PRESS RELEASE: SPOKANE HOME BUILDERS ASSOCIATION ANNOUNCES SPOKANE CITY COUNCIL ENDORSEMENTS

(Spokane, Wash.) – The Board of Directors of the Spokane Home Builders Association (SHBA) voted this week to endorse Tim Benn for Spokane City Council District 1, Andy Dunau for Spokane City Council District 2 and dual endorse Matthew Howes and Brian Burrow for Spokane City Council District 3.

Recommendations for endorsement were made following a process that includes responding to a written questionnaire, background screening by the non-partisan Candidate Verification service and interviews with members of the SHBA.
“The SHBA Board of Directors is pleased to endorse these candidates for Spokane City Council,” said Jim Breidenbach, 2017 President of the Spokane Home Builders Association. “We are encouraged that these candidates expressed values to be collaborative leaders on the City Council, to promote a business friendly environment and are committed to make Spokane a great place to live, work and play.”

The Spokane housing market continues to feel the strain of a shrinking inventory and low rental vacancy rate. It is critical that the next City Council be prepared to make infrastructure investments that accommodate anticipated growth and bring forward infill housing development recommendations. These candidates all represent a fresh energy to the City Council needed to drive the reforms necessary to support the building industry.

“The Spokane Home Builders Association has long been an advocate for common sense public policy that allows for the development of a variety of market based housing options,” added Arthur Whitten, SHBA Government Affairs Director. “In the City of Spokane it is paramount that we elect leaders who recognize that there is a dwindling supply of buildable lots and understand that overregulation drives the cost of housing up, pricing Spokane families out of the American dream of homeownership. These candidates will be terrific members of the City Council to achieve positive
housing solutions.”

The Spokane Home Builders Association consists of over 700 members across Ferry, Grant, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens and Whitman Counties. Members include builders, developers, subcontractors, suppliers and industry service providers. Founded in 1947, the SHBA is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year.
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PRESS RELEASE: ARTHUR WHITTEN JOINS SHBA AS GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS DIRECTOR

Arthur Whitten headshot(SPOKANE, Wash.) – The Spokane Home Builders Association (SHBA) has hired Arthur Whitten to serve as its Government Affairs Director. Whitten is a graduate of Washington State University and has previously worked at the state legislature, on a Congressional campaign and most recently as Executive Director of the King County Republican Party.

“I am enthusiastic to continue the work of the SHBA by advocating for its members and to be a part of promoting the local building industry across the region,” said Whitten.

The SHBA represents over 700 member businesses across seven Eastern Washington counties which include general contractors, developers, realtors, architects, excavators, plumbers, electricians, financial institutions and more. Founded in 1947, the SHBA is celebrating its 70th Anniversary this year.

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RELEASE: STRONG CANDIDATE PARTICIPATION IN SHBA BACKGROUND CHECK PROCESS

(Spokane, Wash.) – The Spokane Home Builders Association (SHBA) is pleased to report that the new mandatory background check policy for candidates has been met with a positive response and strong participation.

“Following our first time going through this process, we continue to believe that mandatory background checks for candidates increases transparency, which is beneficial for the both the community and the candidates themselves,” said Michael Cathcart, Government Affairs Director for the Spokane Home Builders Association.

The May 21st press release, “Spokane Home Builders Association Taking the Lead on Candidate Transparency,” which announced this new program is available by visiting SHBA.com or by clicking here.

The SHBA invited 19 candidates to participate in an endorsement process that concluded this week with candidate interviews and a vote of the Board of Directors. The first step asked the invited candidates to comply with the background check requirements. The Association declined to interview or consider any candidates who did not agree to the background check.

An announcement of the endorsed candidates will be released next week.

The following list includes all of the candidates invited to participate, if they participated, and whether they chose to publish the results for the public to see. All published background check reports are available online at www.candidateverification.org.

Candidate Participation Chart

“We want to thank all of the candidates who chose to take part in the background check and those choosing to publish the results. We believe this is a big win for election transparency in Eastern Washington,” said Cathcart. “We continue to encourage all Eastern Washington organizations who issue campaign endorsements to join with us in making background checks a mandatory part of their process.”

