Dino Rossi’s people person driven agenda

At a campaign stop an “Idea Bank” forum in Longview yesterday, Republican gubernatorial candidate nonpartisan Forward Washington Foundation founder Dino Rossi “primed the pump” with his own ideas on how to turn around Washington’s fifth best business climate foundering economy. At the top of his list? Repealing Washington’s estate tax.

“It chases entrepreneurs out of our state,” he said. “It is better to die in any other state of the union than in Washington.”

He also called for reinstating the spending limit voters passed by initiative in 1993, which he said the Legislature repealed in 2005. He said the newest budget passed in Olympia had a 33 percent spending increase, which is unsustainable.

“I spent seven years in Olympia,” he said. “You’ll find a whole lot of people there who think they know all the answers. But the real solutions will come from people closest to the problems. We need an agenda that is people-driven, instead of coming from the top down.”

A “people-driven” agenda, huh? You mean like last year’s estate tax repeal initiative, I-920, which was rejected by voters in 36 of 39 counties, and by an overwhelming 62-percent to 38-percent margin statewide? Um… what exactly doesn’t Rossi understand about a 24-point landslide? “If he keeps talking like that,” one political wag quipped to me, “Rossi is going to become awfully familiar with the figure ’38-percent.'”

Rossi is pitching a solution voters have already rejected, to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. And apparently, he sees absolutely nothing inconsistent — or “top down” — about calling for reinstating a 1993 initiative at the same time he ignores the results of a ballot measure from 2006.

Talk about somebody who thinks he knows all the answers.

While sounding very much like someone on the campaign trail at Tuesday’s forum, Rossi said he is not a declared candidate for the 2008 gubernatorial race and won’t announce until December whether or not he will run.

Take your time, Dino. Take your time.


  1. 2

    ArtFart spews:

    When it finally comes to the point where Dino has to officially call his creation a “campaign”, where do you think the Blethen family is going to show up on his list of donors?

  2. 3

    Aaron spews:

    @1: “State death tax” is a neat bit of propaganda. The tax isn’t on the dying it is on the living who are reaping an unearned windfall. Tough shit if you don’t get to step into daddies shoes when he kicks the bucket, you got to earn.

  3. 4


    Thanks for the prediction, Stefan. I’ll be sure to quote this back at you when Darcy wins the nomination (or perhaps, when Tom withdraws next spring.)

    Hmm. Hard to see how Tom can claim to be a better fit for the district than Burner, when he’s siding with only one-third of the district’s voters on such a high profile issue.

  4. 5

    Bill Anderson spews:

    Rossi is driving a people-driven agenda.

    It’s just that the people are the Republican Party leaders. Not sure a wise thing to do (if one wants to be elected) when the party’s recent electability record is so poor recently..

  5. 6

    Broadway Joe spews:

    Why do I see Dino just getting utterly bitch-slapped in the ’08 election, a la Ellen Craswell? If last year was a Blue Wave, ’08 could be a fucking tsunami.

  6. 7

    SeattleJew spews:

    This is absolutely weird. Either Rossi actually believes this stuff (sad), is a double agent (what does Darryl look like w/o a beard?), or he is running for Grand Tillikum of the Publican Remnant.

    Maybe the latter is true. The Tillikums Elttaes were a group of Seattle business people who celebrated the success of this city as the capital of Alaska. The celebrations consisted of dressing up as totem poles, wearing feathers and brown paint, and dragging some sort of Sambo-esque native fugure through the streets of Seattle at the annual Potlach. Of course, THIS Potlach only featured folks dressing up as Indians. The real indigenes were pretty much cleared out by that time. Anyhow, somehow the Tillikum people disappeared during WWII, never to be seen again.

    Maybe, just maybe, the Tillikum people, like their predecessors, still live? Is there a secret Tillikum village at the Highland? Broadmoor? Has the time come to place the Tillikum~Publicans on a reservation?

  7. 8

    RightEqualsStupid spews:

    That lying cocksucker Steffy will just deny he made the prediction Goldy. You know how Publicans work. But turn it around on the punk. Since he’s all for abolishing the so-called death tax, does that mean he’d vote for Rodney? Yeah right.

  8. 9


    Is Rodney Tom the Republican STEALTH candidate? He seems to be getting more Republican support than the Boufant Grey Fox is getting.

