This week’s news includes an election, an Inslee gaffe, and union fits. Here’s your weekly round-up:
- Governor Jay Inslee held a press conference on Tuesday during which he insisted keeping Boeing’s 777X project in the Puget Sound required both union agreement and legislative action- including a $10 billion transportation spending package funded by gas tax increases. Although reports have since confirmed that Boeing “never made a gas tax increase a condition for staying in the state,” Inslee repeated his claims at a press conference earlier today.
- Governor Jay Inslee gambled with a lie and lost. According to House Republican leader Dan Kristiansen, when asked if a transportation package was needed to secure 777X, both the Machinists union and Boeing responded that transportation is a “secondary thing” and “not our first priority.” The Senate Majority Coalition will not play Inslee’s political game with Boeing jobs. They will pass Boeing bills on Saturday and adjoin the special session without passing Inslee’s $10 billion transportation package funded by gas tax increases.
- In a move Richard Trumka would call a “temper tantrum worthy of a four-year-old” if done by conservatives, District 751 President Tom Wroblewski of the Machinist union “tore up a copy of Boeing’s contract proposal” and called the offer a “piece of crap.” Members of the Machinist union are angry with Boeing’s deal to keep 777X in Washington State, and they want everyone to know.
- Responding to the latest example of megalomaniac union behavior in Washington State, the NAACP called on the Washington Department of Transportation to terminate a $1.4 billion contract with Seattle Tunnel Partners (STP) – the biggest contractor on the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Project. STP violated federal regulations when they cut small, struggling businesses out of work. Due to the fact that the project is partially funded with federal dollars, STP’s contract came with the stipulation that “8 percent of the work, $91 million worth, was to go to small, struggling businesses in the area.” King 5 reports that “only 7 million, less that 1 percent of the contract value, has been paid to small contractors so far.”
- The Washington Health Benefit Exchange rounded-up a month of complete incompetency by sending 8,000 letters to Washington residents “informing them that the price they are expecting to pay for health insurance purchased on the new online exchange marketplace is incorrect.” The letters are an attempt to “correct a major error that resulted in the miscalculation of tax credits that help qualified enrollees pay for insurance premiums.” When asked how the error occurred, exchange CEO Richard Onizuka answered, “We’ve asked ourselves that many times. We are still trying to figure out how this happened.” Glad to see our health exchange is in such capable, knowing hands.
- Ed Murray became Seattle’s Mayor-elect Tuesday evening. Murray named two veterans of City Hall- former Seattle City Councilmember Martha Choe and King County budget director Dwight Dively- to lead his transition team. We wish could say that Seattle’s leadership change is the start of something new for the city- but then we ask ourselves, “What’s the difference between two liberal Democrats?”
- Labor activists behind the $15 minimum wage measure in SeaTac declared victory on Wednesday. Next on their agenda? A push to “raise the minimum wage in Seattle to $15 for all workers.” According to the president of the Service Employees International Union’s (SEIU) Seattle-based Healthcare 775 NW local, the “debate about a $15 minimum wage in Seattle… will be led by our new mayor.” Yes, it looks like Seattle is in for a huge change.
- We congratulate Republican Jan Angel on her Senate victory in the 26th District’s special election. Angel battled Sen. Nathan Schlicher in the most expensive state Senate race in Washington State history- due in large part to liberal activist and California billionaire Thomas Steyer’s donations to Schlicher. Angel’s victory adds an additional member to the Majority Coalition Caucus.