Washington Policy Blog

Audit requested by WPC on Columbia River Crossing project released by Auditor’s Office

April 18, 2014 in Blog

The State Auditor’s Office released the results from a WPC-requested audit on the Columbia River Crossing project a few days ago.

Economic Outlook for Washington Continues to Slide

April 18, 2014 in Blog

A new report ranking the economic competitiveness in the 50 states shows that while Washington’s economic performance over the past ten years (2002-2012) has been better than most states, the future looks grim.  

Do As We Say, Not as We Do

April 17, 2014 in Blog

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz recently warned an increase in the minimum wage could result in a reduction in the company’s famously generous employee benefits.  Schultz argues minimum wages should take into consideration the “total compensation” an employee receives, which in the case of Starbucks employees includes full health coverage, free food, bus passes, 401K, education assistance, stock rewards, bonuses and more—even for part-time workers.

Seattle Employers Warn $15 Minimum Wage Will Come With a Hefty Price Tag

April 16, 2014 in Blog

A recent survey of employers by the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce reveals what decades of research has already established—increasing the minimum wage comes with a cost.

King County Proposition 1’s regressive tax increases may fund stalled union contract

April 16, 2014 in Blog

King County Metro Transit officials may use new revenue from regressive sales and car taxes enacted under April 22nd’s Proposition 1 to provide money to speed negotiations over a stalled three-year union contract.

King County Metro officials confirm windfall tax revenues; plan to impose 92% of planned service cuts

April 15, 2014 in Blog

King County Metro officials reported on the  $30 million windfall in sales tax revenues they are receiving this year.  Speaking at a committee briefing for members of the King County Council this afternoon, Dwight Dively, Director of the Office of Performance, Strategy, and Budget, called the unexpected new money “...really good news.”  But it may not be good news to Metro riders.

Public safety sales tax increase on ballot in Benton County

April 14, 2014 in Blog

In August voters in Benton County will consider Proposition 14-5 and whether to increase the local sales tax rate by 0.3% raising approximately $9 million per year for public safety spending. The tax increase would sunset on December 31, 2024. The revenue would be split between Benton County and the cities of Kennewick, Richland, West Richland, and Prosser for law enforcement staffing increases and various public safety programs (such as gang prevention and intervention).

Exaggerating the evidence on class size

April 11, 2014 in Blog

On Wednesday, Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn announced support for the teacher union's new class size reduction initiative, I-1351. The union hopes to gather enough signatures to put this initiative before the voters this November. Superintendent Dorn said:

“Reducing class sizes is key to improving student learning, particularly with at-risk students. That, in turn, will improve graduation rates.” 

King County Metro officials reduce some planned bus route cuts but voters won't know which routes are affected unless Prop 1 fails

April 10, 2014 in Blog

Washington Policy Center broke news in mid-March about Metro’s record-breaking revenues and future revenue windfalls. Metro officials soon followed up by releasing their new plans to reduce some of their planned bus cuts, saying that “improved sales tax will allow Metro to reduce the proposed package of cuts. Transit planners are finalizing the revised list of reductions.”

Councilmember makes misleading statement on Metro's tax revenue

April 8, 2014 in Blog

Last week, in urging the public to accept his proposed increases in regressive sales tax and car fees, Councilmember Phillips said:

"The sales revenues that support our transit system are less now than five years ago."

This carefully-worded statement is misleading to the public in two ways. First, Councilmember Phillips qualifies his statement in order to hide Metro's revenue windfalls this year and beyond.

Gov. Inslee vetoes bill limiting airborne drones, restores funding for disaster relief and life sciences research in final bill actions

April 8, 2014 in Blog

Just prior to the April 5th deadline for the governor to act on bills passed by the legislature in 2014, Governor Inslee vetoed HB 2789, which would have placed limits on the use of drones for law enforcement purposes, and HB 1260, which would have cut the number of public works projects subject to prevailing wage regulations in half. 

The Seattle Times urges a No vote on Prop. 1, cites Metro’s failed promises and high costs

April 7, 2014 in Blog

The Seattle Times published an editorial Saturday urging voters in King County to reject Proposition 1, saying the transit agency has not kept past promises and is not “thoroughly confronting its well-documented unsustainably high operating costs.”

Should candidates verify their background for voters?

April 7, 2014 in Blog

Voting for candidates for elected office is an important decision. Unfortunately at times there is little information available about candidates to help us make an informed decision. While county auditors and the Secretary of State produce voter pamphlets with information self-provided by those running for office, is the information actually truthful?

That’s where the new CandidateVerification.org in our state has the potential to bring clarity.  

Publicola Makes the Best Argument Against Minimum Wage Hike

April 4, 2014 in Blog

In a story on Seattle rent prices yesterday, the left-leaning Publicola asserts that the “most interesting” data point from an analysis of Seattle’s rental-market is that, “The law of supply and demand is, it turns out, an actual thing."  It seems the analysis shows that just as this most basic tenet of economics predicts, demand is inextricably linked to supply.  The

Proposition 1 taxes - another city considers diverting money away from roads

April 4, 2014 in Blog

In my recent blog, Proposition 1 taxes – money for roads might not go to roads, I mention the Seattle City Council’s plan to divert Proposition 1 money away from roads into other modes, despite drivers paying the bulk of the taxes. Other cities appear to be following suit.