The background checks through Candidate Verification include:

  • Civil and criminal records search, including the national sex offender registry search
  • Military records verification
  • Resume verification, including: employment history verification, professional credential verification, and post-secondary degree/diploma verification
  • NOTE: A credit check is not part of this process

More information about Candidate Verification can be found at www.candidateverification.org. Anyone wishing to contribute to Candidate Verification to ensure the funding of candidate background checks in Spokane and Eastern Washington may do so by clicking here.

Release: Spokane Home Builders Association Taking the Lead on Candidate Transparency

(Spokane, Wash.) – The Board of Directors of the Spokane Home Builders Association (SHBA) made the decision this week to modify its candidate endorsement policy to include mandatory background checks for anyone seeking election support going forward.

The background checks are free and self-authorized by the candidates. The SHBA is partnering with Candidate Verification, a non-profit 501C3 organization based in Seattle to make this requirement possible. Once the candidate has had the opportunity to review his or her background check, Candidate Verification will then post it online for the public to see.

More information about Candidate Verification can be found at www.candidateverification.org.

“As an Association that has long advocated for more government transparency, and as one of our region’s strongest and most active political advocacy organizations, it seemed a natural fit to make mandatory background checks a pre-requisite for our endorsement,” said Michael Cathcart, Government Affairs Director for the Spokane Home Builders Association. “We see this as the next evolution of candidate and election transparency and we are excited to be the first in Eastern Washington to sign-on and the second organization in the State to make this mandatory.”

Already implementing mandatory background checks is the Western Washington advocacy organization, Stand for Children. Others encouraging candidates to comply, but not making it mandatory, include: the King County Municipal League, King County Republican Party, Snohomish County REALTORS Association, and Progressive Majority.

“We don’t want to be all alone in this here in Eastern Washington,” added Cathcart. “This is a very non-partisan issue, so we have started the process of reaching out to a broad and bi-partisan range of political, labor, and business organizations that support and endorse candidates and asking them to join us in making candidate transparency a priority. We are calling on the Spokesman Review and the Inlander to join-in as well.”

The background checks through Candidate Verification will include:

  • Civil and criminal records search, including the national sex offender registry search
  • Military records verification
  • Resume verification, including: employment history verification, professional credential verification, and post-secondary degree/diploma verification
  • NOTE: A credit check is not part of this process

“This added step is beneficial for the candidate as well as the community,” said Cathcart. “The candidates will benefit because any erroneous information about their background will be kept to a minimum and the community gets to benefit from the certainty and transparency the background checks provide. The voters will actually have a way to verify some of the information candidates are telling them throughout election season.”

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Spokane Transit Authority Ballot Measure Not Supported by the Spokane Home Builders Association

For Immediate Release

Spokane Transit Authority Ballot Measure Not Supported

by the Spokane Home Builders Association

(Spokane, Wash.) – Following multiple presentations and discussions regarding the April 28th Spokane Transit Authority ballot measure, the Spokane Home Builders Association (SHBA) Board of Directors has determined that too many concerns exist for our Association and, as a result, we are not willing to endorse or support the Proposition.

“Our Association believes in the benefits of effective mobility and we fully support a multitude of transportation options when done in a responsible and cost effective manner, we just don’t feel the ballot measure as presented to voters meets that criteria,” said Michael Cathcart, Government Affairs Director for the SHBA. “The measure does contain some positive elements such as the West Plains and Upriver Transit Centers, some route efficiency improvements throughout Spokane, increased night and weekend service, and the added bus shelters. However, the significant increase in the tax rate, the Central City Line as it is presented, and the growing scope of STA to include service beyond its current boundaries are major concerns for us.”

Continue below to read our entire statement on the STA ballot measure…

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The Spokane Home Builders Association (SHBA) supports a robust transportation network throughout the Spokane region. We recognize the significant benefits effective mobility has not only for each individual, but for our entire community. However, the upcoming Spokane Transit Authority Proposition is not a measure we are able to endorse.

