Is K-12 education fully funded? Not so fast

In 2009 I voted against an “education reform” bill that, amidst devastating cuts, promised fully-funding K-12 education by 2018. As I asked then, how could we expect future Legislatures to possess the courage of our convictions if even we didn’t possess that courage?

The 2009 bill’s promise was to avoid litigation, now known as the “McCleary case,” over K-12 funding inadequacy. The Washington state Supreme Court saw through the smokescreen and, in August 2015, began imposing a $100,000 daily contempt-of-court fine upon the Legislature for not progressing toward its self-imposed goal.

This year’s never-ending legislative process produced what Gov. Jay Inslee proclaimed “a historic budget that fully funds our schools for the first time in more than 30 years.” Other Democrats echoed his exultations, labeling “Democratic” a budget borne out of a Republican Senate, a claim that ignores nine Senate Democratic no votes, and frothing in a press release that it “adds $7.3 billion to Washington schools.”

Not so fast: Education isn’t fully-funded.

The $7.3 billion figure reportedly fails to subtract billions lost from local property tax revenues. The Legislature has added by subtraction before, as it did in 2013 by shamelessly counting $295.5 million in denied K-12 cost-of-living increases toward a “$1 billion funding increase.” It’s doubtful the high court will be fooled.

 The budget also spreads new funding over four years, when truly meeting McCleary might require $5 billion more just by next year. It relies upon fickle property tax revenue and various gimmicks, like diverting $5.5 million from the litter account. It may also fail to fix a broken mental health system — where federal contempt-of-court fines have exceeded $21.5 million so far this year.

Political triumphalism is inevitable. But Carter McCleary was 7 years old when the McCleary litigation was filed. He graduated from high school last month. My son starts high school this fall. Am I wrong to feel impatient about the state meeting its constitutional “paramount duty”?

I also worry about the budget’s unsustainability. As a House member, I voted against budgets on that basis.

The 2007 budget, for example, was “balanced” by breaking a 1998 pension promise — largely for teachers. The state reacted to the Great Recession by decimating programs and denying state workers’ wage increases for eight years. It was heart-wrenching.

Washington continues to use baling wire and volatile revenue sources for budgets, and we are only ever a volatile president’s actions (perhaps tweets) away from another recession. The Washington state Supreme Court has, rightly, insisted on “dependable revenue sources” for K-12.

You can’t separate a budget from its shaky revenue foundation. So why should the public demand progressive tax reform if even Democrats claim progressive aims were “fully” achieved by regressive means? Settling for less is learned helplessness.

It happened in 2009, when I opposed cuts initially characterized as “cuts that will kill” — in a half-hearted case for new revenue — that rhetorically transformed into “cuts with a conscience.” The next year, Democratic super-majorities mustered courage and finally raised taxes upon … candy. Budget secrecy — culminating this year in voting on a budget no one had read — hardly helps make the tax reform case, either.

The public can handle honesty. While it might not serve the aims of political rhetoric, it would be honest to admit trying hard, as I know many legislators did, but falling short in key respects. The public must, again, hope for that honesty from the state Supreme Court.

Originally published at HeraldNet

What are we getting out of Boeing’s tax breaks?

As a young girl, my daughter had a fear of flying. She overcame this through a thorough study of airplanes and landed on the 737 as her preferred means of transportation in the air. So naturally, she asked for a Boeing T-shirt for a present. It says, “If it’s not Boeing, I’m not going!”

So let’s talk about Boeing. You might expect that Boeing would treat Everett as the jewel in the crown of its operations. That is certainly what the Boeing management led legislators and the governor to believe when the company demanded first a $3.2 billion tax concession from the state, and then another $8.7 billion.

But what did this recent tax giveaway to Boeing get us? A loss of close to 12,000 jobs, 15% of the total Boeing workforce in our state. That means that the state gave Boeing about $138,000 for every single job they took away!

Boeing just heralded its new 787-10, built in South Carolina. This was the first Boeing jet to make its first flight outside of Puget Sound. The company is forecasting that production of the earlier 787 models may slow down. Where will the planes not be built? Well, naturally, not in Boeing’s old home of Washington. That tax money we gave them? It just finances outsourcing of jobs and investment to other states and countries.

