By Emma Scher
WNPA Olympia News Bureau
OLYMPIA— In his State of the State address Tuesday, Governor Jay Inslee emphasized his program requests, but was criticized by Republicans for fueling partisanship.
House minority leader J.T. Wilcox, R-Yelm, said he believes the governor “dissipated” feelings of unification after Monday’s speech by Speaker Frank Chopp, D-Seattle, at the House swearing-in ceremony. Inslee’s stance on gun control drew a clear line on the floor between Democrats, who gave a standing ovation, and Republicans, who remained seated. Representative Wilcox said that Inslee prolonged this ovation because of its divisive nature.
“Many in D.C. remain in the grips of the NRA,” Inslee said. “We are the state that stands up for common-sense gun safety reforms.”
Gov. Inslee’s address, a speech similar to President Trump’s State of the Union, gave his perspective on both the successes and ongoing issues in Washington State. He also called for a holistic approach to mental health, transformative environmental policy and a more equitable education system.
These plans include involving communities in behavioral health treatment, lowering carbon emissions and saving resident orcas, and helping low-income families access preschools, respectively. Republicans immediately responded with concerns, including how the governor intends to fund his policies.
“It’s much like when my kids they make their Christmas lists out and they want everything under the sun,” Rep. Jacquelin Maycumber, R-Republic, said. “This is just another Christmas list that Inslee has put out.”
Part of Inslee’s solution is a capital gains tax, a step toward reforming the least equitable tax system in the nation, according to a report by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. Many Republican lawmakers oppose a capital gains tax and criticize Inslee for calling for policies they believe the state is unable to fully fund without raising taxes.
But an expanded democratic majority reduces the necessity to compromise on his agenda, and planned weekend trips to Nevada and New Hampshire — two early primary states — have sparked questions about a potential presidential bid.
“Let this be our profound story, let it be bold, and most of all let it make history,” Inslee concluded Tuesday.