First, it’s important to share that in the last six months, the SHBA has taken the uncharacteristic position of supporting and promoting several tax measures – including the Spokane Street Levy, Spokane Park Bond, the Central Valley Schools Bond, and the Spokane Schools Bond and Levy.

Turning down most of these measures would have resulted in a decreased rate of taxation, so the question many ask is, why would a traditionally tax averse organization endorse these measures?

Quite simply, we ask government to work smarter, be inventive, responsible, and thoughtful where tax dollars are concerned and that, to a large degree, is what these packages accomplished. Our Association found common cause in the careful and diligent approach the school districts and the City of Spokane took in crafting the proposals to fill the needs of the community, while keeping tax rates flat. In our view this actually protected taxpayers. In addition, by leveraging local dollars into these significant infrastructure investments, we promote economic growth and revitalization to the benefit of the entire community.

The voters clearly agreed.

Now, looking ahead at the forthcoming Spokane Transit Authority Proposition, our Association used the same lens to analyze the proposal as we did those previous measures. We concluded that the proposal has some positive aspects to it and we can understand why certain organizations and elected officials have chosen to endorse the plan, however, our concerns are too significant and too numerous for us to do the same.

Let’s first address the positive aspects of STA’s proposal.

The West Plains Transit Center – The ballot measure would build a West Plains Transit Center making bus travel far more customer friendly and efficient out on the West Plains. Currently, STA users out on the West Plains have no ability to travel from say Medical Lake to Cheney without going all the way downtown to make the connection. This would correct that inefficiency.

Route Improvements – The ballot measure creates several route improvements which allow riders in the West Central, Logan, and Lincoln Heights neighborhoods to travel much more efficiently without the need for making connections at the STA Plaza downtown.

Upriver Transit Center – Locating a larger transit center on or near the Spokane Community College (SCC) campus would enhance student and employee access to campus, while also serving nearby residents with expanded options for making connections to other routes – presumably without a need to travel downtown to the Plaza. We will touch on this a little more later on.

Night and Weekend Service – Many people have different work schedules, family commitments, or entertainment opportunities and often these don’t work perfectly with the typical daytime bus service. As long as additional night and weekend service is carefully implemented to ensure busses are running as efficiently as possible, this accommodation is a very good thing.

Adding Bus Shelters – The people utilizing bus service shouldn’t be forced to stand out in the elements. In fact, increasing the number of shelters might also help increase ridership. So, it makes a lot of sense to add shelters where feasible. Should the ballot measure pass, STA needs to work diligently to ensure the shelters integrate well with the neighborhoods, while also taking great care to be very cost conscious.

Unfortunately, much like cable service doesn’t let us pick the individual channels we want to pay for, we don’t get to pick and choose which elements of STA’s plan to support either.

So let’s dig into our concerns.

The center piece of the STA proposal – the Central City Line – The proposal calls for a six mile system – long referred to as a trolley, but more recently identified by STA as a form of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) – at a cost of $72 million assuming no overruns. It’s important to point out that we don’t necessarily oppose the concept. A bus-rapid-transit system has its merits; however in this instance, we do question the cost per mile, the funding source, and the identified route and the lack of real-world testing to ensure the rider demand is really there to make it successful.

                The Cost: It appears Spokane will be paying a premium, a significant premium, in order to have a system operated by “zero emission” vehicles. There’s really no other good explanation for why we will pay $72 million for six miles when nearby places like Everett, WA and Eugene, OR have built similar projects in recent years at much lower cost. The Swift BRT in Everett runs over 16 miles and features 15 hybrid-electric vehicles, real-time tracking so passengers know exactly when the next vehicle will arrive, and off board ticket purchasing to keep the system moving. All of this at a cost of about $30 million. The similar Emerald Express in Eugene has two routes combining for about 12 miles in length and costing in the neighborhood of $63 million.

