KCTS 9 Connects/First 2012 Washington Gubernatorial Debate - June 15, 2012

First 2012 Washington Gubernatorial Debate
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First 2012 Washington Gubernatorial Debate

Highlights of the first televised gubernatorial debate between Democrat Jay Inslee and Republican Rob McKenna. Find out where the candidates stand on job creation, taxes, education funding, and other major issues.

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About the Episode

We feature a special one-hour segment on the highlights of the first televised 2012 Washington Gubernatorial Debate between Democrat Jay Inslee and Republican Rob McKenna. The candidates discuss their stances on job creation, taxes, education funding, and other major issues. We also feature an analysis by our Insiders Roundtable.

Enrique Cerna:
We go now to the debate moderator, Austin Jenkins, host of TV W's inside Olympia. As he poses the first question to the candidates.

Austin Jenkins:
The U.S. supreme court is expect to rule this month on the constitutionality of the affordable health care act. You have joined that lawsuit. If the court overturns the entire law or just the individual mandate, what steps would you take as Governor to address the issue of more than a million Washingtonians who are uninsured?

Rob McKenna:
I fully expect as Governor of Washington to be moving toward the health insurance exchange, which the legislature has already approved in state law. It will provide insurance to individuals and to small businesses with subSidies for people who cannot afford the premium by themselves. I expect to be expanding, implementing the expanded Medicaid program, which is projected to bring up to a half a million more Washingtonians onto Medicaid. But there's more we need to do than that. We also need to look to insurance reform to create more competition, more opportunities for people to buy insurance that they can afford. We need a market which is national, not just limited to our state. We need to go to a place where one day, you'll see the gecko selling health insurance on TV. That means we will have arrived at a national market. We also need liability reform. We need to reduce the costs of defensive medicine, which is adding billions of dollars to costs in medical care that then translate into additional costs for health insurance. We also need to bend the health care cost curves in our state, starting with Washington state employees, to move to consumer directed health care plans, where they have ownership, they have a medical savings accounts, fund their premiums, they fund their deductibles out of the medical savings account. These are all changes we need to look at going forward. Washington has been at the forefront of health care for many years, I expect we'll continue to be leaders.

Austin Jenkins:
Mr. Inslee, your rebuttal.

Jay Inslee:
Well, we need health care reform because the gecko does not provide health insurance for everyone. And I'm a person that believes fundamentally, it is a value in the state of Washington, that if you are a breast cancer survivor, you ought to be able to get health coverage in our state. This is a value that we should embrace. If you are an employer, you should be able to get a subsidy to help you provide insurance for your employees, something that I embrace. This is a value of the state of Washington. If you're a father or mother and you have a 25 year old living in your basement looking for that first job, you should be able to have your son or daughter on your insurance. These are matters that I have supported and will continue to support and I have to say that I'm disappointed that our Attorney General has tried to take every single one of those rights away from Washingtonians.

Austin Jenkins:
Thank you, your time is up. 15 second response.

Rob McKenna:
Congressman Inslee voted for a law that an individual health insurance mandate which advisors to congress warned was highly problematic constitutionally. And he put all those at risk by putting the mandate into the law to begin with.

Austin Jenkins:
I want to ask you both a 15 second followup.More than 1.1 million Washingtonians uninsured in this state. You mentioned the Medicaid funding and the suggestion that it would still come even if part or all of this law is overturned. I want to ask you that question. What confidence do you have that Washington will still get a significant matching dollar to ensure another several hundred thousand people in this state even if the court overturns part or all of this law?

Rob McKenna:
I think congress is obviously committed to expanding the Medicaid program. It's one of those programs that could have passed by itself instead of being wrapped up in a bill passed in the middle of the night on a straight party line vote, a bill that people didn't even read. Medicaid was created by bipartisanship.

Jay Inslee:
The sad fact is if the bill is overturned, we cannot look for assistance from uncle Sam. We will have to make decisions on our own. Now, I believe we need to embrace preventive health care, we need to reduce the cost of businesses by embracing real health care rather than sick care. We need to move forward on our own. I'll be a Governor who will want action rather than ignoring the obvious need for health care reform in our state and country.

