Throw in the towel on Matt Shea

Majority Democrats realize contentious representative is staying

  • Sunday, January 26, 2020 1:30am
  • Opinion

Matt Shea can’t take a victory lap around the state Capitol quite yet.

But the Republican representative from Spokane Valley can certainly start stretching his hammies. He’s well-positioned to defeat every attempt to boot him from office and be sitting on the House floor at Sine Die.

House Democrats and leaders of the Republican caucus couldn’t shame the rabble-rousing right-winger into resigning after the release of a report in December depicting him as an evil genius and associate mastermind behind a few anti-government protests.

While majority Democrats would love to expel him, they need Republican votes. Those aren’t coming. Democrats could, on their own, censure the six-term lawmaker for what he’s said and done outside Olympia that disturbs them deeply. Probably not. Even a hearing on findings of the House-commissioned report looks unlikely.

Reality is Democrats are running out of steam. They’re tired of talking about Matt Shea. They gabbed about him for a couple of stretches of time in caucus in recent days and the Members of Color Caucus did too, for an hour.

On Tuesday, the second day of the second week, House Democratic leaders all but threw in the towel.

“We don’t want to have Matt Shea take away from what we’re doing,” said House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan. “We don’t want all the attention to be about him.”

Realization is setting in that unless he’s charged and convicted with some crime — to be clear nothing of the sort is looming — Matt Shea is going to outlast them.

At this point, when asked, their best option may simply be to answer Matt Who?

The state’s new business tax to provide financial aid to thousands of college students looks to be in for an overhaul before a single dollar is collected.

There’s a problem. Actually a few. The popularity of the Washington College Grant — which promises money for all eligible students starting this fall — is greater than expected. There’s concern the tax, technically a surcharge on professional services isn’t going to bring in enough money for the state to keep its promise. And anyway, the surcharge is too darned confusing for those paying the tax and those collecting it.

The solution offered by Sen. Jamie Pedersen, D-Seattle, pretty much chucks out what lawmakers passed. The surcharge goes away and is replaced with a flat tax-rate increase for businesses with gross income above $1 million. Apparently this means thousands of businesses facing the surcharge will now avoid any increase, while some that didn’t have to pay the surcharge will now get a tax increase. Overall, more money will be generated.

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