Sen. Rebecca Saldaña has been successful at sponsoring bills that benefit all Washingtonians, such as the Washington Voting Rights Act.
State Sen. Rebecca Saldaña is closely aligned with the left wing of the Democratic Party. When she is championing the righteous Washington Voting Rights Act, that’s good. But when she is lamenting the plight of taxpayers while condoning high taxes, her perspective is both confusing and concerning.
After the Washington Supreme Court ordered the Legislature to fix the unconstitutional way the state pays for public schools, lawmakers raised state property taxes and told school districts to lower their local taxes. In an editorial board interview, Saldaña said she would support blowing up this hard-fought agreement by lifting the levy lid. The next day, by email, she said she would not.
Next to the property tax hike, tax complaints include Sound Transit 3’s unreasonable car tab valuation schedule. But when asked about fixing the problem, Saldaña says, “the way it is, while not ideal, it’s not worth the extra effort.”
Saldaña is running for re-election to the 37th Legislative District Senate seat she assumed by appointment after Pramila Jayapal won election to Congress in November 2016. The former executive director of Puget Sound Sage was unopposed in a 2017 special election to represent South Seattle and part of Renton.
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She deserves a stronger challenger. With nearly 90 percent of the primary vote, Saldaña will easily defeat Beth Broadway. The Republican teacher deserves credit for stepping forward because she disagrees with Saldaña’s tax-and-spend default mode. She speaks compellingly about the burden of “taxes, tolls and car tabs.” But her civic resume is thin, and her small-government philosophy is not informed with realistic understanding of legislative budgeting. She is not qualified.
Saldaña should take some of Broadway’s concerns to heart. Although she has been an advocate for worker rights, Saldaña shouldn’t be a guaranteed yes vote for every labor initiative. She has the brains and political savvy to take a more nuanced approach on both taxes and worker rights.
She was the prime sponsor this year of a new law that will help more Washington residents get the training they need to become electricians. Housing and homelessness are priorities, and Saldaña wants related issues considered in a new Senate committee.
Saldaña erred when she joined most lawmakers in voting to exempt the Legislature from the state Public Records Act. The governor vetoed that bill after a public outcry.
If voters send Saldaña back to Olympia, as expected, she should think carefully before burdening her constituents with higher taxes.