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Liveblogging the final gubernatorial debate of 2012 between Jay Inslee and Rob McKenna

Tonight really is debate night. We have one more debate of importance to get through before we’re off liveblogging duty: an hourlong discussion between the candidates for governor, presented by KING5 and Frank Blethen’s Seattle Times. As with the presidential debate, we’ll be following this one in real time, with updates simulcast on Twitter. Let’s get started!

UPDATE, 8:02 PM (Andrew): No opening statements for this debate. We’re going straight to questions. Jim Brunner of the Seattle Times is going first. What could you do to hold down tuition increases?

UPDATE, 8:07 PM (Andrew): Brunner has a follow-up. He asks the candidates if they can put more money into education if revenue assumptions don’t pan out.

UPDATE, 8:09 PM (Andrew): Gubernatorial candidates now talking about state and local property tax levies (which primarily fund schools).

UPDATE, 8:11 PM (Andrew): McKenna: Inslee has no plan for complying with the McCleary decisions.

UPDATE, 8:12 PM (Andrew): Inslee keeps saying we’ll generate revenue by putting people to work. You need to be more specific, Jay.

UPDATE, 8:13 PM (Andrew): Some crosstalk between Inslee and McKenna…

UPDATE, 8:13 PM (Patrick): McKenna says Inslee hasn’t read the property tax swap proposal to fund schools and then says the details haven’t been worked out yet.

UPDATE, 8:14 PM (Andrew): Oh, great. Susannah Frame is asking about “Waste on the Water”, KING5′s overhyped series of special reports alleging corruption and mismanagement at Washington State Ferries.

UPDATE, 8:16 PM (Patrick): Lean management may be good, but doesn’t precisely inspire passion. Washington State Ferries is important, but a large part of the state doesn’t border the water or regularly use the ferries.

UPDATE, 8:17 PM (Andrew): McKenna: The ferry system is part of the transportation system. Ferry farebox recovery is pretty high.

UPDATE, 8:18 PM (Andrew): McKenna says he’d fire David Moseley, who currently runs WSDOT, but makes it clear he expects David to resign first if he wins.

UPDATE, 8:19 PM (Andrew): Jim Brunner asks about closing tax loopholes. Can you name specific exemptions you would consider closing, and how much would it raise?

UPDATE, 8:20 PM (Andrew): Inslee has some examples of unnecessary and outdated tax loopholes ready. Way to go, Jay!

UPDATE, 8:20 PM (Patrick): Inslee is talking about closing unneeded tax loopholes. It is a continuing disappointment that neither candidate has a plan for raising revenue revenue, but Inslee definitely distinguished himself from McKenna in taking a stance to remove exemptions which do not serve the public interest.

UPDATE, 8:22 PM (Andrew): McKenna’s example isn’t really a tax loophole. He’s talking about out-of-state retailers being able to sell Washingtonians goods without having to collect sales tax. Many of those retailers have no presence in Washington – the state can’t fix that problem itself.

UPDATE, 8:24 PM (Andrew): Robert Mak asks about Jay Inslee about his proposed office of economic competitiveness.

UPDATE, 8:26 PM (Andrew): Rob, if it is so expensive and difficult to do business here, why are we considered one of the best states to do business? Been ranked in the top ten by Forbes for many years running!

UPDATE, 8:26 PM (Andrew): McKenna has a pensive look on the split screen.

UPDATE, 8:28 PM (Andrew): The questions tonight from the KING5/Seattle Times panel have been pretty good so far.

UPDATE, 8:29 PM (Andrew): Jay, you mean uncommon sense. Common sense does not exist. If it did, we would not talk about needing it.

UPDATE, 8:29 PM (Andrew): Oh no, they’re letting the candidates ask questions of each other…

UPDATE, 8:30 PM (Andrew): Rob McKenna’s question was ridiculous: Why do you think newspapers are endorsing me instead of you?

UPDATE, 8:30 PM (Patrick): Inslee is defending his proposal to help companies in the renewable energy sector, rebutting the oft-stated line by McKenna that he’s “picking winners and losers”. Inslee’s response is it would help out businesses that need it, and spur innovation.

UPDATE, 8:31 PM (Andrew): Jay is explaining that he has taken stances that weren’t necessarily popular with newspaper editorial boards at the time, but in hindsight proved to be spot-on.

UPDATE, 8:34 PM (Andrew): Inslee asks McKenna about his support for women’s reproductive rights.

UPDATE, 8:36 PM (Andrew): Rob, there’s no need to be petty. You are part of the political establishment in this state, just as Jay Inslee is. You have been AG for eight years.

UPDATE, 8:37 PM (Andrew): Jean Enersen moves the debate along.

UPDATE, 8:38 PM (Andrew): Ah good, a question about an issue that does not normally get covered. What would you do to maintain and improve access to water and address the state’s need for guest workers?

