As Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee seeks a third term, the state of Washington is facing several issues that the next governor will have to address. Here are some of those issues and Inslee’s position on them.
COVID-19: This spring, Inslee used emergency executive authority to put one of the most restrictive lockdowns in place to counter the nation’s first outbreak. Since then, the governor has implemented a four-part plan allowing counties to ease restrictions to businesses and social activities based on public health metrics. He’s also implemented a statewide mask requirement. Reopenings have largely been frozen since a spike in cases over the summer, and the governor has said his priority is to get infections down low enough for schools to open, even if it means other social activities are restricted.
Climate change: Bolstered by large Democratic majorities for the first time in years, the Legislature passed several of Inslee’s climate bills in 2019. The governor has at least two high-priority bills he wants to pass. One is a clean-fuels standard, which would lower the carbon content in transportation fuels over time, which critics, spearheaded by the oil industry, warn could raise gas prices. The other proposal would expand Inslee’s executive authority to limit carbon emissions by some companies.
Taxes: Inslee won’t say what will be in the proposed state operating budget he’s scheduled to release in December. In past proposals, the governor has put forth new taxes on capital gains and hiking some of the Business & Occupation tax.
Boeing’s plans to move production to South Carolina: “We cannot be a state that just takes orders from any corporation, any company. … We just can’t roll over and play dead here.”
Police reform/racial equity: Inslee is supportive of a range of changes being examined by a pair of task forces. Those groups are considering the creation of independent investigations of law enforcement, a public database for use-of-force incidents, and changes to police training and tactics, among other ideas.