Boeing is spending billions of dollars in South Carolina and not in our state just to stick it to the unionized workers, the machinists and the engineers, in our state. There is no other reason, financial or otherwise, to forsake decades of investment in plant and workers. Remember how all this got started: Boeing took over McDonnell Douglas in 1997, but actually the McDonnell Douglas management took over Boeing. Right away, they went looking for a new Boeing corporate headquarters, not in Seattle.

The guy who oversaw this flight from and fleecing of our state was Harry Stonecipher. He dreamed up outsourcing the 787 to Japan, Italy, South Carolina and other places, which resulted in billions of dollars of cost overruns when the quality of this outsourcing was not good enough to fly safely in the new airplane.

As Jim Albaugh, chief of Commercial Airplanes at Boeing, explained in January 2011, “We spent a lot more money in trying to recover than we ever would have spent if we’d tried to keep the key technologies closer to home.” But Stonecipher was not fired for his mismanagement of Boeing, he was fired for his mismanagement of his personal life after it came out he was having an affair with another Boeing manager.

Washington has not only given billions to Boeing in tax breaks, it has invested in workers’ education to insure a pipeline of skilled employees for Boeing. At Edmonds Community College, the Washington Aerospace Training and Research Center teaches manufacturing assembly, electrical assembly, quality assurance, aerospace tooling and aerospace composites. Everett Community College has both the Center of Excellence for Aerospace and Advanced Manufacturing and an aviation maintenance technology program. In 2012, the Legislature established the Aerospace and Advanced Manufacturing Pipeline Advisory Committee.

However, with Boeing’s job drain, we do not need a pipeline. These workers are picked off by companies in other states, with no investment by those states. Recently SPEEA, the Boeing engineers union, sent out a notice to its members about Lockheed Martin holding a Seattle job fair to hire for positions in California and Texas. So now aerospace companies are poaching Boeing workers from our state. These workers have been educated thanks to our public investments in K-12 and higher education to supply Boeing with a skilled workforce. Now Boeing does not need or want these workers.

Boeing is indeed going. There is no reason why the state of Washington must pay them to go. The Legislature should immediately close that $8.7 billion tax loophole, and put that money into education from pre-kindergarten through college. Then we would have workers ready for Washington companies, including aerospace companies, who are committed to our state. Boeing is not one of those.

Originally published a the Everett Herald

Lead with Vision, Governor Inslee – Transform Rail from Problem to Solution

PETITION: Governor Inslee – Champion a Just Transition to Safer, Sustainable Railroads via Solutionary Rail

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee, MosierBombTrainGIFMedSpeed.gif

The June 3, 2016 explosive oil train derailment in Mosier, Oregon reminded us that the railroads that run through our communities are being utilized in ways that are endangering public health and safety, polluting our water and air, and ultimately harming our oceans and climate. Current railroad uses also negatively impact agriculture shipments, strand rural communities, delay passenger trains, and displace other higher-value potential for rail. As we have told you before, this does not have to be the case.  We need your leadership to change it.  And we need it now.

Bomb Trains have no place in the railroad industry’s business model nor in the future of safe and sustainable rail transport.  We therefore echo our allies in the call for a moratorium on the shipping of explosive Bakken oil through our communities.  But it is not enough to say “No.” That is why we have worked for three years to craft a vision to which all can proclaim a  resounding  “YES!” 

Solutionary Rail is a proposal that places railroads at the center of a sustainable transport infrastructure redefining the future of US rail.  It charts a path that overcomes the impediments to infrastructure improvement on our privately owned railroads through public-private partnership to finance, build and run a publicly owned electrification and transmission system.  It mandates that this system be fed by distributed renewable energy generation along the route and raises the bar on protecting railroad workers and communities along the tracks.

Solutionary Rail is a catalyst project that creates synergies for positive movement and a broader just transition away from fossil fuel use and transport.
Shipping freight by electrified rail is efficient, requiring approximately 10-25 percent of the energy required to ship by diesel truck.  Rail electrification results in dramatic capacity improvements and track speeds up to 80 and 120 MPH for high-value freight and passengers respectively.  Electrifying corridors unlocks the potential for distributed renewable energy generation and prosperity for rural communities, tribes, and power co-operatives along the route.

