OLYMPIA, Aug. 9.–Looks like Dino Rossi, the new state senator from the 5th Legislative District – and soon to be a former senator again – is picking up where Joe Zarelli left off. Zarelli, the former Senate Republican budget chief, was known for his regular “Budget Tidbits” memos – three or four or five pages of musings about current budget issues, budget solutions, budget recipes, budget arts and crafts, what have you. And quite often his ideas took bill form; some even became law. That “levy swap” idea everyone credits Ross Hunter with, the one that might just wind up as part of the Legislature’s solution to the demands of the Supreme Court in the McCleary case – that started as a ‘Tidbits’ idea. And so on.
Well, Zarelli is gone now; he decided not to run again at the last possible second of filing week, and he resigned shortly thereafter. But it looks like Rossi, himself a former budgeteer, is filling in. Rossi, one of the more prominent figures in Repiblican ranks after two runs for governor and one for U.S. Senate, was appointed last month to fill the unexpired term of state Sen. Cheryl Pflug, R-Maple Valley. He’s only going to be around until January, but in the meantime it looks like he’ll be earning his salary. The first of his “Roadmap” memos showed up in email baskets Thursday, start of a series he says will explore the major fiscal issues facing the 2013 Legislature.
“As an individual with the unique experience of having written a state budget, knowing its intricacies and difficult decisions, but simultaneously being a “short-timer” whose term will expire prior to the start of the next session, I wanted to contribute in a meaningful way to the success of the 2013 Legislature,” he writes.
“And the best way I could think of to do this is by informing – in a straight-forward, objective way – legislators, media, and the public on the seminal issues that will confront the Legislature, along with offering my thoughts on how to responsibly address these.
“The decisions facing the next Legislature will not be easy or simple. Its members will need to think long and hard about the issues and solutions. It is my hope the roadmap will be an aid in that endeavor.”
Sounds like it’ll a be a series worth reading. Trouble is, he’s only going to have five months to explain everything.