Deb Wallace: Not Ready For Prime Time

Washington State Representative Deb Wallace (D-Vancouver) is running for US Congress in the 3rd Congressional District. This is the seat that was thrown up for grabs when Brian Baird announced his retirement. Today Wallace withdrew a bill she’s been pimping since the 2009 Legislative session that would have ended sales tax exemptions for out of state residents.

Wallace, a Vancouver Democrat and four-term state legislator who is running for Congress, said Monday she did not realize the full impact her sales tax bill would have until she talked with owners of several businesses that depend on Oregon customers.

Her bill drew mixed reactions and stalled in the House Finance Committee. But she announced in December that she would reintroduce it this year, arguing that as a sales-tax-dependent state facing a gaping budget deficit, Washington no longer could afford to provide out-of-state shoppers the luxury of a sales tax discount.

Wallace said:

“The impact is much more broad than I had expected,” Wallace said. “It’s really important to do my homework. I called the speaker of the House and told him I need to kill the bill. The impact is just too great for Southwest Washington.”

Wallace’s bio on her official Washington State website says she’s lived in Vancouver* for 21 years and represented the 17th Legislative District for eight years. Really? And she needed to “do her homework” to know that businesses in southwest Washington compete for customers with Oregon businesses?

I’ve never lived in Vancouver and that’s rather obvious to me so it seems legitimate to ask if she has the requisite mental acuity to be a legislator.

Another question: If she failed to “do her homework,” does that mean she takes a generally lackadaisical view of her responsibilities and proposes legislation willy-nilly, without proper research?

There’s a third possibility, although it’s no more flattering than the first two…Wallace is a political opportunist who doesn’t understand or care about the concerns facing businesses in her district, but does recognize a bill that could become a political liability in upcoming campaign.

I like Jaime Herrera.

*For those of you who may not be familiar with Washington, Vancouver is directly across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon. Oregon has no sales tax.

Update 1: Deb Wallace as Emily Litella, “Never Mind.”

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Filed under 2010 House Races, Washington

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