Tacoma Urbanist

Mar. 11, 2011 at 12:01am

Washington State Legislature Targeting WSHM for Closure While Doling Out New Tax Breaks Like Candy

Two new articles today concerning the destructive actions that the Washington State Legislature is taking against downtown Tacoma and Tacoma's WSHM.

First: WSHM Still Being Targeted by Legislature For Closure

From the Seattle Times:

TACOMA  The Washington State History Museum was among the first projects that helped spark redevelopment of a downtown Tacoma neighborhood once known for empty warehouses and vacant store fronts. Since the museum opened on Pacific Avenue in 1996, the area has become home to a University of Washington campus, the Tacoma Art Museum and the Museum of Glass.

Next door, a new federal court house has been carved from the old Union Station. Now, the museum is threatened with closure because of the massive state budget shortfall.

Gov. Chris Gregoire has proposed to cut funding for the agency that runs the museum by about half over the next two years, leaving enough to maintain the building and preserve the exhibits, but not enough to keep the doors open to the public.

Second: New Tax Breaks Being Handed Out for Pet Causes:

From the News Tribune:

Lawmakers in the state House have given bipartisan blessing to a few ideas for new tax exemptions this year, despite a budget shortfall that is widely expected to deepen beyond $5 billion next week when a new revenue forecast is revealed.

Another 30 or so proposed tax breaks have yet to move out of the House or Senate, but supporters of several of them say they are still very much in play.


Manager Andy Coles company has been among the few paying the tax, and he told lawmakers its unfair to exempt cities and nonprofits but not him.

Opponents complaints had an effect: Regala is willing to change Senate Bill 5422 to also exempt for-profit leagues. It wouldnt add much to the $2.3 million price tag, she says. The problem is defining whos in and whos out of the definition of league sports.


There is certainly no budget shortfall that would require closing the Washington State History Museum.

If Washington State History Museum is shuttered, it is because legislators prioritized other discretionary pet projects AND are essentially funding NEW TAX BREAKS with the closure of the Tacoma's WSHM.

Action Steps to Save the WSHM:

Contact your Washington State Legislator today before downtown Tacoma is burdened with massive blighted building downtown:

Find your legislator here.

Contact your state legislator TODAY and urge them to keep the Washington State History Museum open:

27th Legislative District:

Senator Debbie Regala
(360) 786-7652

Rep. Laurie Jinkins
(360) 786-7930

Rep. Jeannie Darneille
(360) 786-7974


Senator Mike Carrell
(360) 786-7654

Rep. Troy Kelley
(360) 786-7890

Rep. Tami Green
(360) 786-7958


Senator Steve Conway
(360) 786-7656

Rep. Connie Ladenburg
(360) 786-7906

Rep. Steve Kirby
(360) 786-7996

By Email

Here are their email addresses: Here's the email list of state senators:

Michael.baumgartner@leg.wa.gov; randi.becker@leg.wa.gov; jeff.baxter@leg.wa.gov; don.benton@leg.wa.gov; jean.berkey@leg.wa.gov; lisa.brown@leg.wa.gov; michael.carrell@leg.wa.gov; jerome.delvin@leg.wa.gov; maralyn.chase@leg.wa.gov; steve.conway@leg.wa.gov; tracey.eide@leg.wa.gov; doug.ericksen@leg.wa.gov; joe.fain@leg.wa.gov; karen.fraser@leg.wa.gov; jim.hargrove@leg.wa.gov; nick.harper@leg.wa.gov; brian.hatfield@leg.wa.gov; marymargaret.haugen@leg.wa.gov; mike.hewitt@leg.wa.gov; andy.hill@leg.wa.gov; steve.hobbs@leg.wa.gov; janea.holmquist@leg.wa.gov; jim.honeyford@leg.wa.gov; jim.kastama@leg.wa.gov; karen.keiser@leg.wa.gov; derek.kilmer@leg.wa.gov; curtis.king@leg.wa.gov; adam.kline@leg.wa.gov; jeanne.kohl-welles@leg.wa.gov; steve.litzow@leg.wa.gov; rosemary.mcauliffe@leg.wa.gov; bob.mccaslin@leg.wa.gov; bob.morton@leg.wa.gov; edward.murray@leg.wa.gov; sharon.nelson@leg.wa.gov; linda.parlette@leg.wa.gov; cheryl.pflug@leg.wa.gov; margarita.prentice@leg.wa.gov; craig.pridemore@leg.wa.gov; kevin.ranker@leg.wa.gov; debbie.regala@leg.wa.gov; pam.roach@leg.wa.gov; phil.rockefeller@leg.wa.gov; mark.schoesler@leg.wa.gov; timothy.sheldon@leg.wa.gov; paull.shin@leg.wa.gov; val.stevens@leg.wa.gov; dan.swecker@leg.wa.gov; rodney.tom@leg.wa.gov; scott.white@leg.wa.gov; joseph.zarelli@leg.wa.gov; marty.brown@gov.wa.gov; jim.justin@gov.wa.gov; tim_eyman@comcast.net