    Must be all that experience….

  9. 13

    SeattleJew spews:

    I suggest folks think a bit more carefully about Rodney Tom. The success of the democratic party is partly a reaction to the shear incompetence of the Bush regime and part a rejection of the extreme right. There really are only a limited number of folks who would rather bet of creation than genetics as we compete to survive in the 21st century!

    However, this does not yet mean a move to the left in the public at large or even in the Demo party. A number of the new Dems, e.g. Jim Webb, are more conservative than Joe Lieberman but fit in under the Radar because of opposition to Bush and esp. to Bush’s war.

    I would be very surprised if by October the Congress does not have enough votes to pass legislation that forces an end, albeit not a rapid one, to Bush;s Wonderful Adventure. This will depend on senators and reps abandoning the Captain Rove’s ship. How these defections will occur is not clear. Some will switch parties but bring a lot of the concervative agneda with them.

    Tom appears to me to be an forerunner. When Darcywins, she can not function a la Jim MickyD and this may PO a number of ua.

  10. 14


    re 13: A recent article in the Nation magazine says that the Democratic candidates who won against conservatives ran on Progressive principles.

    The kind of caution you are advising gets us saddled with Liebermans.

  11. 15

    proud leftist spews:

    The Republican Party of Washington is truly bankrupt of talent when a dimwitted, deer-in-the-headlights kind of guy like Rossi is the party’s big star.

  12. 16

    RightEqualsStupid spews:

    We need to work hard against ANY Dem who doesn’t understand there are two sides to the coin. The Democratic side and the side of the Publican traitors. We can’t afford to give in to traitors. Tom is a Publican in sheep’s clothing.

  13. 17

    SeattleJew spews:


    We are terrifically fortunate to have Darcy. But before polarizing things, rather than just dissing anyone who sees the light as a potential traitor, why not be specific?

    On what issues do you think Tom doesn’t belong in the Demo party? What about folks like Webb … would you like him to switch to his original party? Would you prefer Blumberg as a Dem than a Unity candidate?

    For that matter would you reject Schwarznegger or Snow if they switched?

    Ideology is fine as long as you are willing to live by its consequences. You know OUR party has been there too. we elected Reagan! .

  14. 18

    proud leftist spews:

    16 and 17
    I believe in both forgiveness and redemption. So, I think we need to accept into the fold those Republicans who disclaim their errant ways and declare themselves to be Democrats. I think we should trust that their intentions, and ideologies, are good until they prove otherwise. Often converts are the strongest advocates for their new religions. I’m certainly willing to give Rodney Tom the benefit of the doubt for the time being.

  15. 19


    All we need in this state is a tax system that is well within the mainstream of other growing states this size. If that means a less onerous estate tax (or no estate tax) then fine but I’m sure it also means an income tax.

    Imagine a state legislature and governor’s office staffed with self-identified progressives who are afraid of touching the regressive taxation in this state.

    Tacking stuff on to the sales tax like the RTID cannot be good for the Dems.

  16. 20

    SeattleJew spews:

    I not only like the estate tax, I think it could and should be extended to any and all income that is not taxed during one’s lifetime. We are fortunate to be the home to several wonderful fortunes .. from Microsoft to Starbucks, to ATT, to Amazon … the number of estate holders here who have never paid taxes on their real worth is humongous AND some of these have spoken clearly about their belief in fair taxes.

    I even wonder if we might not consider a wealth accretion tax rather than an income tax? In such a system, you can earn what you want, invest what you want, but as net worth increases, a portion of this goes to the State. This is a naturally progressive tax (imagine a flat tax on increased wealth!) and if done well, it can support investment by allowing for deductions for working capital in WA sate. In other words, if you build umbrellas in Beijing and invest in the Bejins Army Rain Works, your gain in value is taxed but the same investment in the North Bend Bumbershoot and Bread Company could be made tax exempt.

  17. 21

    SeattleJew spews:

    @18 What I want is a party of hard edged, pro-American opportunity activists. E.g. I have no a priorities about mechanism. Free markets, government entities .. I just wantt o know what creates the best opportunities for MFA. (My fellow Americans).

