Miloscia to challenge Chopp for State House Speaker

Given this year’s losses, I was wondering if State House Speaker might see a challenge from within his party… and just a few minutes ago, State Rep. Mark Miloscia (D-30) issued a press release announcing yup

“It is not enough for Democrats to win close elections; we must actually improve people’s lives. We only won because the voters recognized the Republicans also offered no solutions. The truth is that Democrats are failing the middle class and the voters don’t believe that government works for them. The people of this state have sent a clear message that a new direction is needed from our state leadership. Unlike our Governor (“I don’t have a path forward, to be honest..”) and the current leadership, I do have a plan that will involve more legislators and citizens engagement, take us in a new direction, and bring responsibility and prosperity to our state.”

For the past two years, Miloscia has been highly critical of the Democrat’s leadership’s proposed solutions, mostly consisting of gimmicks, big tax hikes combined with “a hope and a prayer.” Miloscia stated that the voters last week completely rejected the proposed Democrat Leadership’s solutions to our crisis (Income Tax, Eliminating 2/3 Vote for Taxes, Building Bonds, Soda Tax, etc) and party leaders are struggling to come up with something new. “I didn’t come to Olympia to watch the destruction of our education and human service systems. I came to chart a new path.”


I think Mioscia is a decent, well-intentioned guy and all that, I’ve long found some of his accountability proposals intriguing, and I don’t particularly mind seeing a leadership challenge… but I was kinda hoping for a challenge from the progressive side of the caucus. And besides, I think Miloscia is misreading this election.

But in any case, this should at least be fun to watch.


  1. 1

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Christine Gregoire sowed the seeds of state government’s destruction when she made a conscious and deliberate decision in 2004 to not pursue tax reform, either in her campaign or in office.

    I’m not sure why she made that decision. Lack of guts? Practical political considerations? Her philosophical views? I’m not sure.

    But that decision has wreaked, and will continue to wreak, havoc with public services in our state. It simply isn’t viable to maintain public services by adding more tax burden to the already-overtaxed lowest-income members of society. You’ll provoke a tax rebellion and won’t get the revenues. You’ll drive lower class and working class voters into the arms of the GOP.

    The time for tax reform was before an economic crisis hit, not when people are hurting from high unemployment, falling wages, and squeezes on their income from every direction.

    Maybe Gregoire couldn’t have succeeded with tax reform. Maybe no one could have. But by taking tax reform off the table during her first campaign, by promising to not even try, she guaranteed tax reform doesn’t have a chance.

    And without tax reform, nothing is possible, not even keeping the dwindling public services we still have. So far, the damage has been limited to being unable to raise taxes on those who are already paying the most and have the least ability to pay. That’s only the beginning. It’s only a matter of time before a tax repeal movement gathers steam.

    Eventually, tax fairness will come to our state. Someday, the poor will pay the same percentage of their incomes in state and local taxes as the rich pay. But not in the way you suppose. Right now, the poor pay 17% and the rich pay 3%; what’s going to happen is the poor will pay 3% and the rich will pay 3%, and with the repeal of billions of dollars in taxes our remaining public services will be decimated.

    This state has no future unless a politician with leadership skills and who is effective gets in front of the public and leads us to a rational tax policy that meets the needs of our state.

    That politician is not Christine Gregoire. She long ago quit being governor and became an office decoration.

  2. 2

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I-1098 would have taxed 1% of the state population, but two-thirds of the voters voted against it. When you have blue collars voting to let the rich keep screwing them, it’s hard to have any hope.

  3. 3

    LD spews:

    Roger, what doomed I1098 was a long history of the electorate changing initiatives like the 2/3 tax mandate of the people. It did not take a rocket science major to preclude that the 1% would soon be 100%.

  4. 4

    rhp6033 spews:

    The problem has always been that the middle-class in our state is, somewhat justifiably under our current system, afraid that the income tax burden will fall on them. After all, hasn’t that been the effect of our current tax system? Why would they think this would change under an income tax?