The proposed Central City Line would feature an inductive charging system. Each of the all-electric vehicles would be required to connect to a built-in inductive charging pad intermittently throughout the day to stay powered. The cost of a current hybrid-electric bus in Spokane is a little over $500,000, but it isn’t clear what Spokane would be charged for these alternative all-electric vehicles and their charging stations. For comparison sake it appears based on the 2015 Business Plan for the Antelope Valley Transit Authority in California, they will spend about $760,000 dollars for one charging station and about $863,000 for a single electric bus.

                Who Pays: A big question in our mind is, should the entire transportation district pay for a system that is so downtown and U-District centric or would it be more appropriate for this to be paid for through an alternative means that focuses on businesses, residents, and the colleges along the route – essentially those who stand most to benefit?

                The Route: The proposed route would begin around Brownes Addition, travel through downtown to the U-District and end at Spokane Community College. This serves a relatively small percentage of the population. While Downtown and the U-District are certainly important and make vital contributions to our local economy, we have to ask the question, what percentage of the population will actually get good use out of the proposed system? Most of the City would need to travel downtown to even get access to the Central City Line. The cost of extending the route all the way to SCC is also questionable in our view, especially when the Upriver Transit Center would theoretically make bus travel to the school far more efficient and limit the need for many riders to travel to the Plaza where they would get access to the Central City Line.

If you’re going to do a BRT system, we think it would make much more sense to give access to a far greater percentage of the population. A route that travels North/South through neighborhoods on the Northside or South Hill or even East/West picking up some of the Valley and East Sprague areas would provide better commuting opportunities to downtown and/or the U-District.

At this point the route is set and voters will decide next month if they agree, however, voters should also take caution as STA has never actually performed any real world tests on this project. One argument officials make for the Central City Line is that it would be a “cool” looking system. We think before going to voters, STA could have painted some busses in a cool or unique way, added some neat amenities, even built out a few test stations in order to gauge if the demand and interest actually exists to warrant the significant capital investment of the full system. This has never taken place making the success of the project largely unpredictable.

Based on the recent STA election mail piece, we suspect the feedback STA has received on the Central City Line isn’t too far off from our criticisms above. The glossy (publicly funded) mailer contains only one very vague reference to the project, which in early materials was paraded as the central focal point.

Sales Tax Increase – We understand that a growing public operation requires increasing revenues in order to pay for it, but it’s disappointing that STA doesn’t offer any sort of out-of-the-box solutions for alleviating the transit subsidy carried by tax payers; in fact the proposal only increases it. Raising the sales tax rate from 8.7% to 9.0% may not sound significant, but it adds up – to the tune of $300 million over a 10 year period. In terms of sustainability, the proposal leaves no room for error. STA is only permitted to ask voters for up to 0.9% of the sales tax and with this 0.3% increase they will be at that ceiling. If the costs continue increasing overtime and additional sales tax dollars are required, STA will be left with few options.

This tax increase will certainly have an effect on the cost and affordability of new construction as well, which is a large concern for us. We estimate that a $250,000 home will see an increase of about $475. That’s enough to price out of the market well over 100 families. The value of home ownership is huge. It’s a great investment for families, it enhances the local economy, and it makes a big difference on the quality of local schools.

Increasing taxes has many unintended consequences and we believe everyone deserves to be aware of this.

We think STA should spend more time and energy focusing on how to either increase the share of operating costs contributed by riders, which is currently only a meager 16%, or it should look for alternative opportunities to generate non-fare, non-taxpayer subsidized revenue. One area to consider is creating better partnerships with the private sector to generate sponsorship/advertising dollars.

In addition, nothing indicates plans are in motion to lower administrative costs, which have been steadily increasing and are up 96% since 2006 – including increases seen during the recession.

There are also questions concerning the level of cash STA keeps on hand year-after-year. The designated reserves fund for STA has ranged from about $13 million to $20 million over the past few years, however (according to STA’s online posted budgets) they have never maintained less than about $40 million cash on hand going back to 2008 – the average is closer to $48 million. Why so much more cash than what’s required? In theory, the excess revenue is meant to support capital projects, but year-after-year the cash on hand really doesn’t vary too significantly. Certainly we want public entities to be quite diligent in how they budget, but maintaining millions of dollars in excess of their designated reserves may indicate they are asking for unnecessarily excessive revenues/taxes.

