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Published: Sunday, October 28, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Where Jay Inslee, Rob McKenna stand on the issues

  • Jay Inslee, left, and Rob McKenna

    Jay Inslee, left, and Rob McKenna

Democrat Jay Inslee and Republican Rob McKenna are locked in one of the most competitive gubernatorial races in the country. Here's how the candidates stand on some of the major issues.

Economy


Inslee: Wants to target tax breaks and aid toward clusters of industries, such as clean energy and life sciences, and increase transfer of research and development from the University of Washington and Washington State University to the private sector. Proposes 75 projects, small and large, to spur growth of private-sector jobs.

McKenna: Wants to ease the regulatory burden, streamline the permitting process for businesses, increase the business-and-occupation tax credit, lower unemployment insurance costs to employers and open up the worker compensation system to competition.

Taxes


Inslee: Opposes new statewide taxes or increase in existing taxes, such as the sales tax. Pledges to veto any new tax, except in the case of a revenue package to pay for transportation projects or in the case of tax exemptions that may be repealed. Opposes Initiative 1185, which would require a two-thirds majority in the Legislature to raise taxes.

McKenna: Opposes new statewide taxes. Supports an increase in the gas tax as part of a revenue package to pay for a transportation package. Pledges to veto any new tax, except if part of a transportation package or in the case of a tax exemption being repealed. Supports a swap of state property tax levies for local school levies, which might result in higher property taxes for some residents.

State budget


Inslee: Wants to save money by expanding use of management efficiency approach known as LEAN and by reducing the amount of money the state pays for employee health care. Supports closing tax loopholes as a way of generating revenue.

McKenna: Wants to cap growth of non-education spending at 6 percent per biennium, reduce the state's share of health-care costs for state workers, increase efficiency of agencies and not fill every vacancy in state government.

Obamacare


Inslee: Voted for the law while serving in Congress. Supports proceeding with full expansion of Medicaid, as envisioned in the law.

McKenna: Joined a legal challenge to overturn the federal health-care law, though he says he only sought to repeal parts of it. Says he will consider expanding eligibility for Medicaid but wants to wait until the federal government provides a six-year plan showing how it will be funded.

Charter schools


Inslee: Opposes charter schools and will vote against Initiative 1240.

McKenna: Supports charter schools and will vote for Initiative 1240, which would allow establishment of eight schools per year to a maximum of 40.

Transportation


Inslee: Says he will aim for, but will not promise, to put a transportation funding package in front of voters sometime in his first two years and that all potential sources of revenue should be on the table for consideration in the package.

McKenna: Pledges to put a transportation funding package on the ballot in the first two years of his term. Supports inclusion of tolls and a gas tax increase in the package but not a statewide motor vehicle excise tax.

State ferries


Inslee: Opposes privatization and supports including ferries in any transportation funding package put before voters. Opposes reducing service below existing levels.

McKenna: Opposes privatization and delegating authority to a regional ferry district; says he will fire the head of the ferries division.

Light rail


Inslee: Supports light rail in general and specific use on the I-90 bridge over Lake Washington and on a new bridge over the Columbia River.

McKenna: Opposes light rail on I-90 and questions the value of building it over the Columbia.

Immigration


Inslee: Supports Washington's system for licensing drivers who are not required to prove their legal residency and says the state has properly tightened rules to prove drivers live here.

McKenna: Wants to require drivers to provide Social Security numbers, though he says there might be a means to provide a license to them which cannot also be used for identification.

Marijuana


Inslee: Opposes Initiative 502 to regulate and tax the recreational use of marijuana by those aged 21 and over but says he would respect and defend the will of the voters if it passes.

McKenna: Opposes Initiative 502.

Same-sex marriage


Inslee: Supports same-sex marriage and will vote to approve Referendum 74 to uphold a state law allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry.

McKenna: Opposes gay marriage and will vote to reject R-74.

Abortion


Inslee: Supports a woman's right to an abortion. Supports the Reproductive Parity Act requiring insurance plans funded or administered by the state to cover abortions if they also cover maternity care.

McKenna: Supports a woman's right to an abortion. Opposes the Reproductive Parity Act because of concerns it would jeopardize federal funding.

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