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Debate: McKenna takes swipes at InsleeAugust 30, 2012 @ 3:33 am (Updated: 3:37 pm - 8/30/12 )
Rob McKenna took a few swipes at Jay Inslee in Wednesday night's gubernatorial debate.
For the most part, the one hour debate, held at the Washington State University branch campus in Vancouver, was polite with candidates sticking to their talking points.
Inslee steered many of his answers - even about funding public education - back to his job creations plan, and McKenna said he had a "stubborn refusal to talk in specifics."
McKenna also said Inslee "has gotten so used to the same falsehoods that he has started to believe it."
Both candidates said they would not push for any new taxes if elected.
But McKenna drew attention to Inslee's use of the present tense in the phrase "I am not proposing taxes," saying that Inslee could very well do just that in the future, once he's elected.
McKenna pointed out Governor Gregoire and former Governor Mike Lowry both said they were not proposing tax increases when they were campaigning, and then raised taxes after they were elected.
Inslee quickly clarified that he will not support new taxes in the future.
"Let's get rid of that red herring right now," Inslee said.
The issue of personal taxes also drew one of the more interesting exchanges of the evening, with Inslee asking McKenna why he won't release his personal income tax records for voters to see as they pick the next CEO of the State of Washington.
"Rob, I have disclosed 5 years of my tax returns, our previous governors have disclosed their tax returns. Why do you feel you are exempt from this expectation?" Inslee asked.
McKenna got a round of applause when he responded, "I think I'm exempt from a lot of your expectations."
He added, "I'm not going to play this game. I have 16 years of detailed financial information that has been released." He jabbed Inslee again saying "You've heard of the Internet, you can look it up. It's ridiculous that we're even talking about this issue, when I've provided far more information about myself than you're going to find in tax returns."
"We could solve this right now. If this is a distraction, let's remove it," Inslee responded, as he explained the citizens of Washington deserve to know about the personal finances of a governor who could be leading a "multi-billion dollar" organization.
One other issue that came up, that wasn't discussed in the previous debate between the two, was the high cost of liquor in Washington. The price on the shelf may say $7.99 for a bottle of booze, but it's $12.49 when a customer pays for it at the cash register. Why?
"I wish you would have listened to me because I voted against the Initiative," said Inslee. "A lot of people have been unpleasantly surprised by what's happened in the industry. It's a lesson that when we get an initiative. We all need to think hard about them and make independent judgments not based on TV commercials."
"We're early in this process and I don't think prices have shaken out yet," McKenna said. "Voters were pretty clear that they prefer to move into the 21st century and get the state out of the liquor business."
In a closing round of rapid-fire questions. Umbrella or no umbrella? Inslee said this is Washington, and he's a "no umbrella" kind of guy. McKenna says, umbrella "of course, I'm not crazy."
Both prefer Huskies over Cougars, unless they're playing the Oregon Ducks, then both support WSU. Both strongly oppose a state income tax.
Additional debates are set for October 2 in Yakima and October 16 in Seattle. Polls show the race is close, though in the primary election Inslee had 47 percent of the vote, compared with McKenna's 43 percent.
Watch the debate:
By LINDA THOMAS
Photos, screen grabs from the gubernatorial debate broadcast on KATU TV, Portland.
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