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Babies for 1098

Initiative 1098 is all the buzz right now.  We’ve just discovered the most compelling case for 1098 yet – a baby:

Do it for the children


Luchador? Robin Hood? Definitely a Hero.



They don't just give those belts away


When the general election ballots make it to your door, you will find the usual alphabet soup (do they make numeric soup?) of ballot measures. It can definitely get confusing, and those little blurbs on the actual ballot are usually just enough to remind you that you don’t know what the heck it’s all about. Ten ninety who? R fifty cent? Never fear, the Bus has got wheels so we’ve got a head start towards the whole initiative circus, and its looking much clearer now. We’ve already given a nod, a nudge and a wink to Referendum 52, one of this year’s ballot heroes. Now meet its best friend, the awe-inspiring Initiative 1098, who is here to save Washington’s future in a big big way.

I-1098 will set up a trust fund for education (BOOM), health care (BAM), and middle class tax relief (KAPOW), a true investment in the future of Washington. And the investment is substantial – over $2 billion is expected to be accrued to the fund every year. Our state education system would be seeing an extra billion dollars every year, health care would benefit from roughly a half-billion, and the remaining would allow for tax relief for property owners and nearly 90% of businesses. These aren’t numbers I pulled out of a hat (that was indeed a rabbit); local experts such as the Economic Opportunity Institute, Sightline Institute, Our American Generation, and the Washington State Budget and Policy Center have all done their homework. Follow each link to see what those folks have got to say about 1098; the Economic Opportunity Institute in particular is on their shizznat. You can also check out the measure with your own spectacles here.

The “Education, Health Care, and Middle Class Tax Relief Fund” will get its cash flow from a modest-income tax on the wealthiest 1.2% of Washingtonians. Individuals will still have zilch income tax until they make at least $200,000/year, or $400,000 for couples filing jointly. The income tax will be a marginal tax rate set at 5%, which means only income above and beyond that mark is taxed (so if you make $200,001 in a year, your annual income tax will add up to a whopping one nickel). The marginal rate increases to 9% for incomes above $500,000/year, or $1 million for couples. Predictably, this concept of creating a new tax has sparked quite a bit of debate around the fairness of this measure (someone should hide those barrels of tea at the port). However, the idea that 1098 will hurt entrepreneurship or punish rich people is way-dumbed-down way of looking at it. 1098 is about fixing an unfair tax system, not piling on the taxes. Not to mention Washington State is currently ranked dead last in tax fairness in the whole country. Continue reading ‘Luchador? Robin Hood? Definitely a Hero.’


R-52uesday! Rescuing the Future!


R-52 enjoying a day in nature. Still in pose.


Last time I rapped at ya, I mentioned that Referendum 52 is all different sorts of awesome for our student’s learning environment.  Well, it turns out it is equally awesome for Washington’s natural environment – predominately by reducing energy use. When we pass R-52, hundreds of thousands of Washingtonians will be gainfully employed to retrofit our state’s public schools. This means: new-fangled lighting, appliances, water-fixtures in schools, perpetually requiring less energy than their rusty old predecessors. Energy efficiency also stands to be improved simply from modernizing air circulation and insulation within our schools, 45% of which haven’t been updated since 1969.

Saving energy is a direct benefit to the environment at large because 17% our electricity in Washington is produced by our one remaining coal plant in Centralia. Factoring the potential energy savings from R-52 into the reality of coal production, we will be reducing our State’s CO2 output the equivalent of taking 130,000 cars off the road (meanwhile reducing other nasty byproducts of coal plants as well). The referendum explicitly prioritizes projects with the highest projected energy savings over the following 10 years.

For a more localized picture, we can also look to health benefits within our own urban/suburban environments. For the same reasons we will see students learning easier, retrofitting schools also improves the condition of the school-environment. Studies have repeatedly shown that energy efficient schools reduce the incidence of the flu and asthma attacks. This is a direct environmental benefit for Washington’s young folks and teachers.

One could also judge the benefit of reducing energy-related pollution by the reduction of energy costs to our schools. For some taking this monetary outlook is a necessity. Aberdeen School District’s business manager, Tom Laufmann, admits that counting bills is most important to him:

Philosophically, we should say it’s better for the planet.. But it’s about the money. We’re so short on money anyway, we don’t want to pay any more on utility bills than we have to.

Although we may be passionate about the importance of environmental improvements, Laufmann’s outlook is still effective for saving energy.  It’s always great when economic and environmental benefits go hand in hand.  Every dollar saved on energy via retrofits translates to less energy use and a cleaner environment. Tune in next week to hear stories from the Evergreen state where schools are already saving cash and saving the future at the same time.

See the other posts on R-52: Introduction, Kids Getting Smarter, Saving Scrilla


The end is near… of the voter registration period

time bomb - vote bomb

Holy moly. Today’s the last day to register to vote in this actually sunny (for the moment) state of ours!!  New address? Just turned 18? Been living amongst woodland creatures for your adult life? Register in a few tics right here.

And it is all vote by mail so you there’s no need to bathe before heading to the polls (that’s for you, woods-dwellers).  As a reward for registering, we offer an invite to the best Halloween party on the planet: Trick or Vote.  Also, we offer this video of Donna Summer lamenting the final day of the voter registration period:


Freaky Fashion Friday

Here at the Bus’s fashion department (basically me and Toby of course) we appreciate the finer things in life.

That includes a sweet ride (public transit) and fancy delicatessens (tacos).

Here is the first post of my weekly Halloween costume hootenanny leading up to Trick or Vote. Send in your own awesome costume photos to – the more embarrassing the better!

Enjoy the greasy goodness…

I can't find the salsa


All I need is one vote

Obviously, the Bus is a fan of music. And when we heard that Inglish and D-One – two Seattle emcees and proud Huskies – put a couple of verses over the Kanye/S1 “Power” beat all about registering and voting (!), we knew we had to share. It can be hard to pull off a song about  a serious subject and not sound like you’re preaching, but all things considered, these dudes put it in and end up with a quality song on a quality subject.

And in this media age, what song is complete without a video? Check it here!

And, of course, register to vote online right here, before the deadline on Monday!


Keep Austin Weird

Guess who was in the dirty south this past weekend? Besides the Kernel, me! I was visiting the great country state of Texas. Austin, Texas to be more precise.

I did some tubing down Lake Guadalupe, made some friends with the Alpha Delta Gama Pi and some other fraternities. (a toga party was in store – in my honor I presume).

After my long weekend there, I now understand why the phrase “Keep Austin Weird” is  plastered on tie dyed t-shirts at every souvineir shop and kiosk.

Austin…is….well….different. Come journey with me:

More cowboys after the jump……….. Continue reading ‘Keep Austin Weird’