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Here’s what Jay Inslee has to say over beers | Capitol Happy Hour

Washington’s governor describes himself as a big movie fan.

So it was no trouble for Jay Inslee to name a movie that he thinks describes the record-setting 193 days the Legislature just spent in session.

Yes, it’s a Keanu Reeves movie. But it sure wasn’t “Speed,” Inslee joked.

Coming off the longest legislative session in state history, the Democratic governor sat down for an informal chat over beers (and tater tots) to talk about what he views as the year’s biggest successes and disappointments.

He sat through my questions about his reputation for coming up with oddball phrases. (You know, like when he told a room full of reporters a few years ago that beer is the “beautiful amber nectar of the gods.” Or, more recently, that he was trying “everything ... short of waterboarding” to get lawmakers to reach an agreement. And let’s not forget when he referred to innovation as Washington’s “secret sauce.”)

His duties as governor have sadly kept him from keeping up with HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” he says. But they didn’t keep him from going to see “Dunkirk” in the theater a few days ago, or from watching plenty of episodes of “Call the Midwife” and “House of Cards.”

He’s still frustrated that the Legislature didn’t pass a capital budget to pay for about $4 billion in building projects, and blames that stalemate on Republicans in the Senate.

But did Inslee also play a role in the meltdown by vetoing something Republicans wanted — a tax break for manufacturers that lawmakers had agreed to include in the this year’s $43.7 billion operating budget?

And what about the tax measures Inslee and other Democrats have repeatedly proposed, but have been unable to get through the Legislature? Is there a future in Washington state for a tax on carbon emissions or capital gains, such as the sales of stocks and bonds?

Inslee says yes. In fact, he says if Democrats win control of the state Senate in the fall, he’ll look to undo part of the property tax shift the Legislature approved this year, which put about $7.3 billion into public schools, and replace some of that revenue with a tax on carbon or capital gains. (You can read more about that here.)

When I press him on why he didn’t talk more about his beloved carbon tax when he was running for re-election last year — he didn’t proclaim support for it during three televised debates — he says anyone who didn’t know he wanted to tax pollution “would have to be in a deep cave.”

After all, he wrote a book about it, he says.

Embarrassingly, neither the governor or I can seem to pronounce acai, the kind of berry he says he eats by the handful when it is covered in chocolate. (Apparently, it is a-sah-EE, per Google. Neither of us quite get there in this video).

The former high school quarterback and basketball player also shares one of his less athletic hobbies: Doodling.

Melissa Santos: 360-357-0209, @melissasantos1

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