    That’s what the anti-income tax people counted on when they spent millions of dollars buying ads that said just that – that the income tax would apply to everyone in two year’s time. If you could sove that problem, I think the initiative would have passed.

    And, of course, we have the problem of whether any income tax would pass constitutional review in our state supreme court. It’s a problem which really needs a solution in the form of a Constitutional Amendment to clear up any questions, but that’s probably not going to happen in today’s political environment.

    Trying to tie a Constitutional Amendment to any specific tax rate or limitations on changes is just terrible policy. I’ve never believed that tax policy (or spending) should be engraved in stone in the Constitution, nor should it be subject to the initiative process. Taxes and spending are a delicate process of give and take, and neither the Constitution nor the initiative process is well suited for that process.

  5. 5

    Xar spews:

    @3: Except that the legislature hasn’t changed the sales tax rate since the 1970’s . . . despite being able to do so more or less at will.

    I understand that that argument is very scary to a lot of people, but it’s based on false premises. Even if it were true, it seems imposisble that a measure expanding the income tax to 100% of the population wouldn’t end up being subject to a referendum, much like the minor taxes on candy and soda (though that iniative was mostly sold as being a repeal of a grocery tax, which is complete crap).

  6. 6

    Richard Pope spews:

    Xar @ 5

    When I moved here in 1987, the sales tax rate in King County was 7.9%. Now it is 9.5%. All of the increase has been due to the LEGISLATURE authorizing local sales tax increases.

  7. 7

    Mark Centz spews:

    Popular 3 term Republican Gov. Dan Evans tried to get the state on a progressive income tax and failed before liberalism was successfully smeared. Skin of her teeth Gov Gregoire is supposed to do that in the current environment? Really, there is no chance of that happening without a popular grass-roots movement to push it, and it doesn’t exist, and instead of looking for scapegoats, we should be discussing organization of how to sell the notion to the state’s voters so that the pols will be fighting to get on board. That, friends, is how democracy is meant to work.

  8. 8

    Xar spews:

    @6: “Local sales tax increases.”

    Not state sales tax increases. The legislature gave local government options, but didn’t force them to exercise them. So the legislature hasn’t increased your sales taxes one bit.

  9. 9

    Sam Adams spews:

    The income tax prop was a trojan house to establish this tax for all.

    Prove me wrong.

    IMO: Most reasonable people wouldn’t mind a small tax increase if they were sure it would actually do something.

    Until then the expectation is gov’t does what citizens do when there are budget issues. Cut spending.

  10. 10

    Xar spews:

    @9: That’s not how this works. We don’t have to prove a negative, you need to present evidence to support your position.

  11. 11

    rhp6033 spews:

    “9. Sam Adams spews:

    The income tax prop was a trojan house to establish this tax for all.

    Prove me wrong.”

    You made a statement of opinion, and then call upon us to prove by evidence that it’s not true?

    It’s your own obligation to prove by factual evidence that your opinion is valid. Then we can either present our own evidence to the contrary, or we can challenge your facts, or your reasoning in using them to reach a conclusion.

    Your attempt to skip right over your own obligation of proving the truth of your assertion reveals a complete mis-understanding of the process of debate. It attempts to place upon the other side an unreachable standard of guessing your supporting arguments, and then refuting them, a process you could circumvent simply by saying those weren’t your arguments, or that you wouldn’t have expressed them in such a way. It’s the same as trying to prove a negative – a logical impossibility.

    In other words, we aren’t going to do your homework for you.

  12. 12

    um.... spews:

    I was right there with Miloscia all the way till I read to the end of that comment and realized, oh wait, he didn’t in fact chart any new path!

    Yet another bold call for bold leadership to boldly reform with new ideas and bold leadership bring people together innovate gobbledygook jargonfest boldly calling where no one has boldly called before….

  13. 13

    lauramae spews:

    Roger #1 This is so true.