Running rail on renewable energy results in near-zero carbon emissions. This addresses trains’ contribution to rural and urban public health problems caused by burning diesel. Rail electrification will nearly eliminate the need for long-haul trucking and therefore reduce that source of emissions as well.  This will make freeways more safe, less burdened by the trucks that cause the most traffic fatalities and exact a disproportionate physical toll on the infrastructure itself.

Solutionary Rail is a key component of a just transition away from the fossil fuel economy. Improvements in speed, service and capacity will draw passengers and freight off deteriorating, overcrowded freeways and clogged airports and back onto the trains and tracks. This increase in capacity combined with establishing regular freight and passenger schedules will improve service and undue a systemic cause of worker fatigue.  No longer living without a schedule, on call 24/7/365 rail workers and communities they travel through will be safer and happier.

Farmers and businesses will be able to confidently rely on rail to ship their crops and products to market in a timely manner. This increase in higher value use will displace railroads’ current business model dependent upon the transport of dirty and dangerous fossil fuel commodities.  It will be replaced by a business model that serves rail companies, their workers, and the communities and regional economies they connect.

Solutionary Rail’s phase I is the route from Salish Sea to the Great Lakes, principally on BNSF’s Northern Transcon.  Successful rail electrification and modernization in the United States must start with a successful demonstration on a major rail line.  The Northern Transcon is a nationally important transport route, crossing diverse weather patterns and regional economies. It offers the perfect opportunity to successfully demonstrate rail electrification’s potential to deliver of renewed vitality for US railroads and economy.

Electrified, higher-speed rail provides the foundation for sustainable jobs and prosperity through improved transportation access and stable long-term costs. By spurring the creation of a Steel Interstate Development Authority to finance electrification with low interest public bonds and building a rail electrification partnership with BNSF and others across the Northern Transcon, you Governor Inslee will be making Washington State a launch pad for the clean energy revolution you have long sought. We implore you Governor Inslee to lead with vision and champion the Solutionary Rail proposal.

SR-Map-Cab-BuildoutGIF.gifHere are the action steps we need you to take Governor Inslee: 

  • Personally Champion the Solutionary Rail vision for a future railroad industry and infrastructure that is no longer dependent upon shipping dirty and dangerous fossil fuel commodities.
  • Create an executive level task force of cabinet and agency leads to work with the Solutionary Rail technical team to study and enhance the proposal and guarantee that its key public benefit components cannot be negotiated away.
  • Convene a leadership summit, drawing in relevant governors, agency and elected officials to adopt an implementations plan for this inter-jurisdictional proposal and a pathway for creating a multi-state Steel Interstate Development Authority able to implement Solutionary Rail’s phase I pilot from the Salish Sea to the Great Lakes.
  • Negotiate a win/win partnership with Northern Transcon railroad owners including BNSF and its owner, Berkshire Hathaway led by Warren Buffett to access all necessary right of ways to build out and maintain the electrification and transmission infrastructure across the Solutionary Rail phase I corridor.
  • Begin the electrification build-out and development of stranded renewable energy assets across Solutionary Rail route, and transition to a duel powered and pure electric locomotive fleet for higher-speed freight and passenger rail to creates new customers and draw old ones off of the roads and back onto the tracks.

So once again Governor Inslee:

We the undersigned call upon you to be the champion we and future generations need you to be. Re-spark your passion for clean renewable solutions articulated in your book Apollo’s Fire.  Protect our land and people from bomb trains and the fossil fuel driven economy. Lead boldly and use your power to get railroads on a track to a future we can all be proud of. 

Champion Backbone Campaign’s Solutionary Rail proposal.

With Respect and Urgency,

Solutionary Rail Team
The Backbone Campaign
& Undersigning Allies

The Divided Left revisited

The Divided Left in America is a major problem, and it’s come to fore in the discussions on social media about whether Bernie should run as an independent and about whether Bernie supporters should work within the Democratic Party.