One thing we really appreciate about Central Valley School District was how hard they worked to find ways to preserve tax payer dollars before they went back to the ballot, such as saving considerable money by rehabbing an old box store for use as a school. We can also look to the inventive approach taken by the City of Spokane where they found ways to combine utilities and street improvements in order to provide a much better value for taxpayers. We wish STA would have followed their lead as they developed this package.

If a tax increase for STA is absolutely necessary, it should only come after every alternative has been considered and we really don’t believe we are there yet.

STA Bus Service to Post Falls and Coeur d’Alene – Perhaps there is an opportunity to make this connection, however this type of service should not be subsidized by local tax payers. This is a much more specialized service that makes more sense being paid for at the fare box. We would rather see STA work on more efficiencies and enhancements here at home before looking at expanding the scope of their service outside of our boundaries.

Again, we see value in a robust regional transportation network and we support cost effective transit opportunities. On this ballot measure, however, we will leave it to the voters to weigh the pros and cons and make their decision, but our name will not be listed as an endorser.

WHY WE ENDORSE POLITICAL CANDIDATES

Why we endorse political candidates
Michael Cathcart, Director of Government Affairs

There’s often a lot of debate surrounding the endorsement of political candidates. Does endorsing a candidate or candidates of a particular political persuasion make us a partisan organization? Should we be in the business of siding with one candidate over another? How do we know which candidate is most deserving of our support? What if an endorsement spurns a member or many members of our Association? These are questions that get routinely asked every year, especially as we approach election time. As a staff member and as someone with intimate knowledge of political campaigning and a strong familiarity with many of our local officials, it is my job to provide our Board of Directors with the necessary insights and guidance to answer those questions so that they can make the best decisions possible. On occasion there are differences of opinion among staff and among Board members, but everyone wants what is absolutely best for our Spokane Home Builders Association.

So let me make the case to you.

Does endorsing a candidate or candidates of a particular political persuasion make us a partisan organization?
This is a difficult question as the answer is really in the eye of the beholder. In all actuality though, we don’t endorse Republicans or Democrats. We endorse candidates who will support and hopefully champion our issues. So what are our issues? In a nutshell, we want policies that reduce taxation and regulation so that our members can focus on running their businesses, creating jobs, and supporting their families. We want government to be smarter, more transparent, and more efficient. Certainly, it gets more nuanced, but that’s really the gist. Now, by law, we are required to advertise the political parties of the candidates we support, however, I can guarantee you that party has almost zero factor in how our Board makes their decisions. We support one party, the “Pro-Growth” Party.

Should we be in the business of siding with one candidate over another?
The answer is yes, especially in instances where we know one candidate will do more for our industry, or where we know the other will simply create roadblocks. We can’t successfully advocate on the issues you expect us to if we don’t work to elect the right officials.

How do we know which candidate is most deserving of our support?
It’s not always easy, but the factors to consider are:

Support for our issues
Willing to listen and engage with us on our issues
Incumbency/track record
Association and community support
Electability

What if an endorsement spurns a member or many members of our Association?
It’s impossible to satisfy 100% of everyone 100% of the time. However, we work really hard to gather insights from our membership throughout the year and we are always encouraging feedback from you. So, if you have strong issues with a candidate or candidates we support, have supported in the past, or if you know of someone we need to consider in future elections, please let us know. Ultimately, we are all here to serve you and your guidance and input is crucial to do so effectively.

Finally, if we want to effectively represent you, it is critical that we endorse candidates. Passing good policy and stopping bad policy requires votes and without the right votes we are likely to get walked right over. When our candidates win we know we have someone who supports our issues and is open to hearing our opinions on legislation. We still have to work incredibly hard to keep them informed, but a close minded official will make that task impossible.

Elections matter. Endorsements matter. Winning matters. Responsible governing is what’s at stake.

