Posted by Charles Rehberg on Jul 31, 2017
North Notes
Spokane North Rotary Club Bulletin
July 31, 2017
          Holmes notes: Sandy Fink, our key coordinator with Holmes Elementary School, urges members to consider being a mentor at the program.  Sandy, Lenore Romney, Chuck Rehberg and several others have served in the mentor program for years, beneficial, we think, for the students and for us.  Typically, mentors meet one hour a week, often at the lunch hours to meet one-on-one with a student.  When former Holmes principal Steve Barnes was asked how many students benefit as mentors, Steve said, “Every one of them would.”
          Sandy also said representatives from all of the agencies, clubs and partner programs will gather in August to share ideas and coordinate with Holmes’s staff to maximize impact and avoid duplication efforts.
WPC can help watch your state grow and grow
          Judging by this week’s low voter turnout, elections and legislative discussions are not top of mind in these hot dog days of summer.
          But the long, long state legislative, said Chris Gargill, “will change Washington State forever.”
          Cargilll, Eastern Washington director for the Washington Policy Center, joined club members July 31.  It was Chris’ third consecutive annual visit for his visit, and, as usual, he had plenty to talk about.
          The WPC is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan think tank, with offices in Seattle, Olympia, Spokane and the Tri-Cities.
          The state legislative numbers astound average residents.  Cargill said the legislature worked through the 100-day calendar, then added three more 30-day special sessions.  Some 2,500 bills were introduced in the 190 day deliberations.  He added that each legislative day costs taxpayers $10,000.
          The 2017-19 biennium passed with $41.6 billion, increasing $2.6 billion from the previous biennium.  To pay for the tax load, sales were added on bottled water, internet taxes on out-of-state purchases, “extracted” fuels and a number of other issues, Cargill noted.
          Despite 190 days of deliberations, much work remains.  Included are the capital state budget and the continuing wrangling over how to define “fully funding” education.  And, amid the federal feuding over the myriad health issues, such as the Affordable Care Act, the state must still work through Medicaid and which insurer firms will stick around.
          One aside from Cargill as the turmoil swirls: “The Valley Hospital has a sign in the lobby saying ‘We Don’t Acccept Medicaid.’”  
          Cargill said Medicaid “is a ticking time bomb.”  He said 780,000 of Washington’s 7 million residents are signed up for Medicaid and if the ACA is scuttled some 290,000 people will lose some of their health care coverage.
          Meanwhile, various courts, including the state supreme court, debate education issues from class sizes – especially in kindergarten through 3rd grade – to levy taxes, new schools, additional administrators, transportation and meal plans.
          Cargill noted that Washington State also leads most states in “mandates,” those expensive issues ordered to be funded.  He said Washington has 58 mandates, compared with 40 in Oregon and just 13 in Idaho.
          He said some 1,200 people are expected to WPC’s annual dinner, Sept. 27, at the Davenport Grand Hotel.  Guest speaker is Nigel Farage, a FOX News analyst and former leader of the British Independence Party and a member of the European Parliament since 1999.
The bulletin producers:
Bulletin editors: Chuck Rehberg and Sandy Fink
Photo: Eric Johnson
Program coordinator: Brad Stark