    That said, I hope that Chopp gets the pants beat off of him and loses his position as speaker. His leadership the last couple of years has been completely uncollaborative. It was painfully clear that only a few people had any pull. Brendan Williams (my rep) was forced to air his legislative views in editorials and by sending constituents e-mails about what was happening. It made me furious that other ideas were completely squelched by our very poor leadership, the governor included. And her latest statement “I don’t have a path forward” was infuriating. They are mealy mouthed cowardly leaders. They suck. I agree with Roger that they all blew it early on and the crisis was very clearly above their collective skill grade.

    Frankly, I don’t think this group has the backbone to do anything meaningful. I hate Gregoire’s manner of delivery as she snips and snaps and walks away. Chopp is an old fogey old boy’s network kind of politician.

    Quite honestly, I found myself thinking that the cuts in the state budget were easily as bad as they would have been under Rossi.


  14. 14

    lauramae spews:

    Re 1098. I wasn’t really at all concerned that the legislature would extend the tax to everyone. Look at how long it took these pansies to come up with the pop tax. But even if they did, it wouldn’t have bothered me all that much.

    What did bother me is how the initiative limited where the taxes raised would go, and the loss of revenue (however small) in property tax and sales tax. We knew that the loss of the other sources of revenue would be definite and that it wasn’t entirely clear that the money raised from 1098 would materialize.

  15. 15

    Sarah spews:

    All the Republicans need to do is use their standard “This country is one in which everyone has the opportunity to blahblahblah” and the middle class thinks, “Yeah! I can become rich also!” and they vote down any tax that might hit the rich, because they don’t want to pay that tax when THEY become rich.

    It works every time, and it definitely worked this time.

  16. 16

    Sarah spews:

    All the Republicans need to do is use their standard “This country is one in which everyone has the opportunity to blahblahblah” and the middle class thinks, “Yeah! I can become rich also!” and they vote down any tax that might hit the rich, because they don’t want to pay that tax when THEY become rich.

    It works every time, and it definitely worked this time.

  17. 17

    Michael spews:

    And I’ll get right in that just as soon as I’m done stockpiling canned goods, propane, wooden matches, and shells for the 12 gauge. Between Democratic non-leadership and RaceTo The Bottom Republicans, we’re pretty much fucked.

  18. 21

    Michael spews:


    No jobs. Two congressional districts worth of population loss. An incoming Tea Bagger governor that’s turning away federal funding, funding that would have brought jobs and would have upgraded their rail system, which would have brought jobs. High murder rates in their big cities and shrinking funding for police forces.

    On the good side, rural Ohio does have lots of Amish and Mennionites, they should do alright.

  19. 22

    correctnotright spews:

    @3: LD
    1098 lost because it was way outspent and the ads for 1098 promoted distrust of governmetn and were deceptive.

    The ads said – do you trust Olympia – look what they have done with the sales tax. In fact, the sales tax has not been raised by Olympia for 27 years – but local taxes have gone up. The pro-1098 never had the money or the guts to counter these lies and voters misunderstood WHO was rasing the sales tax.

    I still think that a graduated income tax and getting rid of the sales tax completely (and revamping the B and O tax) would be a more equitable solution.

  20. 23

    Michael spews:

    a graduated income tax and getting rid of the sales tax completely (and revamping the B and O tax) would be a more equitable solution


    The ads said – do you trust Olympia – look what they have done with the sales tax

    The “you can’t trust those dirty buggers in Olympia” line works every time.

  21. 24

    donebe spews:

    I thought this was about Miloscia. He is a progressive but his issues have been low-income housing, “living wage”, where he has been seen as something of a wingnut. What tis may do is open the door for more challenges.

  22. 25

    Faceless Bureaucrat spews:

    I’m not hearing that Miloscia has much of a base. He is typically viewed as a gadfly; that’s not generally a recipe for winning the leadership position. What is he really bargaining for?