Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Not so fast, Mr. Speaker

Summarizing a discussion he had with Speaker Frank Chopp this morning, Seattle Times chief political reporter David Postman wrote earlier today:
A theme in the run-up to today's special session has been the Democratic left's unhappiness with the Democratic governor and legislative leaders for embracing a Tim Eyman-crafted tax cap. At least it's been a theme here, so House Speaker Frank Chopp said he wasn't surprised when I asked him about it at a press conference this morning. He said he'd would vote proudly for the tax cap. And he is prepared to answer criticism from the progressive wing of his party.
"Now if you want a long list of all the progressive things we've done in the Legislature with our strong majorities and a great governor, I'd be more than happy to give it to you. I actually typed it. It's over 50 things that are very progressive, very positive for public schools, for health care — particularly for children — job development, for higher education, for transportation. I can go on and on."
He said later that he compiled the list himself.
Ooh, he has a list! Of fifty plus great things the Legislature has supposedly accomplished with Democratic majorities under Governor Gregoire!

This is one of the most arrogant statements I have ever heard from Frank Chopp. He happily caves to Tim Eyman, Dino Rossi, and the Republicans on a critical issue (property taxes) and then has the audacity to instantly turn around and brag about having a progressive record? Not so fast, Mr. Speaker!

If Chopp were truly a progressive leader, his response to the Initiative 747 court ruling would have been to pursue meaningful alternatives that would actually address our broken, regressive tax structure.

Not surrender to the likes of Tim Eyman! There is absolutely no excuse for that. None. It's a failure of leadership.

What happened to acting on the findings of the Washington State Tax Structure Study? Why, in the wake of the 2006 midterm elections, has the state Legislature not begun working on progressive tax reform? What's the holdup?

Tax reform isn't the only area where Chopp & Co. have come up short.

Chopp has taken it upon himself to kill good proposals like the Homeowners' Bill of Rights, a progressive consumer protection law, which Senator Brian Weinstein championed during the last session.

Chopp and his colleagues have failed to figure out a way to pay for replacing the Alaskan Way Viaduct, SR 520 floating bridge, and the state's aging ferry fleet, despite having passing a solid transportation package in 2005.

And though the most recent budget was an improvement over previous bienniums, we have a long way to go on the path to quality public schools and universal healthcare. A long, long, long way to go.

Instead of responding to Initiative 747 by presenting a progressive vision that incorporates innovative ideas for fixing our broken tax structure, Chopp enthusiastically and proudly embraced the right wing agenda.

And now he's telling the netroots and the grassroots that we should be pleased with all of Olympia's wonderful accomplishments?



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