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Posts published in “Day: March 23, 2015”

The $900 million ask

idaho RANDY

Some people will probably be calling it the billion-dollar tax proposal – a proposal that taxpayers will be asked to impose on themselves – which may be a small exaggeration but will certainly highlight why the correct number is $900 million.

“Oh, it’s not a billion? Excuse me – you’re right, it’s a mere $900 million . . .”

The ask is for the city of Seattle, whose leading officials including the mayor are the people doing the asking, and which is large and wealthy enough to make it not beyond the pale. And it’s not that transportation needs in the city aren’t great: They surely are.

It’s just that the number is so large it may cause a lot of taxpayers to blanch and decide against it before they’ve even had a chance to look at the large number of things it would do.

Which raises another problem. The list is extensive all right (see the local section in this edition), but so much so that your eyes tend to glaze over.

Then there’s the matter of what it doesn’t include, but will be an overarching consideration during the campaign ahead: Bertha. The mega-machine, that is, still sort of stuck in the ground and falling ever further behind in its effort to create a revised Alaskan Way viaduct.

Anyone seeking to blow the new tax plan out of the water will have only to recite that one name – “Bertha” – to punch the air out of any grand new transportation plans.
Optimism in that whole arena of Seattle transportation is in short supply this year, as it was last. The timing for this thing may be less than ideal, even if the need is demonstrably, yes, quite real.

In the Briefings

Boise reserve
hoto from the cover of the Boise Reserves Management Plan, released for public review in March. (photo/via Boise Parks & Recreation Department)

Spring kicks in with sadly diminished snowpack, and the legislature comes to grips with budget issues.

Transportation funding and school budgets (and especially the sub-component of teacher pay) are on deck this week at the Idaho Legislature.

On the front pages


Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

More gun legislation at Idaho legislature (Boise Statesman)
More wolves in Washington state (Boise Statesman, Nampa Press Tribune)
Pullman looks at priorities (Moscow News)
State juvenile agency sued on abuse charges (Nampa Press Tribune)
Teacher speak on career ladder plan (TF Times News)
Concerns arise over wilderness gold mine plan (TF Times News)

Some snow expected in Cascades (Eugene Register Guard)
Overhaul planned at Howard Prairie near Ashland (Medford Tribune)
Saltzman missing lots of Portland Council meetings (Portland Oregonian)
Salem plans talks on Uber and land use (Salem Statesman Journal)

Tribes take opposing views on coal shipments (Bellingham Herald)
Looking at grocery conversions to Haggen (Bremerton Sun)
Army Corps hold Toutle River plan approval (Longview News)
Wolves doing well in eastern Washington (Vancouver Columbian, Olympian)
Hargrove works on recidivist legislation (Port Angeles News)
REI stores prospering this year (Seattle Times)
Possible help for Seattle streetcars, fewer car lanes (Seattle Times)
Seattle ends race messages on cups (Seattle Times, Yakima Herald Republic)
Millennial trends push transit policy (Spokane Spokesman)
Click cable faces higher station costs, again (Tacoma News Tribune)
Rivers medical pot plan draws debate (Vancouver Columbian)