Inslee’s capital budget tour is getting on Republicans’ nerves

OLYMPIA — Jay Inslee is back on the road this week with his “Ain’t Got No Capital Budget Blues” Tour.

He’s traveling to Snohomish County Thursday where he’s booked for two appearances in Monroe, first at Park Place Middle School and then at the ball fields at Lake Tye Park.

The Democratic governor launched the tour in July and has performed in numerous counties including Grays Harbor, Pacific, Yakima, Pierce, King and Skagit. If Thursday’s event goes like those earlier ones, he’ll open with an uplifting tune about the historic achievements of the 2017 legislative session: increased funding for schools, expanded mental health support services and a new paid family leave law.

Then he’ll follow with an extended ballad on the day the capital budget died. It’s a tale of how the failure of lawmakers to approve a new two-year, $4.2 billion capital construction budget has meant no new money to carry out projects in every corner of the state including Monroe.

Lawmakers settled on the budget’s content but the Republican-led Senate refused to vote on the bill absent agreement on a response to the Hirst decision from the state Supreme Court. The ruling aimed to protect water rights for people and fish but also left thousands of rural property owners wondering if they’ll be able to build a home and drill a well. Inslee is using the tour to update community leaders on the situation and pressure members of the Senate majority to de-link the two issues.

On Thursday, he’s traveling to the heart of a Republican legislative district, the 39th, and, coincidentally, a school attended by children of the area’s state senator, Kirk Pearson. If Inslee does as he did in Skagit County in late July, he’ll call out Pearson as one of the GOP senators he hopes changes their mind.

Pearson, who didn’t get invited to Thursday’s event, said the governor’s strategy won’t weaken his resolve.

“To try and play the ‘Shame on Kirk Pearson’ game is bad form. I’ve been in the Legislature 17 years and never had to go through this,” he said. “I have no doubt we’ll have a capital budget eventually but the Supreme Court put us in this spot.”

Inslee has not held any public event aimed at encouraging a resolution of the Hirst situation. Maybe he should, Pearson suggested. He might gain a better understanding of concerns created by the court’s decision on residents in Pearson’s district and other rural areas.

“This is not easy. Maybe a few thousand people in rural areas do not matter to him because they may not vote for him,” the senator said. “But there are people out there hurting and I am trying to help them.”

Sounds like this situation has everyone singing the blues.

Expletive deleted

Tim Eyman insists arguments in favor of a sales tax hike measure in Mukilteo are “B.S.” and contends it’s his right to say it that plainly in the taxpayer-funded voter’s pamphlet.

Snohomish County Auditor Carolyn Weikel doesn’t. She won’t let him use the term. She considers it profane, and under her interpretation of county rules, inappropriate for use in the voter guide.

On Tuesday, Weikel emailed Eyman with two choices.

She gave him until 5 p.m. Thursday to submit a new statement against the measure and rebuttal to the argument of supporters, minus any objectionable term.

Or he could appeal her decision to the Snohomish County prosecutor.

Guess which option Eyman chose?

“I find it unacceptable and disturbing that the government can censor speech in the quintessential public forum, the voters pamphlet,” Eyman emailed Weikel Tuesday, adding he hoped the prosecutor “has a less prudish filter than you do.”

Political reporter Jerry Cornfield’s blog, The Petri Dish, is at www.heraldnet.com. Contact him at 360-352-8623;jcornfield@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @dospueblos.

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