Virtual Conversation | Recapping the 2021 Session: Legislative Republicans, May 18, 2021 Register

Morning Wire: 2020 race for governor, Committee days, the implications of a Capital Gains Tax

We re-launched the Wire about this time three years ago. Our goal was and is to provide an additional, thoughtful voice to cover state politics, policies, and personalities. In short, we’re trying to figure out how to grow a new media enterprise, right-sized for the economics of our time.  

And, I’m proud to say we’re growing! We’re making it because of your help and your support – particularly from folks like Isaac Kastama, Juliette Kelly, George Caan, Dan McGrady and Misha Wershkul. So, thank you for allowing us to play this role in our state. We appreciate it very much!

Happy Thanksgiving!

With help from Emily Boerger and Michael Goldberg

1. Understanding the math: 2020 race for governor

The conventional wisdom is that Jay Inslee should sail to re-election. I think that’s accurate for a lot of reasons. But there is this nuanced problem with math when it comes to the 2020 gubernatorial re-election. I detail it here, but the logic goes like this: with 5 or 6 right-of-center candidates dividing up 45-48% of the primary vote, any other Democrat that files likely makes it through the primary to the general. That is particularly true if it’s a woman or person of color against a field of white men.

In Washington State’s “top two” primary system, two Democrats in the general election could fundamentally re-shape the election. A similar thing already happened in the 2016 race for state treasurer.  In 2020, depending on the candidate, there are probably a lot of voters out there looking to support someone with a vision for what he or she would like to do with four years, something Inslee has yet to deliver.

2. House Democratic Caucus taps new Chief of Staff

There will be a new Chief of Staff at the helm of the House Democratic Caucus. Replacing former Chief of Staff Orlando Cano will be Alex MacBain. Previously serving in senior roles at the Washington State Department of Corrections and the House Office of Program Research, MacBain brings legislative deft to the caucus. Dominique Meyers will be MacBain’s Deputy Chief of Staff. Meyers previously worked as a Business and Financial Services policy staffer for the Caucus. 

3. Re-Wire Keynote: A Conversation with Lieutenant Governor Cyrus Habib

ICYMI: Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib will be the Afternoon Keynote Speaker at the 2019 Re-Wire Policy Conference on December 10th at the Hilton Seattle Airport and Conference Center. This conversation will feature Lt. Gov. Habib’s plans for the office, his thoughts on the 2020 legislature, and where his career may be heading in the years ahead.

Habib serves as the President of the Washington State Senate, and serves as the acting governor when Gov. Inslee is away from the state. As a former legislator, Habib was recognized as a progressive voice, championing legislation ranging from paid sick leave to privacy protections and civil rights.

4. Committee Days: teeing up the 2020 session

Reporters Emily Boerger and Michael Goldberg tracked several meetings during last week’s “Committee Days,” including Appropriations, Health Care, and State Government, Tribal relations & Elections. You can always sign up for our Daily Wire email to get these stories right to your inbox as they are published.

Appropriations Committee members were provided updates on metrics for the school employees benefits board (SEBB). SEBB funding sources support employer contributions and payments to providers. The current funding allocation per employee is $994 per month, which is a lot. The State Government, Tribal Relations & Elections Committee heard from the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) leadership about a potential gray area in how political advertisements are defined. The Health Committee heard updates on the effort to address the behavioral health workforce shortage in the state.

5. What are the implications of a Capital Gains Tax in Washington State?

With a possible debate on a Capital Gains Tax ahead in the 2020 session, the 2019 Re-Wire Policy Conference will feature a panel that will explore the legal, fiscal, and economic implications of such a tax. A strong Democratic majority wasn’t enough to push Governor Inslee’s proposal through the finish line in 2019. Will it be enough in 2020? Is a Capital Gains Tax the right policy for Washington’s regressive tax structure?

To answer these questions, Rep. Gael Tarleton (Chair, House Finance Committee), Paul Guppy (Vice President, Washington Policy Center), and Andy Nicholas (Senior Fellow, Washington Budget and Policy Center) will shed light on what may be the most prominent issue of the 2020 session. The panel will convene at 10:30 AM at this year’s conference.

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