Saturday, February 21, 2015

Smarter Gov WA

SGW Weekly Round-Up
Oregon governor John Kitzhaber resigned this week, brought down by a growing scandal in which his fiancée accepted large consulting contracts from environmental groups while also serving an official role in his administration as a green energy advisor.

The scandal hinges on more than just financial impropriety, though. We are learning more about just how closely connected outside environmental groups are to policy makers – not just in Oregon, but Washington too (to learn more, read the coverage at The annual Skamania conference, for instance, involves government employees getting together with environmental donors to essentially pitch them for money and plan how to coordinate politically. That’s inappropriate.

The scandal in Oregon is a reminder of how easy it is to ignore or dismiss unethical and improper behavior when it’s done in the name of a “good” cause. When it comes to the public’s trust, “good” isn’t good enough.

– Rob McKenna

On SGW this week
School funding – everybody is 49th
You can use statistics to prove just about anything you need to, which is why "in the past year alone at least a dozen states have been ranked 49th in K-12 spending."

Could it be? Progress on transportation

The state Senate unveiled a promising transportation package that will help boost Washington’s economy. Rob lists four reasons why now is the time to pass a new package.

Voters deserve more info about initiative impacts

Some would rather keep voters in the dark, but Sen. Joe Fain has a smart proposal to inform voters about an initiative’s cost right on the ballot. Citizens deserve to know this information when making state law.

This week's interesting links
  1. ShiftWA: Kitzhaber resigns – same groups behind scandal active in Inslee admin, too
  2. Seattle Times: Appeal filed to stop logging on land burned in Carlton wildfire
  3. Crosscut: Transportation plan barrels past quarrels
  4. Walla Walla Union-Bulletin: Supermajority approval for school bonds is still reasonable
  5. KING 5: Union complaints shut down JBLM-Olympia project
  6. Seattle Times: House Democrats say they will wait on transportation package
  7. Willamette Week: What's in the emails ex-Gov. John Kitzhaber's office tried to destroy
  8. Spokesman-Review: Proposal gives administrative law system vital reforms
  9. Los Angeles Times: Port dispute is felt all along West Coast
  10. Jason Mercier: B&O tax reform bill would exempt nearly 286,000 small businesses from tax

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