Progressive Democrats are desperately trying to reform the Democratic Party but lack numbers. As a result the corporate Dems win. Greens,Socialists and others further to the left flee the Democratic Party and support candidates like Ralph Nader, Jill Stein, and Rocky Anderson. Nationally, these third party candidates win maybe a few percent of the votes and fail to organize effective political organizations. For example, they don’t typically have statewide candidates.

In short, angry Dems flee the Democratic Party, allowing the corporatists and hawks to win. In contrast, angry conservatives take over the GOP and push it further to the right.

In local races, candidates like Kshama Sawant can win a city like Seattle. But statewide (e.g., in the suburbs) they are perceived as too radical by most people. (Bernie Sanders is more of a social democrat than a democratic socialist; he harmed his chances by calling himself a socialist. Noam Chomsky and others agree with this view.)

I understand that working within the Democratic Party is difficult, dirty, unpleasant work. Whoever said the Revolution would be pleasant?

Still, I’m not condemning those people who flee the Democratic Party. I understand why they do it. The leadership is corrupted. This is clear nationally. Statewide, Inslee voted to give $8.7 billion to Boeing, and he allowed the charter schools bill to become law. In my LD (41st) there are many good Dems but the LD allows our legislators to betray us: Tana Senn and Judy Clibborn both voted for Steve Litzow’s (R, 41 LD) charter schools bill, despite the fact that the state Supreme Court ruled charter schools are unconstitutional; despite the fact that McCleary isn’t yet funded; and despite the fact the the state party platform says “We oppose charter schools.” Many (most?) of the 41st LD Dem PCOs are pissed, but the LD leadership treats me like a dangerous outsider. They also disliked my criticisms of Hillary’s hawkishness.

The PDA pursues an inside-outside strategy that allows people to work but within and outside of the Democratic Party. That’s perhaps necessary but it’s not ideal.

Anyway, any ideas for uniting the left? For years I have been promoting the idea of a shared media platform where people post articles and discuss things. Progressives and socialists are supposed to believe in cooperation for the common good. Fact is: people don’t work together too well.

Microsoft & Boeing receive billions in tax breaks, fund astro-turf groups

There were big endorsements for Steve Litzow, Jay Inslee and others who support charter schools. The endorsements came from the charter-schools-loving League of Education Voters, which is funded by Microsoft, Boeing, the Seattle Foundation, the Gates Foundation, and others. Follow the money. Boeing and Microsoft enjoy massive tax breaks and use their money to fund astro-turf groups that buy campaign ads.

League of Education Voters backs Inslee, top Republicans.

The LEV also endorsed Democratic legislators who support charter schools, including Tana Senn and Judy Clibborn.

Follow the money.  The scam basically works like this. In exchange for the billions in tax breaks they receive, Gates, Microsoft and Boeing fund campaign ads via innocent-sounding astro-turf groups such as League of Education Voters and Stand for Children.  The ads will show attractive, smiling, obedient children sitting in classrooms and listening to the teacher.

Contrary to the statement in the article, Gates, Boeing, and Microsoft are not independent at all. They’re self-interested tools of the 1%, intent on dismantling public education, attacking unions, and blaming teachers for outcomes that are the result of poverty and willful under-funding of education. Republicans and their neo-liberal Democratic allies under-fund government so it doesn’t work well and so that they can justify tax cuts for rich people and privatization of government services.

This is all at the expense of the middle class  and the poor, who pay the vast majority of state taxes here in Washington State, due to our regressive tax system.

Despite the $8.7 billion in tax breaks, Boeing still shipped jobs out-of-state.  See Tax-subsidized Boeing Co. snubs state again. Boeing profits enormously from government subsidies via its military business.  But it still avoids paying taxes.

Heck, Inlee’s major “accomplishments” as Governor are: handing $8.7 billion to Boeing and letting the charter school bill become law.

The charter schools bill, SB 6194, is in violation of the State Constitution; last year the state Supreme Court ruled that charter schools are unconstitutional. The bill steals money from public education at a time when the legislature is in contempt of court for not adequately funding public schools (McCleary decision).