Austin Jenkins:
The state supreme court said in its McCleary ruling earlier this year, that the state is not adequately funding public schools. Both democratic Governor Chris Gregoire and Senate republican leader Mike hewitt said the state will have to find a new source of revenue for K 12. As Governor, are you prepared to ask for a new tax for schools?

Jay Inslee:
No. I am proposing a different avenue, which is job creation, to get those 280,000 people back to work, so we can increase revenues to fund education. And embracing lean management techniques to bring efficiency to state government. And then reduce the rate of medical inflation. And then close some of the corporate tax loopholes. This can move us forward to promote the paramount duty of the state. Let me tell you why this is so critical to economic recovery. We are fifth in per capita in the number of high tech jobs we have. That's good, we can boast to being a high tech state. But we are forty-sixth in producing students that have the skills and degrees to fulfill those jobs. If we are going to have the vision that I think Washington state is worthy of, we have to have changes, but those changes don't wait and cannot wait just for additional funding. I have a reform package that starts with a no excuses policy of having a great teacher in every classroom. I have a provision that will make sure we do not allow any substandard teacher to remain in the classroom. In my reform package, I emphasize science, technology, so that every child I believe ought to have an expectation of success. You know, one out of four of our children are dropping out of school, one out of four of those first graders never make it to a high school graduation. I want what Renton is doing, increasing their drop out prevention by 20%, their graduation. This is the vision for the state of Washington.

Austin Jenkins:
Thank you very much. 45 second rebuttal.

Rob McKenna:
Well, we can't put more money into an un reformed system that isn't more innovative. We need reform and innovation. It's my call for that as well as full funding, which is the cause of stand for children's endorsement of me as Governor. The leading education reform group in this state. There are five places we can look for more money for funding things like all day kindergarten and early learning for children that can't get in today. Those include squeezing the existing budget, closing tax loopholes that aren't tax effective or cost too much, that include closing more of the new revenues that we'll see for education. Repurposeing existing spending. A recent performance audit found that a 1% shift in central office costs could hire 1,000 more teachers and produce more revenue for property poor districts.

Austin Jenkins:
Thank you very much. Your response.

Jay Inslee:
I have embraced innovation. My plan has a proposal for innovative schools. But I simply do not agree this is a moment to take away millions of dollars out of the public school system, which is already hemorrhaging money, and withdraw that sums for public schools. Let's do innovation the way Renton is doing it and Pasco.

Austin Jenkins:
15 second followup. Back to this issue of a dedicated funding source, at this point, I don't think anybody is talking about the legislature and the Governor doing that without the will of voters. Are you here and now, both of you, absolutely taking this possibility of a ballot measure for a new dedicated fund source for education, K 12, off the table? Is that your stance? Mr. Inslee, 15 seconds.

Jay Inslee:
Yes. I am proposing that we build our economy, we get those 280,000 people back to work, we embrace an innovative economy, and we build our tax base that way. That way, we can embrace what we've always done, which is to finance our schools through growth. And I think that is realistically the only way we are going to get the job done.

Austin Jenkins:
So it sounds like a tax is off the table for you, off the table for you if you're elected.

Rob McKenna:
Austin, we have a dedicated revenue source for K 12 education. It's called the state general fund. That's what paramount duty means in the state constitution.

Austin Jenkins:
Here's another followup. The down payment on the McClearly decision is pegged at about a billion dollars for the next biennium. Will you pledge here and now, if elected, that you will make that full payment in the next budget? Again, we'll start with you since it's your question.

Jay Inslee:
I'm sorry. So I'm pledging that to really fulfill the paramount duty, which does start with education reform in addition to finances, and I think this is an important point. We can't wait for the first billion dollars to embrace the reforms that I am putting forward.

Austin Jenkins:
Your time is up. And I did not hear an absolute commitment to that billion dollar payment. Do you make that commitment?

