Monthly Archives: June 2015

Ranker: Washingtonians deserve clean air and safe roads

June 30th, 2015|

“This evening we passed a transportation package that makes an historic $6.1 billion investment in our transportation infrastructure.  It funds a fourth ferry and provides $300 million in new operating funds to guarantee ferry service levels for over six years.  It provides funding for critical projects in Whatcom, Skagit and San Juan Counties such as the Guemes Channel Trail, Sharpes Corner, and the Slater Road Interchange.

“Unfortunately, I could not support this proposal as it included language that the Republicans demanded blocking Governor Inslee from advancing the clean fuels program.  The clean fuels program is one of the most effective and proven ways to address climate change, safeguard clean air, and support new and innovative Washington businesses and local jobs.

“The clean fuels program would reduce carbon emissions by over four million tons per year in Washington State.  Children with asthma and adults with chronic lung disease will breathe easier with each passing year as fuels, and the air, become cleaner in Washington. The oil industry should be held accountable for cleaning up the air that they impact instead of taxpayers footing the bill.

“In the end however, we were asked to choose between a critical transportation package and clean air and healthy communities.  Washingtonians deserve clean air and safe roads. To pit one against the other is a false choice and helps no one. We need both.

“We should have passed a clean transportation package that simply builds critical transportation infrastructure and does not make ideological demands.
“The health of our children, our economy and our environment are at stake. There is so much more we can do as a state and a country to address climate change. Today one of those critical tools was taken from us.”

  • Permalink Gallery

    Ranker: Many of our state’s core values are represented in this agreement

Ranker: Many of our state’s core values are represented in this agreement

June 30th, 2015|

“While I supported this budget, I cannot support the process. It should not take the risk of a government shutdown to reach an agreement. We should not risk the long term fiscal health of our state and we should not play political games with our public employees and the services they provide. We owe our public employees an apology for playing politics with their well-being.

“In the end, this is a compromise budget and with compromise no side gets everything it wants. This said, I feel that many of our state’s core values are represented in this agreement.

“We made college more affordable by decreasing college tuition for the first time in state history.  We invested in the programs which protect our state’s most vulnerable that were devastated during the Great Recession. We also increased teacher compensation for the first time in several years and while we definitely did not do enough, it is a step in the right direction.

“We also however, came up short in some areas. We still have much to do when it comes to K-12 funding. While we did invest more than $1.3 billion in education, we failed to address some of our most pressing needs such as fixing our school district levy system and addressing the voter-approved class size initiative – key issues in the Supreme Court’s McCleary Decision. All told, these critical issues carry a daunting price tag of approximately $5 billion in additional revenue.

“While there was bipartisan agreement that we must raise new revenue to pay for this, unfortunately there was no agreement on which tax to raise with Republicans pushing a significant property tax increase and Democrats supporting a high-earner capital gains tax.

“In the end, we accomplished a lot, but there are many challenges left. I hope that as we move forward we can tackle these issues together and with the best interests of the state and its people in mind.”

Sen. Ranker Asks for Input on the Ferry Reservation System

June 1st, 2015|

“Over the past several weeks, I’ve heard from many of you regarding your ideas, questions and concerns regarding the Washington State Ferries Reservation system.

“I want you to know that I too have questions and share some of your concerns. While some of you have shared stories with me regarding significant benefits of the reservation system, others have expressed serious concerns stating that the reservation system has made it difficult for locals and businesses that rely on our ferries.

“One thing is for sure, the implementation of the Reservation System is a work in progress and while I do not anticipate, nor do I support, the repeal of the system, there are likely to be changes made as we learn what works and what doesn’t.

“In addition to receiving comments from dozens of individuals at my office in Olympia and on the island, I have held meetings with members of our lodging industry, construction industry, local ferry workers, chamber of commerce, visitor’s bureau and others. I have also met directly with State Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson.

“These meetings have been productive and critical toward understanding all aspects of this issue. I have provided a letter to Secretary Peterson that lays out my preliminary recommendations to address some of the issues with the reservation system.

“Your continued input is a crucial part of this process. Please contact me at my office at (360) 786-7678 or by email at Kevin.Ranker@leg.wa.gov so that I may hear what you think and what ideas you may have so that we can keep people and commerce moving.”