The charter schools bill is also contrary to the state Democratic Party platform which states “We oppose charter schools.”

The following article about Bill Gates and his meddling in education policy helps explain why so many legislators continue to push for charter schools: Charitable Plutocracy: Bill Gates, Washington State and the Nuisance of Democracy.

Want to understand politics? Follow the money.

Follow the money.

For a related article see These Dems voted to undermine public schools, contravene the Constitution, and aid Republicans.

Resolution to censure these Democrats for undermining public education, contravening the Constitution, and aiding Republicans

WHEREAS Republicans have been trying for years to undermine public education by under-funding it and then blaming teachers and public schools for (poverty-related) low performance by students;

WHEREAS the State Constitution says that public education is the “paramount duty” of state government; that there should be a “general and uniform system of public schools”; and that “the entire revenue … shall be exclusively applied to the support of common schools”;

WHEREAS the state Supreme Court ruled in the McCleary decision that public schools are under-funded and later held the legislature in contempt for refusing to fund education;

WHEREAS the state Supreme Court ruled that charter schools are unconstitutional;

WHEREAS Democrats Judy Clibborn, Steve Hobbs,  Christopher Hurst, Ruth Kagi, Kristine Lytton, Jeff Morris, Mark Mullet, Eric Pettigrew, David Sawyer, Tana Senn, Larry Springer, Pat Sullivan, and Tim Sheldon voted for SB 6194, the charter school bill;

WHEREAS Governor Inslee allowed SB 6194 to become law;

WHEREAS  SB 6194 funds the existing charter schools and authorizes the creation of additional charter schools, even though McCleary is not yet funded; and

WHEREAS, regardless of whether the state Supreme Court rules SB 6194 to be unconstitutional, support by Democrats for SB 6194 legitimizes the notion of charter schools, empowers Republicans to argue that the current Supreme Court justices are too liberal, and moves the needle to the right on the issue of government funding for education;

WHEREAS the state Democratic Party Platform explicitly opposes charter schools;

WHEREAS handing a major bipartisan victory on this issue to Republicans in an election year strengthens their stature, gives them bragging rights, and increases the chances of their receiving funding from pro-charter school forces;

WHEREAS the narrow passage of I-1240 (the charter schools initiative) in 2012 was due to massive funding by the Walton family, Bill Gates, and other wealthy people opposed to public education;

WHEREAS the narrow support by the public for I-1240 is no justification for supporting charter schools, any more than past support by the public for Tim Eyman initiatives is any justification for supporting tax breaks for billionaires;

WHEREAS the charter school vote was contrary to the wishes of major Democratic constituencies, including Labor, teachers, and progressives;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that we Democrats censure the behavior of these lawmakers.

by Donald A. Smith, PhD, PCO (41st LD, Bellevue)

Why the Super Delegate Scam is Political Suicide for the Washington State Democratic Party

This is a message to the leaders of the Washington State Democratic Party: If you keep ignoring hundreds of thousands of independent voters, not only will we wind up with Donald Trump for President, but we will have a Republican Governor here in Washington State! Please read this article and please wake up to the reality of current voter preferences.

Here are a few math facts. There were about 150,000 people who pre-registered for the Washington Precinct Caucuses and 35,000 surrogate affidavits. Another 45,000 just showed up bringing the total to 230,000 caucus attendees. Most people indicated that it was their first caucus ever. They elected more than 26,000 delegates to the next level which is the Legislative District caucuses. Bernie Sanders won more than 19,000 of these delegates for 73% of the total vote. This should result in Bernie also winning 73% of the delegates to the Congressional Caucuses which should lead to Bernie winning 73% of the total 101 elected delegates – or about 75 delegates to Clinton’s 26 elected delegates. Bernie Sanders won in a landslide in every county in Washington state. This was the largest margin of victory of any Presidential caucus in Washington state history.


In addition, Washington State has 17 non-elected Super Delegates who supposedly can ignore the popular will of the people and vote for whoever they want. Ten of these super delegates have publicly supported Clinton. None so far have switched their support to Bernie Sanders despite his landslide victory on March 26th. If Clinton got all 17 Super Delegates, she would wind up with 43 delegates or 37% of the Washington delegates to the national convention even though she only got 27% of the votes at the Washington caucuses. The problem with rigging the nomination in this manner is that ignoring the will of the people is political suicide for the Washington State Democratic Party.

