Defiant and determined Matt Shea is poised for a victory lap

The Republican state representative, linked to domestic terrorism, is not likely to get the boot.

OLYMPIA — 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 on course to triumph over every attempt to boot him from office before this legislative session ends.

After a report depicted him as an evil genius and associate mastermind behind three anti-government protests, House Democrats and leaders of the Republican caucus couldn’t shame him into resigning.

Authors of the House-commissioned report alleged Shea’s actions amounted to domestic terrorism. Though investigators did not find him to be an “imminent direct threat” to anyone, they concluded “on a more probable than not basis, Representative Shea presents a present and growing threat of risk to others through political violence.”

Since the report’s release in December, many majority Democrats have openly called for his expulsion. But they would need help from Republicans to do that. A two-thirds vote is required, and there are no GOP lawmakers offering to assist.

Democrats could, on their own, censure the six-term lawmaker. But they probably won’t. Even a hearing on the content of the report looks very unlikely.

The reality is Democrats are tired of talking about Matt Shea. They’ve gabbed about him extensively a couple of times in caucus in recent days. Separately, the Members of Color Caucus did too, for an hour.

On Tuesday, the second day of the second week of the legislative session, caucus leaders pretty much threw in the towel.

“We don’t want to have Rep. Shea take away the good work we’re doing here in the Legislature,” said House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan, D-Covington. “The focus of the session shouldn’t be entirely on Matt Shea, it should be on those issues that people really care about.”

So unless Shea is charged and convicted with a crime in the next 50 days — which at the moment seems unlikely — he will be sitting on the House floor at Sine Die.

Going forward, when a Democratic lawmaker is questioned about this situation, the best option might be simply to answer, “Matt Who?”

Before lawmakers ran out the door in 2019, they hiked taxes on tens of thousands of businesses to guarantee financial aid to thousands of college students.

Now they want to overhaul the tax before a single dollar is collected.

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

On Tuesday, the Senate budget committee considered a bill crafted by Sen. Jamie Pedersen, D-Seattle. It substitutes what lawmakers enacted with an approach aimed at keeping the state’s promise and bringing in roughly $225 million more over the next four years than what’s on the books now.

Specifically, Pedersen ditches the workforce education investment surcharge. Instead, the general service business-and-occupation tax rate is boosted from 1.5% to 1.8%. This increase would only apply to businesses grossing more than $1 million a year. Also, an existing tax credit for small businesses is expanded.

Pedersen’s offering would mean an estimated 35,000 small businesses facing the surcharge will now not have to pay any B&O tax at all. An estimated 14,800 companies and professionals will be affected, however, including 4,400 that somehow didn’t have to pay the surcharge but will have to pay the higher tax rate. I’m still trying to figure that out.

One unanswered question is how much will Microsoft pay? This is a big deal, because last year company execs invited the increase and actually agreed to pay even more than the 1.8% rate. It appears the software giant won’t have to do so under this bill.

A different approach to this problem will be considered by a House committee Thursday.

If lawmakers want to act, there’s a time crunch. First payments of the surcharge are due next month, and a whole lot of folks would like to avoid sending the state a check.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@herald net.com. Twitter: @dospueblos


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@redmond-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.redmond-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Opinion

Cartoon by Frank Shiers
Editorial: Stopping COVID is now up to each of us

With a resurgence threatening, we need to take greater responsibility to keep the virus in check.

Back to the wild — a whole new outdoor recreation world | Guest editorial

When enjoying the great outdoors, continue to socially distance and be aware of how else COVID-19 has changed our world.

Earth Month 2020 and COVID-19: Caring for the planet and each other

Here are some ways to minimize your carbon footprint and protect the planet amid the pandemic.

KCLS is stepping up its commitment to patrons

KCLS has expanding its online resources so patrons can continue to learn, build skills, stay entertained and remain mentally and physically active amid the pandemic.

The true meaning of community | Guest editorial

LWTech president Dr. Amy Morrison reflects on how the COVID-19 outbreak has brought the community together.

Deserving respect for being human | Windows and Mirrors

Since the COVID-19 outbreak began, Asians and Asian Americans have been targeted. Here’s what’s been happening on the Eastside.

Thank you grocery store clerks

Recognizing the sacrifices of our unsung essential workforce.

Now is the time to be kind to each other | Windows and Mirrors

As the COVID-19 outbreak continues, it is important for us to be there for others in our communities.

To our elected officials: Be bold, be consistent, be honest, be helpful

By Patrick Grubb, Washington Newspaper Publishers Association Governor Jay Inslee has been… Continue reading

Libraries are the place to go according to poll

Library will host short film festival on March 20.

This Boeing deal could have ‘clawbacks’ in the ‘snap-back’

The company wants a tax break temporarily repealed. Some don’t want to give it back without new conditions.

We need to think before we act | Windows and Mirrors

As coronavirus has led to xenophobia and racism against Asians, we should all stop and think before acting on our biases.