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Rantz: Gov. Inslee’s insane $1.1 billion request to save orcas, and his campaign


Governor Jay Inslee is uniquely unqualified to save the southern resident orcas, yet he has the audacity to ask for a whopping $1.1 billion to do just that. This isn’t even about saving the orcas; it’s about saving his floundering campaign, which is gaining no traction even before it’s been made official.

To fund the plan, Inslee will rely, in part, on increased taxes (now that he stopped pretending he wouldn’t raise our taxes) and the creation of a capital gains tax. Given the state’s desperate need for transportation infrastructure funding, the constant demands of education funding, and the broken mental health care system that he’s overseen, it’s remarkably irresponsible to ask for this much to save orcas.

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Let’s be clear: saving the orcas isn’t the responsibility of Washington. It’s the responsibility, if anything, of the entire country or, at least, the Pacific Northwest and Canada. Why would we cover the cost, particularly when Inslee’s plan falsely assumes he can interfere with federal dams (he cannot).

“We share so much with the orcas, we share about the same body temperature, we share about the same heart beat rate, we share close familial social interactions and bonds, and we share the need to defeat environmental degradation,” Inslee confusingly shared at a press conference. “When we save the orcas from toxins, when we save the orcas from climate change, when we save them from pollution — we save ourselves.”

Relax, governor, the orcas can’t vote for you and don’t share a love of your political future. In fact, that’s part of what this is about: his future failed presidential campaign.

Inslee is embarking on a presidential campaign. He’s already raised money to explore the option, but he’s made up his mind and will run. He was hoping to have a carbon tax to launch his campaign on, since he’s angling to be the environmentalist candidate from the left. But that was an embarrassing failure in the midterm election.

With few meaningful legislative accomplishments under his belt (no, coming in as the absolute worst governor on taxes and spending isn’t a win), now he’s trying to use orcas to make the point that he cares about the environment, though the midterm election exit polls suggests the environment didn’t play a role in how folks voted. He can save the southern resident orcas from extinction, and by-golly, he can save the soul of this country. He can do neither.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday mornings from 6-9 a.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

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