Here are some more math facts. Gallup polls show that since 2008, there has been a huge decline in the number of people who identify themselves as Democrats and Republicans and a dramatic rise in the number of people who identify as Independents.


If Democrats ignore this huge group of Independent voters we are likely to lose the 2016 Presidential election. All of the latest polls show Bernie Sanders is much more likely than Hillary Clinton to defeat Donald Trump. Why is it that Bernie is more likely to beat Donald Trump? The answer is that Hillary is simply not trusted. 74% of all Independent swing voters do not trust Hillary to tell the truth. This matters because Independent Voters are now 43% of all voters. They will decide who the next President will be!

A poll of more than five thousand Independent Voters by the Independent Voter Project found that Bernie Sanders had the approval of 45%, Donald Trump had 26% and Hillary Clinton only had 9%. Bernie leads Hillary 5 to 1 and Donald leads her by 3 to 1!!!

In fact, many more Americans trust Donald Trump (41%) than trust Hillary Clinton (33%).

But losing the Presidential election is only the beginning of our problems if leaders of the Democratic Party continue to ignore the will of Independent voters. Here in Washington State, Democrats hold a slight edge over Republicans but Independent voters hold a huge edge over either political party. Let’s assume that Washington State has 25% Republicans, 30% Democrats and 45% Independent voters. This means that at the Democratic Party Caucuses, out of the 230,000 people, about 130,000 were Independent Voters supporting Bernie and only 100,000 were actual Democrats.


Let’s further assume that 60% of actual Democrats supported Bernie and 40% supported Hillary but all of them would likely vote for either Bernie or Hillary in the General Election. This gives Hillary 40,000 Democratic votes and Bernie 60,000 Democratic votes. But Bernie beats Hillary among Independent votes by 5 to 1. Therefore, of the 130,000 Independent Voters at the caucuses, Bernie gets 110,000 Independent votes and Hillary gets 20,000. This gives Bernie a total vote of 170,000 votes and Hillary 60,000 votes. 170,000 votes just happens to be about 74% which closely matches what Bernie actually got.

These 110,000 Independent Washington Voters already think the Democratic Party is corrupt. They are only going to turn out and vote for the Democratic Party if Bernie is at the head of the ticket. So all loyal Democrats ought to be working like mad to make sure Bernie is at the head of the ticket.

But it is as important to re-elect Jay Inslee Governor as it is to elect a Democrat for President. The last thing leaders of the Democratic Party should be doing at this point is making 110,000 Independent Voters here in Washington State very, very angry. For example, here is just one of hundreds of emails I have received from Bernie supporters about the super delegate scam:

To Whom It May Concern,

The Democratic Party is playing with fire…”Super-Delegates” are an elitist and anti-democratic invention that dis-enfranchises the actual Delegates lawfully elected by their neighbors.National Democratic Party hacks are screwing with the wrong people!

That email came from a Bernie delegate elected in the 36th Legislative District. But it mirrors emails I have been getting from all across Washington state. I am getting exhausted just trying to respond to all of these emails. If you think that these 110,000 Independent Bernie supporters who took the time to show up at their precinct caucuses do not matter, then think again. Here is how the 2012 race for Governor in Washington State turned out:


Note that Jay Inslee won by only 100,000 votes in 2012. Make 110,000 Independent Swing voters mad and suddenly the Republican candidate for Governor wins by 100,000 votes and we get an anti-union Republican running our state into the ground. In fact, even if only 50,000 of these Independent Bernie votes vote for the Republican candidate for Governor, we wind up with a Republican Governor.

The real question here is why Jay Inslee and the other leaders of the Washington State Democratic Party have not figured this out. Are they nuts? Do they want to commit political suicide by making so many Independent Washington voters this angry during an election year?