UPDATE, 8:39 PM (Andrew): Inslee says he understands the issues facing eastern Washington. And he would know… he used to represent places like Yakima, Chelan, and Selah.

UPDATE, 8:39 PM (Patrick): Inslee is talking about the need for bipartisanship on immigration, but cites the intractability of Republicans in trying to pass the DREAM Act and comprehensive reform.

UPDATE, 8:40 PM (Andrew): McKenna’s retort: I have represented the entire state as Attorney General. (But he has not represented the entire state or even large swaths of it as a lawmaker).

UPDATE, 8:41 PM (Patrick): Inslee is talking about how changing the requirements for providing driver’s licenses would be counterproductive and costly. McKenna clearly disagrees, and says he supports putting more barriers in place for people who are undocumented.

UPDATE, 8:42 PM (Andrew): Inslee: We should not prevent immigrants not here legally from obtaining driver’s licenses.

UPDATE, 8:42 PM (Andrew): McKenna: Give undocumented immigrants permits to drive instead of licenses to drive.

UPDATE, 8:43 PM (Andrew): Question from Chris Ingalls: Does DSHS need an overhaul? What changes would you make?

UPDATE, 8:44 PM (Andrew): McKenna: DSHS needs new leadership.

UPDATE, 8:45 PM (Patrick): What can we do to strengthen and streamline our social safety net? That’s the topic the candidates are discussing now. Inslee is not surprisingly touting ‘lean management’ again. He’s suggesting private contractors could play a bigger role. Of course, the reason we have public services is because the private sector doesn’t excel at everything, contrary to what Republicans often claim. It is wrong to claim that everything worth doing can be done as a for-profit enterprise.

UPDATE, 8:47 PM (Andrew): McKenna calls Inslee’s last answer “spectacularly uninformed”.

UPDATE, 8:47 PM (Andrew): Next question is about tolls – potential tolling on I-90 and other roadways.

UPDATE, 8:49 PM (Andrew): McKenna: We will need tolls on the new Columbia River Crossing. HOT lanes are an option. Suggests I-90 express lanes could be turned into HOT lanes.

UPDATE, 8:50 PM (Andrew): Inslee: I will assemble transportation package to improve freight mobility and alternatives to driving. Says we should have light rail and public transportation. I fully support East Link light rail.

UPDATE, 8:51 PM (Andrew): Neither candidate has said if they support tolling I-90.

UPDATE, 8:51 PM (Patrick): The panelists are following up on the question of light rail, and just asked McKenna if he supports it. He says he does, but he is making it seem like building light rail is harder to accomplish than it actually is.

UPDATE, 8:51 PM (Andrew): McKenna: East Link technical problems are Sound Transit’s to solve. He implies he won’t interfere with the project. Riight.

UPDATE, 8:52 PM (Andrew): Inslee: We move forward on transportation, job creation, healthcare reform.

UPDATE, 8:53 PM (Andrew): Last question is about education, from Robert Mak. Do you have a plan to find money for schools if the economy does not bounce back? Good question.

UPDATE, 8:53 PM (Andrew): Inslee says we can find savings by implementing healthcare reform.

UPDATE, 8:53 PM (Patrick): As Andrew noted, the panelists are trying to pin down both candidates on whether they have a fallback position in the event economic growth doesn’t generate revenue to pay for existing services. but instead relying upon the economy to improve. Inslee talked about saving money on healthcare costs through the Affordable Care Act,. McKenna implies that he’s going to cut the social safety net if he has no other choice… in other words, he’ll rob Peter to pay Paul.

UPDATE, 8:54 PM (Andrew): McKenna clearly cannot wait to give his answer. Takes a deep breath.

UPDATE, 8:55 PM (Andrew): Rob, exactly what do you mean when you say we should prioritize funding for schools? Give us more than lip service to education.

UPDATE, 8:56 PM (Patrick): Inslee just corrected McKenna and stated that education funding actually went up 22% while he was in the Legislature before moving on to the rest of his closing statement. He’s trying to strike an upbeat tone.

UPDATE, 8:56 PM (Andrew): Inslee giving his closing statement. Cites his background. “We can be greater, I ask for the honor of your vote.”

UPDATE, 8:57 PM (Andrew): McKenna: Do you think we’ll be better off four years from now if we put the same people back in? Um, Rob, you’ve been part of the executive department of Washington for eight years. You are not an outsider.

UPDATE, 8:57 PM (Patrick): Rob McKenna is telling the camera that Washingtonians will be worse off under Jay Inslee, and referenced his endorsements again. He asks viewers “to join us”. That’s not the most original or positive note to end on. McKenna hasn’t really explained what he brings to our state capital that makes him the more qualified or prepared than Inslee to serve as the state’s chief executive. Yes, he’s been attorney general, but he thinks far more highly of himself than many of his constituents do.

UPDATE, 8:58 PM (Andrew): Oops. KING5 broadcast cut out before Jean Enersen was finished.

UPDATE, 8:59 PM (Andrew): Okay, we are done!