Rob McKenna:
Yes, I do. $3 billion is about 3% of $32 billion. I think we can find that money in the state general fund budget and we can do it in the next biennium.

Austin Jenkins:
Mr. McKenna, Washington is one of a handful of states that do not allow charter schools. Recently, several education groups announced that they will try to put a measure on the fall ballot to allow a limited number of charter schools for at risk kids at failing schools. How will you vote on this measure if it makes it to the ballot and why.

Rob McKenna:
Well, I read the bill and the analysis behind it. I've also studied charter schools as a tool that 41 other states have used. I've looked at the research and the data and come to the conclusion that this is a tool we ought to have in our state, that we shouldn't be one of only nine states in America that doesn't allow a single public charter school in our state. The other states that don't allow them are typically small rural states, like South Dakota and Nebraska. All the other big states, all the states with major metropolitan areas like we have, have allowed charter schools into the mix. And I think they ought to be allowed into the mix in our state as well. They're not a panacea or a silver bullet, but they should be part of the mix. We can also look to innovative models of schools we already have in our state. We can look to our stem schools, like the aviation high school, the arts and sciences school in Marysville, the delta stem school in Tri Cities. We can look to the successes of Mercer middle school on Beacon hill and Lincoln Center, which is a small high school at Lincoln High School in Tacoma, which I visited yesterday. There are models for innovation. But public charter schools that are highly innovative, high performing, can add to that mix. We can more rapidly expand the number of highly innovative public schools, especially for children in low income areas who can't move around to find a better school, or whose parents can't afford to move them around. So I'll be supporting the same.

Austin Jenkins:
Mr. Inslee, your response.

Jay Inslee:
There is great innovation in our schools. You go to Taft and the science education will blow you away. It's very exciting. My plan will provide schools new grants to be able to create new systems of curriculum. But look, I'm going to try to put a billion dollars into the next budget or more for education. But it is not going to be made easier if in fact we drain out another several goodness knows how many million dollars into charter schools. The research is interesting on this. I really appreciate people driving the force of innovation. But the research is clear that only one out of five succeed and two fail, if we don't have public accountability. We need public accountability in our schools. I'll be voting no.

Austin Jenkins:
Thank you. 15 seconds, Mr. McKenna.

Rob McKenna:
Well, I've been to the Taft academy, it's a wonderful place in the Federal Way school system. I agree it's a good model. But don't be misled by the congressman's statement. These charter schools are not private schools, they're public schools. They operate under a different model, a charter, but they're public schools.

Austin Jenkins:
Washington's four year universities and colleges have announced another round of double digit tuition increases for next year. At the university of Washington, the regents also issued a rare declaration of concern about declining state support for higher ed. What would you do as Governor to immediately reverse the trend of skyrocketing college tuition in this state?

Jay Inslee:
Well, first off, we've got to stop the reduction of state support of our colleges. I am glad that the republican effort to cut $74 billion out of education was defeated in the legislature this year. And I got to tell you why I feel so strongly about this. I drove a bulldozer to pay my way through college. I now know how difficult it is to see this incredible debt burden that we are putting on our kids. And we've got to reverse that. And one of the ways is to embrace the help program, which are low interest loans from the state to these employees. Or excuse me, to these students. But we've got to do some other things as well to make college more affordable and more accessible. In my higher education plan, and by the way, these plans are available at jayinslee.com if people are interested. We have a proposal to free universities from some of the restrictions in the regulations, which increase their costs of doing business. And we have to do what I think is perhaps one of the most important things in my jobs plan, we need to allow colleges to commercialize some of their technologies, so that they can generate some dollars for themselves. You know, these research institutions create great value. But we are not capturing it for the universities because we have restrictions from spinning off small businesses. If we do these things, we will do what is necessary, which is to use our colleges as the fundamental driving force of our economy.

Austin Jenkins:
Thank you. 45 seconds, Mr. McKenna.

