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NCW lawmakers cool to Inslee proposals

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State lawmakers — including, at right, Rep. Cary Condotta, R-East Wenatchee, and Sen. Linda Evans Parlette, R-Wenatchee — listen to the State of the State address delivered Tuesday in Olympia by Gov. Jay Inslee.

OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee was applauded and cheered by both sides of the aisle during his State of the State address Tuesday — when talking about the Seahawks.

Local Republican legislators criticized other parts of the annual address, in which the governor called for education funding, revenue for transportation projects and a statewide minimum wage increase.

Rep. Cary Condotta, R-East Wentachee, called the address the “least inspirational” he’s seen.

If he’s trying to create bipartisanship, he definitely has not achieved that,” Condotta said.

It was all the same themes we’ve come to expect,” he said.

Republicans took issue with Inslee’s call for an increased minimum wage, noting that Washington has the highest in the nation. Inslee suggested a $1.50 to $2.50 an hour increase.

Every job offers dignity, but not every job offers a living wage,” Inslee said.

Rep. Brad Hawkins, R-East Wenatchee, was concerned by the request when the state’s minimum wage is already indexed to rise with the cost of living. Republicans said an increase would hurt small businesses.

I tend to think having more people working in our economy is good,” Hawkins said.

Sen. Linda Evans Parlette, R-Wenatchee, said it would put a burden on border counties trying to be competitive with states that require less pay.

Inslee also said he would give business and occupation tax breaks to small businesses.

He announced a $200 million plan to better fund K-12 education in the wake of last year’s Supreme Court decision that said underfunding education was against the state constitution.

Promises don’t educate our children,” Inslee said.

Last week, the court said Washington had not made enough progress on increasing funding.

Inslee said the plan includes a cost-of-living adjustment for teachers, which was not required by the Supreme Court’s decision.

He also focused on a controversial transportation revenue package, which includes an added gas tax of about 10 cents per gallon.

The governor warned that inaction on transportation revenue would lead to a large decrease in the maintenance budget over the next few years.

If education is the heart of the state, transportation is its backbone,” he said.

Inslee also announced healthcare initiatives for children, and called for action on climate change.

The problem is revenues for the state of Washington haven’t improved, they’re rather flat,” Parlette said. “The governor didn’t give us any specifics about where this money’s coming from.”

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