Here's the email list of state representatives:

john.ahern@leg.wa.gov; gary.alexander@leg.wa.gov; glenn.anderson@leg.wa.gov; jan.angel@leg.wa.gov; sherry.appleton@leg.wa.gov; mike.armstrong@leg.wa.gov; katrina.asay@leg.wa.gov; barbara.bailey@leg.wa.gov; andy.billig@leg.wa.gov; brian.blake@leg.wa.gov; vincent.buys@leg.wa.gov; reuven.Carlyle@leg.wa.gov; bruce.chandler@leg.wa.gov; frank.chopp@leg.wa.gov; judy.clibborn@leg.wa.gov; eileen.cody@leg.wa.gov; cary.condotta@leg.wa.gov; larry.crouse@leg.wa.gov; cathy.dahlquist@leg.wa.gov; bruce.dammeier@leg.wa.gov; j.darneille@leg.wa.gov; richard.debolt@leg.wa.gov; marylou.dickerson@leg.wa.gov; hans.dunshee@leg.wa.gov; deborah.eddy@leg.wa.gov; susan.fagan@leg.wa.gov; fred.finn@leg.wa.gov; david.frockt@leg.wa.gov; roger.goodman@leg.wa.gov; tami.green@leg.wa.gov; kathy.haigh@leg.wa.gov; larry.haler@leg.wa.gov; mark.hargrove@leg.wa.gov; paul.harris@leg.wa.gov; bob.hasegawa@leg.wa.gov; bill.hinkle@leg.wa.gov; mike.hope@leg.wa.gov; zack.hudgins@leg.wa.gov; sam.hunt@leg.wa.gov; ross.hunter@leg.wa.gov; christopher.hurst@leg.wa.gov; jim.jacks@leg.wa.gov; laurie.jinkins@leg.wa.gov; norm.johnson@leg.wa.gov; ruth.kagi@leg.wa.gov; troy.kelley@leg.wa.gov; phyllis.kenney@leg.wa.gov; steve.kirby@leg.wa.gov; brad.klippert@leg.wa.gov; joel.kretz@leg.wa.gov; dan.kristiansen@leg.wa.gov; connie.ladenburg@leg.wa.gov; marko.liias@leg.wa.gov; kristine.lytton@leg.wa.gov; marcie.maxwell@leg.wa.gov; john.mccoy@leg.wa.gov; jim.mccune@leg.wa.gov; mark.miloscia@leg.wa.gov; jim.moeller@leg.wa.gov; jeff.morris@leg.wa.gov; luis.moscoso@leg.wa.gov; terry.nealey@leg.wa.gov; ed.orcutt@leg.wa.gov; timm.ormsby@leg.wa.gov; tina.orwall@leg.wa.gov; jason.overstreet@leg.wa.gov; kevin.parker@leg.wa.gov; kirk.pearson@leg.wa.gov; jamie.pedersen@leg.wa.gov; eric.pettigrew@leg.wa.gov; tim.probst@leg.wa.gov; chris.reykdal@leg.wa.gov; ann.rivers@leg.wa.gov; maryhelen.roberts@leg.wa.gov; jay.rodne@leg.wa.gov; christine.rolfes@leg.wa.gov; charles.ross@leg.wa.gov; cindy.ryu@leg.wa.gov; sharontomiko.santos@leg.wa.gov; joe.schmick@leg.wa.gov; larry.seaquist@leg.wa.gov; mike.sells@leg.wa.gov; matt.shea@leg.wa.gov; shelly.short@leg.wa.gov; norma.smith@leg.wa.gov; larry.springer@leg.wa.gov; derek.stanford@leg.wa.gov; pat.sullivan@leg.wa.gov; dean.takko@leg.wa.gov; david.taylor@leg.wa.gov; steve.tharinger@leg.wa.gov; dave.upthegrove@leg.wa.gov; kevin.vandewege@leg.wa.gov; maureen.walsh@leg.wa.gov; judy.warnick@leg.wa.gov; hans.zeiger@leg.wa.gov; tim_eyman@comcast.net

