Inslee visits Rep. Taylor territory

Governor to plead for capital funds, balk on Hirst

— Democrat Gov. Jay Inslee will bring the state’s capital budget battle here tomorrow, and prime opponent State Rep. David Taylor will not be here to respond.

Taylor said he will be in Olympia meeting with House and Senate Democrats regarding the Hirst (water control) decision.

According to Inslee, the Legislature’s inability to pass the capital budget has put hundreds of projects in jeopardy, including improvements for schools, water quality, mental health and other facilities across Washington.

Inslee will tour East Valley High School, which is awaiting more than $17 million in the state capital budget for renovations at the aging school. Superintendent John Schieche is concerned

“The Legislature expects us in education to solve problems and come up with solutions on a daily basis. They’ve been at this a long time and haven’t been able to come up with a solution,” he said.

Legislators ended the 2017 session on July 20 without passing the capital budget. That could halt or delay the construction of schools and other crucial facilities.

According to Inslee, the capital budget supports more than 19,000 jobs around the state in the public and private sector.

Taylor lives in the Moxee area and, so far, will not budge on his position that the Hirst decision must be overturned before the capital budget is approved.

Inslee’s visit could be seen as an effort to pressure, maybe even embarrass Taylor. Taylor said he didn’t even know Inslee was coming.

“His office doesn’t typically call us to say what he’s going to do,” the Moxee Republican said.

“He’s doing a statewide tour reminding people how important the capital budget is, and we’re reminding people how important water is to rural residents,” he added.

In a recent visit to the Daily Sun, Sunnyside Republican State Senator Jim Honeyford said the Hirst decision negated a statute that exempted wells for home use from the rules commercial and industrial wells face.

He sides with Taylor, saying Hirst must be overturned by the legislature.

“I don’t think we can give up,” he said. “We have to hold for that.”

Moses Lake Republican State Senator Judy Warnick of Moses Lake, who passed a bill to undo Hirst, said Inslee’s statewide effort is to encourage people to pressure Republican legislators, but Republicans are holding strong.

“You pass the Hirst Bill first (in the House), and then you pass the budget,” she said.

Other Yakima-area capital budget investments include $14 million for White Swan High School in the Mount Adams School District, $1.4 million for the Roza Irrigation District, and $3.5 million for the Yakima YMCA Aquatic Center.

Inslee will tour East Valley High School at 2:35 p.m. Wednesday.


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