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In Oct. of 2016, while on the campaign trail, Gov. Jay Inslee signed three memoranda of understanding modifying the state's existing collective bargaining agreement with Teamsters 117, which represents certain state employees in Washington. These agreements provided certain Department of Corrections employees five percent raises retroactively, going back as far as July 1, 2015 in some cases.
However, nothing in the state constitution or law gives Washington's governor the authority to simply wave his magic wand and channel taxpayer dollars to one of his most prolific campaign donors.
In a letter to Gov. Inslee dated Dec. 12, 2016, House Minority Leader Dan Kristiansen (R-Snohomish) and Rep. Bruce Chandler (R-Granger) expressed alarm that "the executive branch would enter into agreements that clearly violate the express terms of our state Constitution." Spokane Rep. Timm Ormsby, a Democrat, sent a similar letter.
However deserving Inslee believes the affected employees may be of a pay raise, and however grateful he may be to the union that represents them for underwriting his two successful election campaigns, the state's general fund isn't his personal piggy bank and Washington taxpayers have no obligation to satisfy any quid pro quo he offered his Teamster allies.
That's all for this week—until next week, I'm David Bramblett—stay informed.