comments [26]  |  posted under Tacoma


by Erik on 3/11/2011 @ 12:37am
Congrats to the people and groups working to keep the WSHM open:

A coalition of public and private Tacoma groups loosely called the History Museum Action Team is working to fight the possible closure.

They're organizing supporters and have helped raise money for the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber to hire a lobbyist to make the museum's case in Olympia.


by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 3/11/2011 @ 1:16am
They'll have my support when the fence comes down. That could happen tomorrow if the museum management respected the public.

by fredo on 3/11/2011 @ 5:45am
Enjoy your Democratic Governor, Democratic House and Democratic Senate. If you helped elect these people don't complain.

by NineInchNachos on 3/11/2011 @ 8:04am
step 1 - manufacture a budget crisis by cutting off tax revenue
step 2 - bust unions by doing away with collective bargaining
step 3 - republican slavery utopia

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 3/11/2011 @ 8:08am
Some seriously good ideas, The Jinxmedic. I'm sorry you aren't running for something, I like this kind of thinking.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 3/11/2011 @ 8:10am
Some seriously good ideas, The Jinxmedic. I'm sorry you aren't running for public office, you'd have my vote.

by fredo on 3/11/2011 @ 8:33am
That's how the Democratic Party is destroying our state?

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 3/11/2011 @ 9:33am
You would think fredo would be happy the state will not be wasting money on a fancy history museum that no one goes to anyway.

by fredo on 3/11/2011 @ 9:53am
The museum can stay, but we should focus on having admission fees service the operating expenses. The taxpayers generously built the place, they shouldn 't be on the hook in perpetuity to underwrite all the costs.

How could the museum attract more visitors and therefore generate enough money? That's a second issue. I would put THE JINXMEDIC in charge and give him free reign with which to design an exhibit which would blow people away, and at the same time provide some educational experience. The new Jinx museum would have a grand opening that would be highlighted by a giant bonfire in the middle of Pacific Avenue fueled by the beige people displays.

The fence blocking access to the the Glass museum should be removed. I'm in agreement with Crenshaw, Kev., Julie Anderson, et al.

If people don't like the way the Democratic Party is running the state then next time vote for someone different.

by The Jinxmedic on 3/11/2011 @ 10:19am
I like the way Fredo is going with this....

...If given FREE REIGN of the WSHM, I would rehabilitate (not eliminate), the storyline exhibit (it plays a critical role in the museum's "raison d'etre") with a more extensive use of material culture, I would add a corporately sponsored 19th century WUNDERKAMMER gallery of eclectic wonders, I would more heavily promote the museum as a venue for sponsored events, and I would work to acquire a historic vessel for permanent moorage on the lower Foss waterway (your museum ticket gets you on board) - thus permanently tying the museum to the waterfront by the Bridge of Glass.

(Incidentally, I would actually reutilize the beige people by giving them real clothing to wear. I would also require David Nicandri to grow back his most awesome moustache.)

Oh, yes- and I would take down that blasted fence once and for all.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 3/11/2011 @ 10:37am
How about David Nicardri grow back his moustache and we use him in an exhibit. Take the fence down, use it to build a little jail exhibit and put Nicandri inside of it? It could be outside, between Pacific and the bridge of glass. There could be a vending machine outside the exhibit where people buy peanuts to feed Nicandri.

by fredo on 3/11/2011 @ 10:48am
Yes, crenshaw, and while people are engrossed with the Nicardri exhibit the Tacoma Parking Enforcement people can slap those expensive parking violation tickets on all the cars out front.

by NineInchNachos on 3/11/2011 @ 11:02am
The Tacomic endorses the Fredo/Jinx/Crenshaw WSHM SALVATION plan.

by NineInchNachos on 3/11/2011 @ 11:02am
You guys just came up with H-TEAM part II

by The Jinxmedic on 3/11/2011 @ 11:22am
Uh, oh...

by fredo on 3/11/2011 @ 1:37pm
"There is certainly no budget shortfall that would require closing the Washington State History Museum.

