking to me.) I'd like to get his perspective.
Speaking of Michael, it was nice to finally meet him in person, if only very briefly. I was going to snap a picture afterwards, but he slipped out too quickly!
I did manage a photo of me with one of my heroes, the Once and Future Governor of Washington.
Since I had my camera, I thought I would capture this horrible encroachment on, and desecration of, a beloved and historic cemetery on film. No, it's not the Pullman City Cemetery and Wal-Mart. It's the Oddfellow's Cemetery and the Pullman School District bus garage. Where is all that selective outrage now?