  18. 22

    ArtFart spews:

    20 You’d have to be pretty careful crafting such a tax, SJ. I can conceive of situations where if it wasn’t done right, someone of moderate means with substatiantial assets (like a house they owned and lived in for a long time) but also substantial liabilities (huge prescription-drug bills paid by credit card, failure to file income tax for a couple years) kicking off and leaving their kids an “inheritance” of debt.

  19. 23

    ArtFart spews:

    19 “Imagine a state legislature and governor’s office staffed with self-identified progressives who are afraid of touching the regressive taxation in this state.”

    Some of us are old enough that we don’t have to imagine…we can actually remember when that was the case.

  20. 24


    @22 I do not see the problem.

    A wealth tax should be on net wealth. Inheritance taxes would no be needed if we had a wealth tax and no one s proposing the ability to inherit debt.

  21. 25

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    When Dino Rossi says “people,” he doesn’t mean the 100,000-plus state employees and their families who went for six years with only a 2% cost of living increase. He doesn’t mean the hundreds of thousands of frustrated commuters who spend their time in traffic jams instead of with their families because the Republicans who controlled our state legislature for ten years were too cheap to spend a dime on meeting our transportation needs. He doesn’t mean the million-plus kids who attend our public schools. When Dino says “people,” he only means people who think exactly like him. In his mind, no one else counts.

  22. 26

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Why should voters trust a greasy real estate salesman who dodges our state’s campaign finance laws by setting up a phony non-profit to pay himself a salary from political donations to run our state government?

  23. 27

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    When the broker that Rossi worked for got out of prison after serving a term for robbing widows and orphans, Rossi couldn’t wait to work for the guy again. Rossi has no morals or scruples. You can’t trust him with the key to your kid’s lunch box, much less trust him to run our state government.

  24. 28

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I think we should eliminate the estate tax and treat inheritances as ordinary income of the heir.

  25. 29

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    To put things in perspective, wage earners get about $8,000 in exemptions, and Republicans bitch and complain because heirs who did absolutely nothing to earn their windfalls get only $2.5 million in exemptions.

    I don’t think estates should be taxed. I think heirs should be taxed, and should get the same exemptions and tax rates and wage earners get — no more, no less.

    I dare any of you wingnut trolls to prove that’s unfair.

  26. 30

    Bill Anderson spews:

    Funny that the right wasnts people to speak loudly via initiatives all the time — but when they speak, if they aren’t in agreement, the right throws the people’s views aside.

    Just a bit of hypocrisy…

  27. 31


    I hope Rossi does run. It will ensure that Republicans will remain in the minority. The sure pick winners; the unqualified John Carlson, the religious wing-nut Ellen Craswell, etc.

  28. 32

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @31 I can’t figure out why Republicans are willing to stake their fate in statewide politics on a nonentity like Rossi. The guy has absolutely nothing going for him.

  29. 33

    niteskystar spews:

    #32 Yes Dino Rossi has only one thing going for him, Dino is cute in a Dinosaur Barney kinda way.

    Suntanned and teeth as white as chiclets. Said my swooney friend who will vote for any cute guy that says the right things. I told her stick to learning about the issues and find about this guys right wing agenda. Forget the suntan and the George Hamilton persona.

  30. 34

    Breath of Fresh Air spews:

    SJ, your post #7 sounds pretty racist. It is even worse when one considers that Rossi is Native American.

    Roger Rabbit, you seem to be big on character assasination. I can see if you want to trash Rossi’s politics, but do you have to defame him personally? Are you really that mean, because you must be aware that you have absolutely no idea if what you are saying is even true? Maybe you don’t have enough real substance to talk about?

    Let me assure you – you’re wrong. Do think Rossi should work for nothing? He should be the one guy out there who runs a foundation and gets no salary? Do you think poeple should be indicted if they even know someone who has done something wrong, or if someone they work with has done something wrong? That is an interesting new way to approach justice.

    Your judgements of this guy are pretty arbitrary. Why not look at facts? He’s never had a brush with the law, he’s never been sued, he earned everything he made and was never handed a thing, he is loyal to his wife, he is a good father, he is a public servant when he could be making way more money in business – now that is reality. Hate his conservative politics? Cool. Go for it. Take his positions and rip ‘em to shreds. But why defame someone? Didn’t your mother teach you better than that?