If Washington State History Museum is shuttered, it is because legislators prioritized other discretionary pet projects AND are essentially funding NEW TAX BREAKS with the closure of the Tacoma's WSHM."

You referred to the WSHM as a discretionary pet project, Mr. Urbanist. Is it your opinion that all pet projects be funded, or that only certain pet projects be funded? And what about these new tax breaks? If a tax break would keep an employer from leaving our state we should deny it? If the employer is denied the tax break and leaves the state will this help us fund the WSHM? A lot of unanswered questions.

by The Jinxmedic on 3/11/2011 @ 2:03pm
Easy museum budget fixes:

1) Have a "Preserving History" special license plate program. Special plate fees go go to the state's history museums, AND everyone can see that you supported the museums.

2) Include the museums in the Washington State Parks $5 "voluntary" fee when you renew your vehicle tabs. Heck, put a new $2 "voluntary" fee just for the museums.

3) Explain to Olympia that the WSHM will host a new exhibit, "multi-billion dollar waterfront highway tunnels", and use a measley 1% of Seattle's tunnel money to fund it- and this alone should fund the museum for the next twenty years.

by fredo on 3/11/2011 @ 2:18pm
OK Jinx, at least the two of us want to discuss this.

Lets adopt your special license plate program and also the special vehicle tab program. If even one person buys a license plate or a special tab does that mean the state is required to fund the museum? If the museum ends up being closed do the people get their money back?

This debate is going on right now about the $5 for parks program. The state says its going to close parks even though people have been paying the extra "donation." Is that fair?

by The Jinxmedic on 3/11/2011 @ 2:24pm
The extra $5 is intended ONLY for the program it is designed to assist. If the corresponding agency is afterwards closed by the state, any remaining funds should stay in a dedicated account, awaiting for when they can be of use for the designated purpose. If the funds are removed and used elsewhere, I believe that a case could be made charging the state with fraudulent misappropriation of funds.

by fredo on 3/11/2011 @ 2:35pm
We've already seen that few people will donate money to a Tacoma "attraction."
The Chinese reconciliation park only attracted something like $1M in 15 years. Your idea is good, but making the museum attractive and engaging would probably provide the best return. My 10 year old went to the museum yesterday. She said it was kind of boring except for the mummy. This is the kind of stuff that turns people on. If they want to see beige mannequins they can go out to the mall.

by The Jinxmedic on 3/11/2011 @ 3:06pm
The fee would benefit all state history museums - not just Tacoma's WSHM. Since it would be part of a vehicle registration renewal or special plate issue, it would be paid (or opted out) statewide.

Regarding your ten year old, I thoroughly believe that taking the mummy off display for twenty years was a huge mistake. So was eliminating the natural history collection and firearms collection. These are the kinds of things that people want to see in, and expect from, a history museum.

Refer to my 10:19 comment for making the WSHM more attractive and engaging.

by Mofo from the Hood on 3/11/2011 @ 7:08pm
I would build an indoor swamp surrounded by Douglar Fir and lots of underbrush like huckleberry plants. Then I'd contract with the Disney Studio to make a full size Sasquatch dressed with a torn flannel shirt and jeans kind of like Lon Chaney's style of Wolfman.

The Sasquatch would lurk around the swamp and yell out once every 30 minutes and then maybe every Saturday or Sunday the thing would carry off in one arm a Disney made 7-year old kid flailing and screaming.

by NineInchNachos on 3/11/2011 @ 9:11pm
a Mofo recovery plan for Camp 6 ?

by cisserosmiley on 3/12/2011 @ 1:51am
you know dudes are out of touch when they don't display guns in tacoma???

by jenyum on 3/12/2011 @ 12:28pm
Conservative estimates of the state's potential cut of marijuana sales would pay for the Seattle tunnel project (currently sitting like a lead weight at the top of budget projections) in the first four years following legalization.


by fredo on 3/12/2011 @ 12:59pm
Well the government already sells alcohol, gambling and pornography so they might as well jump into drug dealing with both feet.