Rob McKenna:
The high water mark for education funding in our state was established in the early 1990s which the republicans controlled the state Senate. At that point, over 16% of the state budget was devoted to higher education. In fact, when I was student body president at the University of Washington, about 16% was devoted to higher ed in the state budget. My daughter Madeline was student body president at the University of Washington last year. That had declined to 8%. So in answer to the question, how do you stop future massive tuition increases, the first thing you do is stop cutting higher education, stop cutting higher education in the general fund budget, which is why I called Senate budget writers last spring or earlier this year, and asked them to reverse their original decision to cut higher ed.

Austin Jenkins:
15 seconds, Mr. Inslee.

Jay Inslee:
Well, I think when we do budget, we have to do it on a hard nosed basis. We don't judge how much you spend as the goal, you judge the outcome. We need to judge the number of engineers when we decide what our budget is. And yes, we need to build these budgets. But we don't have a printing press. And the faulty math that's been used doesn't work.

Austin Jenkins:
Thank you. Your time is up. Just to be clear, by way of a 15 second followup for both of you. You've talked about the need to fund K 12 education. You've talked about additional Medicaid funding. That's a 50/50 match for the state. And now, you're talking about absolutely ramping up spending for higher end and returning to more state support. The economy is recovering, but it's not recovering that fast. Very briefly, 15 seconds, what assurance can you give the voters that you can reverse this trend for higher ed in a first term?

Jay Inslee:
Well, we certainly don't want to dig the hole deeper, like unfortunately, the other party tried to do. That's number one. But number two, we have to realize we don't have a printing press, and I have to be somewhat disappointed that my opponent has made promises that we just can't keep, a $5 billion promise that we do not have.

Austin Jenkins:
Mr. McKenna.

Rob McKenna:
Don't be fooled by the rhetoric. The folks running Olympia the last 20 years, especially the last 10 to 20 years, have decimated higher education funding. They're responsible from driving it from 16% of the state budget down to 8%, and only 3% for our four year universities.

Austin Jenkins:
You say that state regulation should not exceed federal standards unless there's a clear reason to do so. What are a couple of examples of state regulations that exceed federal standards that you believe are too strict?

Rob McKenna:
My point is we should not automatically exceed the federal standard, which seems to be the rule of thumb in Olympia today. We need more Harmonization of federal and state and local requirements so that they're less confusing and more certain for everybody that's working hard to comply with those requirements. An example would be shorelines management. We have local regulation of shorelines, we have state regulations of shorelines, we have federal regulations of shorelines. This is an area where we would do well to harmonize the requirements at each level of government, so that frankly, we can achieve more goals such as cleaning up contaminated areas along shorelines, instead of having a rule of thumb, and almost an automatic rule that will have a state standard, which is higher than the federal standard, let's look at this on a case by case basis and keep an eye on the objective of trying to bring requirements into alignment with each other to reduce costs and to accelerate cleanup of brown fields, for example. These areas of regulation have developed almost independently from one another in the sense that you end up with very different standards from one jurisdiction to another. Everybody would be better off, the environment would certainly be better off if more cleanups went forward under a system which is more harmonized.

Austin Jenkins:
Mr. Inslee, 45 seconds to respond.

Jay Inslee:
A great state and I love this state, is an economic virtue. When we compete to bring people into Microsoft as an engineer, the fact that we've got a great place to live is an economic virtue for business growth. And this is why I'm concerned about my opponent's proposal to really reduce our environmental protections. The Harmonization is a nice word, it sort of sounds musical. But what it means in terms of as I understand my opponent proposed is to reduce our protections for clean air. Reduce our protections for our shorelines. To go down to the federal standards that maybe are fit for Mississippi and Arkansas, but they're not fit for our state. You bet I've seen some things in congress that weren't up to Washington standards that I tried to end. We had too many people, most of them on your side of the aisle, who were not...

Austin Jenkins:
Thank you, your time is up. Mr. McKenna, 15 seconds.