Jay Inslee Continues His Carbon Crusade – Now Through Executive Order (Fiat)…

Tuesday morning, Governor Jay Inslee signed a climate change Executive Order. This Executive Order does a few things:

  • creates a 21-member Carbon Emissions Reduction Taskforce to provide recommendations on the design and implementation of a Cap n’ Trade program to be submitted to the legislature in January 2015. The Taskforce was handpicked by the governor more on this below;
  •  directs state agencies to eliminate the use of coal generated electricity;
  •  requires WSDOT to develop an action plan to promote “clean transportation, and study alternative transportation revenue sources such as a vehicle miles traveled fee and system wide tolling. In addition, OFM is tasked with evaluating the feasibility of a adopting a low carbon fuel standard;
  •  charges the state Department of Commerce with producing a program to develop and deploy renewable energy technology with an emphasis on solar power;
  • the Department of Commerce must also work with the State Building Code Council to accelerate a program promoting energy efficient building, including retrofitting;
  • the state Department of Ecology tasked with recommending updates to the state’s Greenhouse Gas emission standards by July of 2014.

Studies have shown that the cost of a low carbon fuel standard could lead to increased gas prices of over $1 a gallon. That’s $1 dollar more just so a few folks in Olympia can feel good about themselves. This won’t create one inch of new infrastructure and in fact it may make it much more difficult for new infrastructure to get built down the line.

A vehicle miles traveled program, which is also something being looked at through all of this will not only create a privacy nightmare for you, your family, and your business, but it will punish you financially the more you drive in a year.

How do you think these types of programs will impact the cost of freight moving through the state…like your materials and supplies? How about the direct increase of your own transportation costs?

A cap n’ trade program that puts limits on the carbon emissions on businesses in Washington State may not directly impact small businesses at first, but you can rest assured that those larger businesses feeling it in the wallet will most certainly pass the costs downward on to you, your business, and your family.

Are you ready for the Department of Commerce trying to create new mandates and regulations on how you build new construction? If you think the current energy code is too strict, just wait…

So just who has Jay Inslee appointed to help him make these decisions? Take a look:

Governor Inslee’s handpicked 21-member Carbon Emission Reduction Taskforce

  • Rodney Brown, Environmental Lawyer ($1800 contributor to Jay Inslee)
  • Ada Healey, Real Estate, ($500 contributor to Jay Inslee)
  • Dow Constantine, Democrat King County Executive
  • Perry England, Vice President McDonald-Miller, ($2250 contributor to Jay Inslee)
  • Adam Glickman, SEIU 775, (contributed $340 to Jay Inslee + well over $160,000 in independent expenditures supporting Jay Inslee)
  • KC Golden, Senior Policy Analyst for Climate Solutions, ($1790 contributor to Jay Inslee)
  • Jay Gordon, Washington Dairy Federation
  • Kimberly Harris, Puget Sound Energy ($1500 contributor to Jay Inslee)
  • Jeff Johnson, Washington State Labor Council ($1500 direct contributor to Jay Inslee + $900 direct from WSLC + untold thousands )
  • Renee Klein, American Lung Association, ($100 contributor to Jay Inslee)
  • Dennis McLerran, Environmental Protection Agency ($1,375 contributor to Jay Inslee)
  • Colin Moseley, Green Diamond Resource Company ($3200 contributor to Rob McKenna)
  • Dave Myers, Washington State Building trades Council
  • Mark Reddemann, Energy Northwest ($500 contributor to Jay Inslee & $1000 contributor to Rob McKenna)
  • Fawn Sharp, Quinault Nation
  • Virinder Singh, EDF Renewables
  • Rich Stolz, OneAmerica ($35,000 in Independent Expenditures supporting Jay Inslee)
  • Brad Tilden, Alaska Air Group ($1800 to Jay Insley through Alaska Air & $1500 direct contributor to Rob McKenna)
  • Remy Trupin, Washington State Budget and Policy Center
  • Steve Wright, Chelan County Public Utility District
  • Chris Youngmark, United Steelworkers District 12

What do you think? Fair and Balanced or just an echo chamber for Inslee’s failed (and costly) ideas? 