Sadly, Jay Inslee and the other leaders of the Washington State Democratic Party have not figured this out. For Jay and the rest of the leaders of the Washington State Democratic Party to endorse Clinton in the first place shows that they are completely out of touch with the voters. It was only a few years ago that the Washington State Democratic Party had commanding majorities in the Washington State Senate and House. Then leaders of the Democratic Party decided to gut billions of dollars in funding for public schools and colleges in order to pay for billions of dollars in tax breaks for wealthy multinational corporations like Microsoft and Boeing. As a result, the Republican Party has already taken over the Washington State Senate and they are likely to take over the Washington State House. If leaders of the Democratic Party do not wake up, Republicans will also take over the Governor’s office in the 2016 election.

The only thing that might save the Washington State Democratic Party at this point is for Jay Inslee and every other Washington State Super Delegate to publicly and immediately switch their endorsement from Hillary Clinton to Bernie Sanders. There is a precedent for doing this. In 2008, nearly all Washington State Democratic Party leaders initially supported Hillary. But after Obama won the 2008 Washington Caucuses, nearly all of these leaders wisely switched their support to Obama. While Clinton initially had a big lead in Super Delegates in 2008, by May 2008, most of these Super Delegates switched to Obama.


Leaders of the Washington State Democratic Party should not wait until May. The voters of Washington state have already spoken. By a 3 to 1 margin, they favor Bernie Sanders. But the all important Independent Voters favor Bernie by a 5 to 1 margin. We will need these Independent voters if we are to re-elect Jay Inslee this fall.

What about the Presidential Race?
Despite the Democratic National Committee rigging the Democratic Nomination process by having all of the Southern Conservative Democratic states voting first, Clinton only has a 55% to 45% advantage over Bernie in elected delegates. Bernie is likely to win nearly all of the remaining states. Put another way, Hillary is only ahead by about 230 delegates with about 1750 delegates left to choose. We are barely half way through with the Democratic nomination process. And among the 22 Northern and Western States, we are just beginning. There are still 18 states left to vote. If Bernie wins in Wisconsin, New York, Pennsylvania and California, he will almost certainly have more elected delegates than Hillary. California alone, which will vote on June 7th, has 475 elected delegates. So Bernie could actually close the entire gap in just this single state. New York has 247 delegates and will vote on April 19th. Pennsylvania has 189 delegates and will vote on April 26th. If Bernie gets even 55% of the vote in these states, he wins the popular vote.

Even the latest national polls now show Sanders ahead of Clinton. For example, the latest Bloomberg poll taken before the landslide wins in Washington, Alaska and Hawaii, showed Sanders ahead of Clinton. Just a few months earlier, this same poll had Clinton ahead by more than 60%. So the trend is rapidly turning to Bernie.


If this trend continues, by the time the California primary gets here on June 7th, Bernie will have over 60% of the voters and will secure the votes needed for the Democratic Nomination – assuming the Super Delegates do the right thing and support the candidate who is supported by the majority of the voters.

Finally, the latest poll out of Wisconsin has Bernie Sanders ahead of Clinton 49% to 44%.

But what is even more revealing is that Bernie has a net favorability rating of Plus 6 while Hillary has a rating of minus 24 to the following question: Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Hillary Clinton or haven’t you heard enough about her yet?


Here is how the same group in Wisconsin thought of Bernie:


As the following question confirms, Bernie would defeat Trump in a landslide:

If the election for president were being held today and the candidates were Bernie Sanders the Democrat, and Donald Trump the Republican, for whom would you vote?


The voters also overwhelmingly favor Bernie’s call to have the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes:

In general, would you favor or oppose increasing taxes on wealthy Americans and large corporations in order to help reduce income inequality in the U.S.?


This final question confirms the huge influence of Independent Voters in the 2016 election:

Generally speaking, do you usually think of yourself as a Republican, a Democrat, or an Independent?

In the meantime, Jay Inslee is shooting himself in the foot by continuing to support Hillary Clinton even after 73% of the voters said they favor Bernie Sanders. If you read this article and you know Jay, please share it with him. The sooner Jay wakes up and supports Bernie, the more likely he is to be re-elected.

