As part of our endorsement process at The Urbanist, we ask candidates to complete a standard questionnaire to better understand and evaluate their positions on housing, land use, transportation, and other important issues. We then share this information with our readers to help inform their own voting decisions.
This year we are considering selected candidates running for US Congress, Washington State Legislature, and King County Prosecuting Attorney. We are publishing the questionnaires in full, concluding with our official general election endorsements in mid-October.
The following questionnaire was submitted by Dan Harder (R) running for State Senate in Legislative District 43. Harder’s opponent, incumbent Jamie Pedersen (D), did not submit a questionnaire .
Do you consider yourself an urbanist?
Do you support an income tax?
How do we keep Sound Transit 3 (ST3) timelines on track given that the Trump administration is slow-walking or eliminating grants for transit projects and construction costs are skyrocketing?
Cancel ST3 projects that are less than 50% complete as of today, and allow private financing of the remaining projects, require rapid completion of projects.
What is your position on the Sound Transit car-tab tax? Would you support a plan that cuts Sound Transit’s budget?
Absolutely. Sound Transit is out of control and unresponsive to taxpayers.
How will you leverage state resources to increase affordable housing?
By requiring immediate and cost effective congestion relief to be the primary focus of WSDOT and RTA improvement projects, requiring short horizons for project completions and reducing excessive design requirements and requirements for absurd studies that artificially increase costs and funnel money to anti-commuter special interests. Reducing congestion will reduce the demand for housing in the city and make housing more affordable.
Washington is ranked as having the most regressive tax code in the nation. Rich households pay a much lower effective tax rate than poor households. What, if anything, do you propose to do about that?
Much of that is due to disparities in property taxes to fund education, as well as the inherent issue with using sales tax as a primary source of revenue, and recently imposed sales taxes on alcohol and sugary drinks. The recent McCleary fix will help resolve the regressive nature of property taxes that result in low rates for wealthy areas. I would consider means-tested exemptions to sales tax to help poor families. I would revoke the recent tax on sugary drinks and ban other such sin taxes on food. I support I-1634.
How should our state address climate change and would you back a carbon tax bill similar to what Governor Inslee has proposed?
I will not support any carbon tax, income tax or other new source of tax revenue for the state. The carbon tax will do nothing to prevent climate change, it is simply a virtue signal and grab for revenue and power. I support strong enforcement of pollution laws and better management of forests to reduce wildfires.
Would you vote to permit local transit agencies and police departments to implement camera enforcement of transit lanes in order to keep buses moving through traffic bottlenecks? Why or why not?
No. I support eliminating bottlenecks for all vehicles, not just transit. Working parents should not be made to suffer in favor of the rich who work in the city and can afford housing near local transit hubs.
How can we protect and preserve the open spaces in Washington State?
I support better management of state forests, and full funding of state parks and recreation areas. I support enforcing vagrancy laws and making parks and open spaces safe for families.
What is your favorite mode of transportation and why?
My V-8 Jeep.
The next time the state legislature crafts a major transportation funding package, what do you want to see in it?
As said above, prioritization of vehicle congestion reduction, on a per-dollar basis. Elimination of wasteful ST3 projects that do nothing to reduce congestion. Reduction of regulations that make projects more expensive. Allow private financing to reduce costs, and require speedy completion to reduce costs and quickly achieve intended results.