STATEMENT FROM SPOKANE HOME BUILDERS ASSOCIATION ON SPOKANE MAYOR DAVID CONDON’S VETO OF ORDINANCE C35079

For Immediate Release

03-31-2014

STATEMENT FROM SPOKANE HOME BUILDERS ASSOCIATION ON SPOKANE MAYOR DAVID CONDON’S VETO OF ORDINANCE C35079

Spokane, WASH – Michael Cathcart, the Director of Government Affairs for the Spokane Home Builders Association (SHBA) released the following statement regarding Spokane Mayor David Condon’s veto of Ordinance C35079 today:

“We appreciate the decision made by Mayor Condon to veto this ordinance. The ordinance was legally questionable to begin with, was rushed through to a vote of the Council with no public participation, and no studies were conducted on how its implementation would impact housing affordability or business recruitment in our region.

The SHBA maintains our eager willingness to join with local elected officials and other solution minded stakeholders to develop positive, pro-growth alternative policies that will benefit Spokane and the region.”

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Rep. Short & Sen. Ericksen Push for Low Cost Alternatives in Climate Plan; Urge Continued Legislative Role in State Climate Actions

On page 1 of their own CLEW report, Rep. Short and Sen. Ericksen call for continued work to “provide legislators with the data necessary to make informed decisions.” Right off the bat they recognize that these decisions are to be made ultimately by the Legislature. They specifically use language in the report such as, Legislation should be enacted…,” and the Legislature should form…” Clearly a stark contrast exists between the two sides in their views over the role of the Executive and Legislative branches of government.

You can view their report in its entirety by clicking here.

Here are the ideas proposed by Rep. Shelly Short and Sen. Doug Ericksen:

  • Incentivize hydroelectric power generation
  • Replace fossils fuels with nuclear generation
  • Promote research and development (R&D) for new technologies
  • Encourage conservation under the Energy Independence Act (I-937)
  • Allow renewable energy credit banking under I-937
  • Modify fuel mix reporting system

Gov. Inslee Ignores Legislature’s Role; Continues Push for Potentially Costly New State Programs

Governor Inslee has refused for weeks to back away from his consideration of implementing low carbon fuel standards and possibly other actions such as Cap N’ Trade by Executive Order. This has been an issue largely seen as a killer for any transportation deals this year.

In the CLEW report issued this week by Governor Inslee, Senator Ranker, and Rep. Fitzgibbon, the Governor uses this as another opportunity to vaguely state the role he believes the Legislature should have in these decisions. On page 4 the report states, “The Legislature should be actively engaged in this process through an ongoing executive and legislative dialogue on the actions we should take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions….once specific proposals emerge, they will be subject to review by legislators, stakeholders, and our citizens.”

On page 13 the report states, “To meet the Workgroup’s statutory obligation, we have identified a set of actions that will secure the additional emission reductions by the required dates and are recommending that the state move forward to design and implement these actions.” Then as the report is wrapping up and addressing the “Future Process and Timeline” on page 16, it states that “policy designs and economic analysis should be organized and conducted by the executive branch in 2014,” and again reiterates the role of the legislature will be to engage in a dialogue and review proposals.

Brazenly, the notion of Legislators taking action on any of the proposals is ignored, instead limiting the role to having a dialogue and allowing a review of materials. Clearly, the Governor’s lengthy stay in the US Congress somehow never educated him on the concept of separation of powers.

You can view the entire report by clicking here.

The recommendations from the Governor includes:

  • Establish a Cap N’ Trade Program (The report calls it a Cap N’ Market Program)
  • Reduce and Eliminate Power by Coal in Washington State
  • Create an Energy Smart Building Programs – Include incentives and financing for energy neutral development.
  • Finance the use of Clean/Renewable Energy Programs
  • Transportation Adjustments – Accelerate the use of clean cars, cleaner fuels, and change the way we finance transportation. Add Climate Change considerations to Land Use plans.