Rob McKenna:
The congressman has never met a regulation he doesn't like, one that couldn't be stricter. But the fact is regulations have real costs and real consequences. They should be subjected to the same rigorous analysis, that the spending is and the tax loopholes are?

Austin Jenkins:
And followup. 15 seconds each. Do you believe existing environmental regulations are robust enough to protect Puget Sound or the Spokane river?

Rob McKenna:
I think the regulations may be robust enough, but we're not adequately protecting Puget Sound or the Spokane river at times in terms of the key solution to those waterways. That means pollution that is not coming out of a pipe from a factory, that's been addressed. We're talking about run off from parking lots and streets.

Austin Jenkins:
Mr. Inslee.

Jay Inslee:
We obviously have more work to do on stormwater and there are ways to do it that help businesses succeed. There is a proposal to use a stormwater credit training system to help businesses have more efficient compliance with stormwater control. We should embrace those, but not go backwards on environmental protection.

Austin Jenkins:
Thank you. The Washington state democratic party convention recently passed a resolution against the proposed coal export terminal in Bellingham. There are also proposals for terminals at Longview and Grays Harbor. Of course, these projects mean jobs, but there are a multitude of environmental and public health concerns. What is your position on allowing coal export terminals in Washington?

Jay Inslee:
Well, I believe we should look at these coal proposals through the lens of jobs and job creation. There are some obvious benefits in construction and longshoremen work working on these ports. But there are also some potential downsides for the economies of the towns that these almost two mile long trains will go through, including Spokane. So my view is we need to evaluate all of the job prospects, both plus or minus, before we make a decision. Now, that's the right decision economically for our state. It's also the law which we should support. But let me suggest that this is a moment of truth for the state of Washington. And it is a question of whether or not we will embrace a future that can embrace the new systems of energy. You know, we could just give us on the ability to compete with the Chinese on Lithium ion batteries, but I don't think we should. Energy 2 company on the shores of lake union is one of the world's most advanced nanno technology companies. You can perhaps make your electric battery for your car run further. We need to have policies here that make sure these are developed here and not in china. We are in a race with Texas, we're in a race with New Jersey and Germany. And the plans I've proposed are to move this state forward, the way we always have, which is to be on the cutting edge.

Austin Jenkins:
Mr. McKenna, coal export terminals.

Rob McKenna:
Well, this is an important issue to the business community, to organized labor, and to many community leaders in the communities where the commodity terminals are proposed. We're talking about hundreds and hundreds of permanent high paying jobs. It's important to them because it will be some of the most significant new economic development in their community in a long time. These projects have to go through a rigorous environmental review process, an EIS process. If they can meet our state's high environmental health and safety standards, then why would they be discriminated against as opposed to some other economic development project? And when we do those analyses, we should do a cumulative impact analysis, affecting how they should affect each other if they're all built.

Austin Jenkins:
Response.

Jay Inslee:
That's a fair statement. We need to evaluate the impact here in Spokane of having a train go by, and what that does to get to their customers.

Enrique Cerna:
We continue with the debate. At this point, each candidate is given the opportunity to ask their opponent a question. Democrat Jay Inslee poses his question now to Republican Rob McKenna.

Jay Inslee:
Rob, in your 16 years as a politician, you've been given budget authority one time as a King County council chair. You wrote a budget that was $54 million out of balance. Your republican colleagues removed you in what they called being effectively deposed. If you failed in King County, why should the voters trust you in the state of Washington?

