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November 20, 2007

An alternative to the 1 percent solution?

Posted by David Postman at 4:07 PM

When the Legislature convenes next week there will be at least some Democrats not ready to go along with the governor's call for them to quickly pass a 1 percent property tax cap. I was exchanging e-mails today with Sen. Craig Pridemore, D-Vancouver. He's a vice chairman of the Ways and Means Committee and one of the committee's most influential members.

Pridemore is a definite no vote on a 1 percent cap. He has been trying to find a compromise. Pridemore told me:

I am hoping to work with some other senators to come up with a more realistic and sustainable cap, something along the lines of population growth + inflation with a maximum of 6%.

The call for a special session makes it very difficult to formulate a responsible alternative and still get time to build support for it.


It's unlikely that Gregoire won't eventually get her way, particularly with the House Democrats signed on to the deal. But if Pridemore and a group of Democratic senators look for an alternative, there may be something more resembling debate in the Senate.

MORE: Add another no vote, maybe seven more. Sen. Darlene Fairley, D-Lake Forest Park, says she, too, is a definite no. By her count there are eight Democratic senators committed to voting against a 1 percent cap. That's far from enough to stop it, and Fairley concedes there's not much the opponents can do.

"Very few people want to stand in front of a running train, but some of us will because there's a point to make: This hurts local governments."

Fairley said other Democrats oppose it too, but those from swing districts "cannot vote no" because of the certain political fallout.

UPDATE: You can add Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles to the list of no votes. She made that clear in a comment on an earlier thread.

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