Dori: Legislature’s sneaky bill considers salmon the 4th branch of government

Jan 17, 2020, 3:08 PM | Updated: 3:58 pm

Legislators in Olympia have introduced some alarming “Trojan Horse” bills to raise our taxes that you’re not going to hear about this anywhere else.

As the name implies, a Trojan horse bill seeks to hide a piece of potentially controversial legislation under the guise of legislation that sounds more agreeable to all involved. Bills like the ones I’m about to tell you about are just another example of why our tax tabs are so high. My thanks to listener Mark in Port Orchard for this awesome tip.

Senate Bill 5130 purports to be about raising revenue to remove state fish barriers. The bill writers maintain that this would help save the salmon, which in turn helps save the orcas. It sounds good, right? But then you go down a ways in this bill and learn that they want to raise the money by charging an excise tax on every real estate sale — thousands of dollars when you sell your home. Alright, but it’s for the good of the salmon, isn’t it?

Read down a little further. I know it’s a little wonky, but no one else covers this, and you need to know what is truly going on in Olympia this Legislative session. What is the Legislature going to do with all the money raised from the real estate excise tax? It will go toward helping the salmon, right?

Wrong. Here is how it will be spent:

  • 2 percent to a public works assistance account
  • 4.1 percent to an education legacy trust account
  • 1.6 percent to a city-county assistance account
  • 16.7 percent to the motor vehicle fund
  • 75.4 percent to the general fund — where it can be spent on whatever the Legislature wants

I did not see anything in there about funding the removal of salmon barriers; that’s only in the title of the bill. If the legislators — and the constituents — don’t bother to read the contents of the bill, they will be none the wiser. And the truth is, the majority of that money is just going to the general fund to be blown.

Here is another Trojan Horse bill about salmon recovery efforts. I hope you all remember from elementary school that we have three branches of government — the legislative branch (which makes the laws), the executive branch (which carries out the laws), and the judicial branch (which upholds the laws). But House Bill 2549 suggests that there might be a fourth branch of government.

What could that fourth branch be? This bill says that “salmon retain an importance akin to being a fourth branch of government.” I am not making this up.

This is just to give you a glimpse of what happens when Democrats control both the Senate and House in Olympia. We have no checks and balances on taxes, and salmon are viewed as the fourth branch of government.

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Dori: Legislature’s sneaky bill considers salmon the 4th branch of government