Saturday, April 17, 2010
Over the past few weeks, we've accomplished some things no one thought we could. We made some major strides on important issues -- and I wanted to take a moment to recognize how much I've valued your insight, your feedback and critiques, and your tremendous support throughout the process.
Big issues like health care reform touch us all deeply and stimulate strong, passionate debate. I've heard from many of you about your feelings on this -- from anger to excitement, frustration to hope. What I think distinguishes us in Washington State is the way that -- no matter how our opinions may differ -- we can remain civil and constructive, always building bridges, seeking positive ways to make our community stronger, and listening with respect to each other.
I know good listeners make stronger leaders -- so I want to know what you think.
With the first health care fight behind us, I want to hear what you think is the most important issue to confront next.
I am ready to dig in on Wall Street reform, push clean energy to the forefront, and make sure we pass other measures to grow the economy and create more new jobs.
What do you think should be at the top of our priority list? Let me know -- click here and tell me which issue you think is most important.
Thanks again for your support and for taking the time to give me your feedback -- together we can continue to accomplish great things.
Very truly yours,
Member of Congress
Please come this Sunday, April 18, 2010 from 2 PM to 4 PM for a special post-Legislative session briefing with special guests Representative Ross Hunter, Representative Larry Springer, and Senator Eric Oemig!
Redmond Public Library
15990 NE 85th St
This is a great opportunity to be updated on the just completed Legislative session in Olympia and what we can look forward to next year regarding new and unfinished legislation. In addition we expect a lively discussion of what we can expect to look forward to next year regarding the budget and its impact on services and revenue sources.
This event is open to the public.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
A message to Democratic budget leadership: Say yes to a permanent beer tax increase
I was once a lobbyist for chemical dependency treatment programs. The first day I was in Olympia, one of the lobbyists for the big brewers shoved his card in my hand and made every effort to intimidate me. I can only guess how the combined pressure feels to you.
Nevertheless, I would ask you to consider the beer tax on its merits, which are many. I am in favor of raising the beer tax because its value has decreased 25% in Wa State since it was last increased in 1997. While it is true that some beer will be brought from Oregon to WA, the data I found showed 86% as many sales from WA going into Canada, so that point was pretty much canceled out.
There is strong public support for a beer tax if it is spent on prevention and treatment. This should be taken into account, especially since the final budget cut drug treatment across the board by 3% (if this is still true). Requiring people on GAU disability to go to treatment will require more treatment slots, and outpatient slots won't do much good if these people are jobless and homeless. They need inpatient treatment for 60 to 90 days. By extension, dedicating some of the tax to GAU disability medical coupons would make a good nexus.
Increasing the cost of beer will cause a decrease in teenage drinking, since beer is the favorite beverage of underage drinkers and they are more affected by cost increases than the general public is. Increasing the cost of beer has the documented effect of lowering rapes, STDs and teen pregnancies, by about 2%. Over 90% of domestic violence cases involve drunken behavior, according to police. Again, beer is most often involved and raising the price will marginally decrease this behavior. Beer is the beverage of choice of most alcoholics, so, while increasing the price will not stop their drinking, it will cause them to drink marginally less, causing less physical harm to themselves.
The federal beer tax has been increased only once since 1951. It would have to increase about 350% to reflect the cost of inflation since then. Beer is effectively much cheaper than it was in the '50s. It is also making us fatter.
There is no relation between the amount of beer tax and the amount of beer drinking. Wisconsin has among the highest rates of beer consumption and the lowest beer tax. The amount of beer consumption is mainly cultural. Tourist towns such as NYC and New Orleans have among the lowest rates.
Many of these facts are documented on a site called Beer Soaks America.
Please do not make this tax temporary. We have a deficit in the next biennium and a structural deficit thereafter, with obligations to fund pensions and education. We can take this one to the bank and work on closing tax loopholes and other good policy initiatives.
King County Democrats and Washington State Democrats voted in January to oppose regressive taxes and to support revenue increases, particularly non-performing tax exemptions, as opposed to more cuts.
Sarajane Siegfriedt, co-chair
King County Democrats Legislative Action Committee
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Saturday April 10, 2010
Registration Opens at 10:00 am
Convention Starts at 10:45 am
IAM Local 751 Seattle Hall
9125 15th Place South - Seattle 98108
The planning team has put together a great agenda where Senator Patty Murray will headline.
Officially released April 6th, the Platform committee has made their proposed document available at,
Five resolutions have been forwarded for DO PASS consideration and are available at,
You will also be able to view the platform online and in a side room at the hall. Comments will be allowed by using "post-its." The room will open at 9:00 am and be open to all voters until the platform is officially presented on Saturday afternoon.
Food and refreshment, music, door prizes and many elected officials and candidates will address the convention.
Join the King County Democrats in celebration of our candidates and platform work.
See you on Saturday,