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Sen. Andy Hill's claims are distorted | Letter
Andy Hill’s claims printed in your paper, your website and in his newsletter must be checked. It seems Andy is getting ever more bold in the size and scope of his distortions. Worse, his supporters are now parroting them in your publication.
Let me start with his mantra that he balanced the budget with “no new general taxes.” Perhaps we should not call that a lie. Perhaps it depends on Andy’s definition of “taxes.”
The state budget office says the new taxes that Hill denies exist will bring in almost a billion new dollars. Tim Eyman complained bitterly about the new taxes in “Andy’s budget.” What’s most shocking, is these “no new general taxes” were on November’s ballot – all five of them. How much gall must a politician possess to deny raising taxes when the voters themselves saw them on an advisory vote?
Hill brags that the budget bill passed with a lot of votes and is proof of bipartisanship. The truth is, the budget was finalized just two days before a state government shutdown would have been triggered. Further, the collection of bills that balanced the budget did not have bipartisan support and passed with the minimum number of votes needed.
It gets worse. Hill claims he “lead” the budget process in the Senate. The budget that Hill is so proud of cut teacher salaries by $280 million and made other unpopular cuts. But here’s the clincher – Hill voted against it. That’s right. The supposed leader of the Senate budget voted against unpopular elements of his own budget. I presume he wants to deny his role in balancing the budget at election time while simultaneously bragging that he led Olympia.
One of Hill’s claims is partly correct - education funding did increase. It wasn’t a function of Hill’s leadership though. Before he even got to Olympia, the State Supreme Court ordered increased education funding and the legislature committed itself to doing so. Now, after “Andy’s budget” has passed, the Supreme Court has called it inadequate and wants an update by this April.
Even in something as basic as equal rights, Hill didn’t lead. When the Senate was turning over every rock looking for the 25th vote required to pass marriage equality, Hill was silent. His official position was he was “thinking” about it. At long last, a majority of Senators committed and a vote was scheduled. At that point, Hill could just as well have stayed home. But Hill came in and voted with the majority.
I think equal rights are a matter of moral imperative. When people ask a public figure their position on moral issues, they deserve a straight answer. Either Hill’s moral compass didn’t know which way to point, or he had some other reason for going along to get along.
In Olympia, I can’t tell if Hill has been a leader or a sock puppet, but I know this: Doing one thing and saying another is the kind of politics that people are sick of.
Eric Oemig, Kirkland and former Senator of the 45th District