Rob McKenna:
Well, that's a fairly selective use of facts, of course, since I was budget chairman for two years. And the first year, we successfully passed a budget, a budget which for the first time in the county's recent history, did not take the maximum property tax increase, which had been the habit of the county for all of those years. The county executive at the time, and some of his allies on the council, vehemently opposed not taking the maximum property tax increase, but we did it. And thereafter, it became a routine. The second year I was budget chairman, we also did not take the maximum property tax increase. At the same time I opposed a tax increase that was new, that was proposed by one of my republican colleagues, and the democrats on the county council, and so yes, they passed a budget that had the tax increase they wanted that I opposed. That was their right to do. But when you vote on budgets, when you put budgets together, you have to follow a set of principles. And increasing a particular tax as they wanted to do, that would hurt a certain set of small businesses in my view, was the wrong thing to do. When the workers from those businesses came in and testified and talked about how these businesses had given them some of their first jobs, that allow them to support their families,that had an impact on me and on my thinking. That's why I didn't support the tax increase. That's why one of my republican colleagues joined other democrats to take over the budget process. And that's why they got to pass the budget they wanted. But the fact is we made tremendous progress in reducing property tax revenue growth and property tax rate increases while I was chairman of the budget committee, and made other improvements as well, for example, to fund public transit.

Austin Jenkins:
You have 45 seconds.

Jay Inslee:
Well, leadership is hard and it involves building consensus. And in this instance, given the opportunity to build consensus, my opponent did not succeed with his own party. And you'll have to check out the record to decide whether it was just one disgruntled republican. I think the record may be different. But look, we've had too many occasions where people go to any body and have it my way or the highway. That's simply not the way we can govern in our state. Frankly, we've seen too much of that lately in the other Washington D.C. We need to have people who will bring people together, bring people together across the aisle, and find solutions. And we have, that's a hard job in the state of Washington. I'll look forward to it.

Austin Jenkins:
Okay. Mr. McKenna, 15 seconds.

Rob McKenna:
This is frankly astonishing to hear someone who spent 15 years as a congressman criticize Washington D.C. as being some other group of people. Secondly, as Attorney General, the state legislature has adopted 45 separate pieces of legislation, which my office and I have written and had introduced, all with bipartisan support, all signed into law by the Governor. Congressman, when you were in congress, under both democratic and republican administrations, you voted for a series of bills that contributed to the housing crisis in America. When a bipartisan group of A.G.s and I teamed up to reach a settlement with some of America's largest banks to clean up that mess and brought $25 billion of relief, we were cleaning up after the consequences of those measures that you voted for. My question is, be if you were in congress today or if you could do it over, would you vote for bills that would make it possible for people with poor credit to obtain mortgages with no money down?

Jay Inslee:
Well, in fact, I voted against the deregulation of wall street, which really was the reason way had this financial collapse. The reason, in fact, that we have had such a Titanic loss of our values is we had an un restrained wall street. And look, I'm a fellow who's willing to stand up against my own party. When Bill Clinton asked for my support to support the deregulation of wall street, to in fact repeal Glass Steigall, I said no, I voted against it. I'm a person who's willing to stand up against my own party, as I've done in fact with some of my union friends, have been against some trade agreements. And boy, I wish more people had joined me in making sure that we did not allow un restrained activity to put us at risk. Now, frankly, Rob, I don't blame those homeowners for their situation. Apparently, you do. You believe those people who went in in good faith and sought loans so that they could put a roof over people's heads. They're the reason we had this financial collapse. I fundamentally disagree with you. I believe it was the people on wall street who played games with our money, made it a house of cards, and brought down our entire financial system, and I'm proud of my vote standing against the reason that I believe we had this financial collapse. So no, I disagree with you that we should not blame people who were involved. Now, were some people over their heads? Yes. Obviously, there are humans involved in this. But the answer of not, the answer to every problem is not to reduce people's access to credit.

Austin Jenkins:
Thank you. 45 seconds, Mr. McKenna.

Rob McKenna:
Well, of course, that wasn't the question I asked. I didn't ask about Glass Steigall or the deregulation of wall streets. I was asking about the votes that the congressman took for loans guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. That's what I'm talking about. It happened under both administrations, but it happened while he was in congress. It happened because congress and administrations successfully decided they would cheapen lending standards to make it easier for people with poor credit to obtain loans. The problem was it wasn't just those people who were using those no money down loans. It wasn't just those people using those pay option arms. It also invited speculators and others in who thought they could get rich with no money down, who were watching those TV shows on that.

Austin Jenkins:
Response.

