In a strange, erratic decision, Washington State Governor Inslee vetoed part of a school siting bill this week.  Bill supporters were surprised, but very few accused Governor Inslee of being a logical or reasonable guy.  Bill number ESHB 1017 was considered a bipartisan compromise which passed 81-15 in the house and 37-11 in the Senate.  Many years in the making and originally driven by the problems discovered by the Bethel School District when lawsuits were filed against them by Futurewise-friendly “environmental” groups.  After five years of attempting to reform the law, a bipartisan “fix” bill was passed.

The cult of the Growth Management Act

The Growth Management Act(GMA) was adopted by the legislature in 1990, and it was largely modeled on the “Smart Growth” Central Planning Scheme from Florida.  Florida repealed their statewide “Smart Growth” Law in 2011, and got out of the Central Planning business.  However, Washington’s GMA scheme continues  to stumble backwards.  Most legislators who approved the Growth Management Act in 1990, never envisioned this central planning scheme would cause such harm to the state, but like most central planning efforts, the unintended consequences eventually become consequential.  Washington State’s school districts were discovering the pain of GMA the hard way when the combination of growing student population and smaller class size requirements started to accelerate the need for more schools.

The Priests of the GMA Cult – Futurewise, as always, testifies for in favor of inflicting maximum harm on local communities

 The Bethel School District was involved in a particularly egregious case where the school, in coordination with Pierce County and all county planning agencies, located and purchased property to build a new high school – right across the street from a fire station, next to existing bus routes, and with easy access to the necessary utilities.  Promptly, several extremist environmentalists (using the Futurewise model – a professional litigation operation which mostly files lawsuits against local governments to push their extreme agenda).  The school district paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend itself before the Growth Management Hearings Board (GMHB) and lost (case linked here).  This also led to another costly lawsuit by five local Pierce County School Districts against the county (lawsuit linked here).  The GMHB suggested the school use eminent domain in a local city and destroy people’s homes to build the school instead of using the vacant land the taxpayers had already purchased.  The Bethel School District decided to try to change the irrational law instead.  This author produced a short video in 2013 about this case a few years ago (linked here).


Soon, other school districts like Issaquah and Richland  were running into similar situations.  Eventually this led to the Washington State School Directors’ Association (WSSDA) prioritizing their lobbying efforts to focus on changing the GMA to allow for more flexible and less costly school siting options.  This author testified as an elected school director for the Rochester School District for many years in favor of this common sense and rational change.  Every time, organizations like Sierra Club and Futurewise demanded the cult of GMA rule supreme over all, and they refused to even consider flexibility for schools

Governor Inslee struggles to explain just how big the tax hike will be for average citizens of Washington

Taxpayers always lose with Inslee

The problem with all of these disputes is that taxpayers lose at every turn.  The school districts are funded with taxpayer dollars and much of it is wasted on lawsuits, extensive litigation, negotiations, and lobbying.  Meanwhile, the cost of building the schools are artificially inflated beyond their true cost, which further squeezes the tax base for no benefit to the community, the schools, and certainly not the children.  Clearly, the environmental organizations enjoy and profit from the harm they inflict on these communities.  However, we expect saner and more mature politicians to look for solutions.  Despite years of failure in the legislature, a few weeks ago a bipartisan bill was passed in both chambers.  Inslee chose to veto this bipartisan solution.

All this to justify an outdated, inflexible, Cold-War era central planning scheme which creates ample employment opportunities for lawyers and bureaucrats, but exists primarily to perpetuate itself.  Supporting the GMA at all costs has become the modern religion of the environmental Left.  The Cult of GMA is strong and Governor Inslee wants to be the high priest.  If schools, children, taxpayers, and common sense suffer – those are just “distractions” for him and the special interests who fund his political aspirations.

Inslee tries to explain the job of the Governor – apparently using bear analogies

Nobody has ever accused Inslee of being a genius.  Bumbling through the day, coloring with crayons, and botching policy has been common.  While it is easy to laugh at his fumbling ways, real people are harmed by his calloused incompetence, and the fact he just doesn’t care about the harm he inflicts.  The people of Washington State have suffered enough at the fumbling, careless hands of this guy.  It would be easier to laugh at this goof if we didn’t live here.  Inslee is damaging far more than just our schools.

Taxpayers of Washington can take great comfort knowing that Governor Inslee puts far more time into his artistic endeavors with crayons than in trying to help fix the abuses his agencies inflict on them.



Background Articles and Source Documents:

Stifling Human Ingenuity

House Republicans Press Release:  McCauslin school siting bill headed to Governors Desk 

The Lens – Lawmakers lift restrictions on school siting

The Lens – Governor’s Veto Creates Challenges in School Siting Decisions

Washington State Wire -Representative McCaslin and Taylor release statement following governor’s partial veto of school siting bill

New Geography – Florida Repeals “Smart Growth” Law

Video:  Tales of Tyranny – Bethel School District Story

House Bill 1017 – School Siting Bill – As passed the legislature

Growth Management Hearings Board CASE NO. 12-3-0002c – ruling against Bethel School District

5 Pierce County School Districts sue Pierce County after GMHB case Case #16-2-09641-2


  1. MANY Washingtonian adults are so incredibly ignorant when it comes to electing people to manage the state, cities and our resources.

    There hasn’t been a single ‘project’ I’ve seen over the last 11 years that has been ‘successful’, not roads, not bridges, not health care, not policing, not in ANY administration of ANY agency, entity or endeavor.

    When will WA State residents comprehend that they must take a stand against those who stop progress and state to us year after year ‘it’s always been this way and you can’t change it’.

    Our leaders aren’t listening.

    Worse, they are legislating from the bench and against even votes of the people.

    Washington State Congress and the Governor have ALREADY written laws AGAINST our State and Federal Constitutions and not one of you has bothered to write a thing about the abuses within our leadership and processes.

  2. One other item that could help school districts: Get school projects exempted from Prevailing Wage requirements. You could build schools for 1/2 as much or build 2x more schools for the same money.

    • There is one thing of which you can be sure. Inslee will oppose any policy that helps schools reduce costs. His objective is to burden them down with the highest cost possible so that he can push his dream of an income tax. All damage done to others along the way is just not a concern to him…

  3. I do not think old Jay would agree with the line that “very few accused Governor Inslee of being logical or reasonable guy”, the leftist sure think highly of him. But most every thinking person as opposed to those that only “feel” things, would agree, the left is not logical nor reasonable. (just look at the fascist group “antifa”, they use fascist tactics to protest fascism???)

    • You are probably right, although I have been impressed at how little respect he garners among his supporters or state workers. They consider themselves on his “team” but they certainly don’t ever use words like “smart,” “competent,” or anything like that. This is a real contrast with Governor Gregoire who was far more respected for her skills if not her positions.

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