We hope you will also contact all 17 Washington State Super Delegates and ask them this important question: Are you willing to risk losing the Washington State Governors Race by offending hundreds of thousands of Independent Voters in this election year just to support Hillary Clinton? Let them know that it will be their fault if a Republican Governor is elected in Washington state this year. Here is a link to the contact information for all 17 Washington State Super Delegates.

Originally published at

What's wrong with Washington State voters? And how can we educate them?

Washington State voters approved Tim Eyman’s latest initiative I-1366 by 51.5% to 48.5% (

How many of them realized that the initiative makes it very difficult to eliminate tax loopholes (“preferences”) for special interests?

How many of them realized that the state is under court order to find billions of additional dollars to fund education?

Even the Seattle Times recommended voting against I-1366.

There were four (non-binding) advisory votes on the ballot this year. These measures asked the voters whether they wanted to Maintain or Repeal fee increases and tax-preference repeals passed by the legislature. Voters advised maintaining two of the measures; they advised rejecting the other two.

Did the voters who voted to repeal Senate Bill 6138 know what they were voting about?

SB 6138 was sponsored by Republican Senator Andy Hill, the head budget negotiator for the Republicans. In the GOP-controlled Senate, SB 6138 passed with 35 yays, 10 nays, and 4 excused. In the state House 60 representatives voted for SB 6138; 38 representatives voted against it. But voters overwhelmingly voted to continue the tax preference.

According to the Seattle Times, HB 6138 repealed a tax break for Microsoft.

In the next two years, the change will boost Microsoft’s state tax bill by $57 million, the state estimates. Over four years, the company will pay an additional $128 million.

That’s pocket change for a company that reported revenue of nearly $87 billion and profit of $22 billion in fiscal year 2014. But it was among the largest tax exemptions closed by state lawmakers this year — and the only one that singled out one corporation.

While Microsoft executives have pushed the state to better fund its transportation and education systems, the company has at times been slammed by critics who point to its efforts to lower its tax burden — including by shifting its software-licensing unit to Nevada in the 1990s.

GeekWire confirms that SB 6138 repeals a Microsoft tax break.

So, why did a large majority of voters opine that the tax break should be re-instated?  Are they so eager to aid Microsoft and starve the state of money?

Part of the reason is probably the language that appeared on the ballot, due to Eyman’s I-960:

2015 WA Ballot Advisory votes

The language in the ballot suggests that the bills cost the citizens money. In fact, the bills  helped most citizens by eliminating special-interest tax breaks. Indeed, Tim Eyman’s “advisory votes” are really costly, deceptive, and unconstitutional push polls.

The voters are clearly voting against their own self-interest and need to be better educated about the issues.

Perhaps many voters hate or mistrust government and believe the right wing talking points about government being wasteful and harmful.

Yet the voters are correct to be angry about the high sales tax rate in Washington State. The sales tax would be lower if the tax system were fairer. But voters rejected an income tax in 2010 (I-1098), not understanding that the sales tax is worse for them.

Only seven states lack a state income tax: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming.

California voters have given up their anti-tax mentality. Washington voters haven’t.

Of course, part of the problem is low voter turnout. But is there any evidence that the non-voting public would vote more reasonably than the voting public? Angry voters are more likely to vote, and since most citizens are uninformed about the unfairness of our tax system, most citizens aren’t angry enough — or are angry at the wrong institutions and people.

Republicans now control the state Senate. This year the Democrats lost another House seat (the 30th LD in Federal Way) and have just a 50 to 48 majority there.   Partly, this is a nationwide phenomenon. Republicans control a huge majority of legislatures and governorships.

Democrats will continue losing elections — and harmful initiatives like I-1366 will continue to pass — until the (Democratic) political establishment in Washington State stops wimping out and begins loudly educating the voters about how our regressive tax system unfairly favors the well-to-do and about why we need strong government.

Maybe Bernie Sanders will help educate the voters.

Neither Governor Gregoire nor Governor Inslee has spoken out loudly about the issue. It’s understandable that Inslee is silent on the issue, since he’s worried about next year’s election. But why don’t ex-governors Gregoire, Locke, and Lowry speak up about it, along with civic leaders such as Bill Gates, Senior? And what about the many other retired politicians?