Jay Inslee:
Funny is that the reason we have problems is because of homeowners, not wall street. I have a fundamentally different view. So no, I do not believe that our economy collapsed because of homeowners. I believe that our economy collapsed because of wall street irresponsibility.

Austin Jenkins:
This is a question from Gary Chandler, the association of Washington business in Olympia. He writes: The connecting Washington task force has concluded the amount needed to fully address the needs of our transportation system is approximately $50 billion. That's billion with a "B." With at least $20 billion over the next decade. When is the right time to ask voters to support a new round of transportation funding in Washington and what would that package look like? You have 90 seconds.

Rob McKenna:
The right time would be in the fall of 2013 or the fall of 2014, depending how long it takes to work with the legislature to put together a package of the best projects with a funding mechanism that can be taken to the voters for their consideration. And voters will have to decide if they want to approve that package or not. We know what the top project priorities are, we've known them for a long time. They are projects like turning SR 509 into a meaningful corridor. Projects like extending 167 so it finally connects from Puyallup to the tide flats in Tacoma. Projects like fixing the interchange along JBLM, joint base Lewis McChord, which has become an incredible bottle neck. And other projects as well. An important project in the Spokane area, of course, is the north/south freeway. We with need to continue making progress on that investment. We need to finish paying for SR 520, the replacement of the evergreen point floating bridge, and finish the viaduct project as well. We need to pay attention to I 90, which is such a critical corridor for goods and people moving east and west, including agricultural products moving from the east side of our state to our ports on the west side of the state. We need to look for ways to provide more support to local government so they can expand transit service, transit is a local function not a state function, but we should be working with them to find ways where they can continue to expand transit service to meet the demands of transit riders. And we need to pay close attention to freight mobility while we do all of this.

Austin Jenkins:
Thank you. Mr. Inslee.

Jay Inslee:
I certainly think freight mobility needs to be a higher priority in our transportation planning. But here's where our state needs to move forward. And we know transportation is actually fundamental to the economy. Trust in the state of Washington. And right now, we're lacking that. That's one of the reasons I have committed to a lean management system of bringing lean management principles to every agency of our government, including the department of transportation. There is no reason the systems that the Boeing company uses to assure efficiency and to drive out waste should not be used at the department of transportation and every other agencies for that matter. And as Governor, I will make sure that they are.

Austin Jenkins:
Your 15 second response.

Rob McKenna:
Well, I have to point out again that the congressman didn't answer the question. When is the right time to put this measure on the ballot? The fact is the newspapers, the media have reported that he refuses to take a position on when or even whether to take a package to the voters to allow them to decide whether to make the next round of investment in critical transportation projects.

Austin Jenkins:
Thank you. Mr. Inslee, you have 15 second followup.

Jay Inslee:
Well, the right time is when we regain and gain the trust of Washingtonians, who will in fact vote and support a transportation funding package that uses our multiple tools in the tool box to get this job done. Now, that is not a calendar date. It is a date of what we need to do, which is to build people's confidence and trust in the state government.

Austin Jenkins:
Thank you. Mr. McKenna, a judge in King County recently ruled that Washington's voter approved two thirds requirement for tax increases is unconstitutional. Your office is appealing that decision to the state supreme court. Meanwhile, initiative activist Tim Eyman is collecting signatures for another super majority initiative this fall. Setting the legal limbo aside, why is this good or bad public policy in your mind.

Rob McKenna:
Thank you for making the distinction between the law and public policy, Austin, I appreciate that. I will predict that, as a matter of fact, we will go to the state supreme court and we will succeed in overturning the superior court's decision, as we did the last time the democrats in Olympia challenged the two thirds voting requirement, and the supreme court ruled 9 0 against them. I support it as a matter of public policy because the voters have been very clear that they think the people running Olympia since 1985 are too ready to raise taxes too often,that they too often turn to tax increases as the solution. Even while people in our state, families and small businesses, are struggling with their own finances. The voters have been quite clear in the last several years that they felt their taxes were too high. So they cut them. They rejected a new income tax, which congressman Inslee's allies strongly supported. They even took the time to repeal the temporary tax on soda pop and bottled water just to make sure that people were listening in Olympia, and of course, they reenacted the two thirds voting requirement. They did so because it provides a higher wall, a higher hedge against tax increases that could otherwise become too routine. But it's not an impossibly high wall to surmount. In the most recent session, republicans and democrats joined together to repeal a tax loophole, in other words to increase the tax, by eliminating the tax preference for first mortgage interest for the big banks in our state. That passed with overwhelming support, more than two thirds in each case.

