LATEST BLOGS

The Insurance Commissioner and insurance companies can't do it. Why can state employee unions and the governor?
By ERIN SHANNON  | 
Mar 23, 2017

A bill sponsored by Senator Rossi and passed by the Senate has come under fire by some newspapers for appearing to target labor unions.

SB 5533 would prohibit political contributions to candidates for governor from labor unions that collectively bargain with the state.

Currently, state employee unions negotiate contracts directly with the governor, instead of going through the normal legislative process.  The contract negotiations, conducted in secret, set the wages, hours, benefits and other conditions of employment for union-represented state workers.  While union executives are negotiating behind closed doors with the governor for the wages and benefits of the state workers they represent, they make contributions to the political campaign of the same governor. 

Read the entire blog
Sound Transit is $225 million over budget on East Link before construction has even begun
By MARIYA FROST  | 
Mar 23, 2017

Sound Transit officials like to claim that their projects are on time and on budget, and unfortunately, this is yet another example of why this claim is often untrue.

Read the entire blog
Senate Republican budget sets a new school funding record and guarantees the same, fair and equal $12,500 for every child, rich or poor
By LIV FINNE  | 
Mar 23, 2017

Tuesday morning Senate Republicans, led by Ways and Means Chair Senator John Braun (R-Centralia), announced their proposed state general fund budget for the 2017-19 biennium. This budget would set a new record for education spending. If this budget is approved, Washington state would create an unwavering and binding guarantee to provide the same fair and equal amount, $12,500, for every child in the state. This is a child-centered budget, and it represents a huge leap forward for Washington state.    

The state supreme court has given the legislature until this session to fully fund the schools in the 2012 McCleary school funding lawsuit. A little context reveals the sheer scale of Senator Braun’s innovative and bold plan to meet the McCleary deadline. This budget would provide $21.9 billion to K-12 schools, an increase of nearly $3.8 billion over the previous budget, the first time since 1993 that over 50% of the budget will be dedicated to K-12 schools.  If this budget is passed by the legislature and voters, it would mean that since 2012 the state will have added $8.4 billion to K-12 schools, expanding education spending by 60 percent, and increasing per-student money by $5,000, to $14,870 per student. Senate Republicans and our state’s balanced tax system have delivered this plan and these resources to the schools, without requiring the imposition of a broad new tax on Washington’s citizens.

By any reasonable measure these funding increases fulfill the McCleary mandate, and will place Washington state among the top states in the nation in school funding.    

Read the entire blog