Governor calls for “action … this day” in ambitious State of the State address

In yesterday’s State of the State address, Gov. Jay Inslee continued the ambitious agenda he set out when he released his supplemental budget proposal. The Seattle Times reports,

…the governor urged lawmakers — who began the 60-day legislative session this week — to move forward on a host of pressing issues.

“I can encapsulate the state of our state very simply — we need action,” Inslee said.

“We can wake up every morning the next 60 days understanding we need ‘action, this day’ — which was Churchill’s first order at the beginning of World War II, but it serves to focus on the many tasks before us,” the governor added.

Last month, Inslee proposed a state supplemental budget that uses existing tax collections and federal COVID aid to add billions in spending and add to the state’s reserve accounts without new taxes.

(See here for background on Churchill’s directive.)

Today’s inflation news and voters’ validated economic concerns would argue for fiscal restraint and focused attention on economic vitality. While the governor made references to reducing economic disparities, his address contained no specific proposals for tax and regulatory burdens on households and employers. From his address:

We must take action this day to keep and strengthen our commitments to those in need right now and in the future. We must take action this day to fight the homelessness crisis; to reverse social and economic disparities; to educate our children and serve those in foster care; to fund our transportation system; and to protect our salmon and orca. We must take action, this day, to fight the threat of climate change that is now hitting us hard.

On his transportation agenda:

We also need to invest in our aging transportation system in a way that meets the demands of the future while aggressively decreasing the impacts of climate change from the same system. We need more transportation and less pollution at the same time. That’s why my 2022 transportation budget is no ordinary supplemental proposal.

We have a unique opportunity with one-time and new federal funds — along with state money — to provide nearly $1 billion to fund clean transportation programs and activities that reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector; preserve the infrastructure we have; and support critical investments to improve ferry service reliability. This includes $324 million to support ferry electrification. We desperately need boats — cleaner boats — to give Washingtonians reliable ferry services.

And to legislators: If you have bigger ambitions or bolder ideas, I am ready to engage, discuss and support your efforts.

My budget also supports increased diversity and inclusion in the transportation sector by addressing disparities in hiring and recruiting a diverse workforce at those entities.

The broader transportation system remains our number one emitter of greenhouse gases that pollute our air and water and drive climate change. Last session, this Legislature passed historic laws to reduce emissions — including the Climate Commitment Act — and we must not hesitate to take action, this day, to implement those laws. We need a clean fuel standard as well.

As the ST reports,

In a nod to both the COVID-19 pandemic and fears over security, Inslee delivered his annual State of the State address in a Capitol temporarily closed to the public around the time of the speech.

Inslee spoke in the Capitol building’s State Reception Room to an audience consisting only of journalists, who were spaced apart and had received negative coronavirus test results the day before.

Video here.