Austin Jenkins:
Thank you. 45 seconds, Mr. Inslee.

Jay Inslee:
Well, it is interesting to me that Rob supported multiple tax increases while he was on the county council and did not require a two thirds vote of the people to do that. So things do change, I suppose. Here's what I believe. I believe fundamentally in democracy. And it is a principle of democracy that we have one person, one vote. And that should be a bedrock principle for us. When we impose two thirds requirements, here is the result. One of our citizens gets one vote, another of our citizens gets one half votes. I believe all of my fellow citizens are entitled to one vote. And, therefore, I oppose this distortion of a democratic principle, let democracy rule.

Austin Jenkins:
Thank you. 15 seconds.

Rob McKenna:
I'm glad the congressman has clarified his position and is now clearly against a rule that 64% of the voters approved, the most recent, when it was most recently on the ballot, and they're likely to reapprove this fall. It's good to have a strong contrast, we clearly have that here.

Jay Inslee:
This is a great state. I know it deeply. I believe it's innovative capacity. And I believe that capacity exists all across the state. Whether it's a farmer growing aerospace biofuels in central Washington, or a worker at SGL making advanced carbon fiber in Moses lake, or a truck driver delivering products for export in Pierce County or a carpenter at the new solar manufacturing plants in Bellingham, all of the state of Washington has the capability to exercise what I believe is the unique Washington spirit. And that is the spirit of innovation. And I intend to get up every single morning for the next several years, if I am given this great opportunity, helping 100,000 people tap into that innovative spirit. Tap into the ability to build a working Washington. And I believe I'm up to that task. I believe I'm up to that task because I know this state, I know the ability to lead an economic engine of discovery, and I hope to win your vote to make sure that we can build a working Washington. We're fully capable of doing that. Thank you.

Rob McKenna:
Mr. Jenkins, nicely done today. Thank you very much. And thanks to our sponsors for the opportunity. You heard me today describe a new direction for Washington that will take us to where we need to go for job creation, for reform schools that are innovative, and for a higher education system that is affordable and accessible. You've also heard some clear contrasts and differences between my opponent and myself. I believe that we should create more private sector jobs, not more government jobs. I believe that we should support small businesses by lowering the cost of creating those jobs. I believe that we need a first class public education system so that all our children have access to great schools, and so that all of us adults are held accountable for any underperforming school. The problem is that in Olympia, all we hear are excuses. That we need more taxes, that we need more regulations. We need to move forward with education funding. We need to move forward with education reform. And with state government reform. We need to reform those costs that drive jobs out of our state. Marilyn and I stayed here when we graduated from college, never would have occurred to us to move elsewhere. We deeply care that your children and theirs be able to stay here as well. We look forward to the rest of this campaign. I ask you for your support in November. Thanks for this opportunity.

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06/15/12

Good Grief! Inslee spoke truth when he refused to blame the crash on homeowners and placed it correctly on Wall Street. This has been a systamatic dismantling of our Democracy on the part of the corporate 1% over the last 30 years and it isn't over yet.

Have the few of you on one of the too-few shows I hope to get something smart out of turned into nothing but pundits? Not one of you could pick up on the most important part of this debate and instead made it sound like a poliical ploy of a candidate?

Will not one of you admit that on air, or do you think it would make you sound like a rube? Not with a lot of us with our eyes open it wouldn't. Do I have to get cable and watch the Comedy Channel for some honesty and guts?

Frankly, I'm disgusted.

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