Washington Policy Blog

School district administrators in Centralia attempted to smear school principal for reporting Medicaid fraud

July 31, 2014 in Blog

I recently reported the Centralia School District, a district of 3,494 students south of Olympia, paid $372,000 for cheating Medicaid under the Medicaid Administrative Claiming program (MAC), for having “knowingly filed scores of false time study forms to obtain MAC reimbursement payments it was not legally entitled to receive.” The Attorney General also found that when a well-place whistleblower, school principal

A Glimpse of How Climate Orthodoxy Is Undermining Environmental Benefit

July 31, 2014 in Blog

If you want evidence that climate policy puts environmental orthodoxy ahead of environmental benefit, the Governor's preliminary climate proposal provides a clear example.

The 14-page PowerPoint released this week puts strict limits on investments in carbon-reducing projects known as “offsets.” Why? The environmental community appears to feel that forcing lifestyle change is more important than actually helping the environment. The symbolism of sacrifice trumps sound science and policy.

Did Washington Lose 6,500 Jobs Over Right-to-Work?

July 30, 2014 in Blog

News broke last week that Governor Inslee tried to “woo” Tesla Motors to build one of the biggest factories in the world in Washington State.  Unsuccessfully, it turns out.

Bad budget management and poor use of public money cause financial mess at Island Transit

July 30, 2014 in Blog

New information from Island Transit shows a series of poor financial decisions made by local managers are the source of the district’s trouble, not lack of state money. Island Transit provides bus service and vanpools throughout Whidbey and Camano Islands, with routes connecting Skagit and Snohomish Counties. The agency is fully subsidized by taxpayers and doesn’t collect fares from passengers. Earlier this year, Island Transit officials announced plans to cut the Camano Island to Everett bus route, citing a lack of state tax money as the primary reason.

WPC agrees with union speaker; "trust us" shouldn't be standard for negotiations

July 28, 2014 in Blog

Last week the Washington State Labor Council held its 2014 Constitutional Convention meeting. Among the speakers was Gillian Locascio of the Washington Fair Trade Coalition. Although she was speaking about the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, her concerns and criticism of how those negotiations were occurring are 100% aligned with our concerns about public union contract negotiations.

Seattle leaders’ tax-increase plan to save Metro Transit is a solution looking for a problem

July 25, 2014 in Blog

Seattle voters will have their say in November on another tax plan to “save” Metro bus service. Last week, the Seattle City Council voted to send the tax-increase plan to the November ballot with the following text:

The Seattle Transportation Benefit District’s Proposition 1 concerns funding for Metro Transit service.

Centralia School District Defrauds Medicaid

July 25, 2014 in Blog

It was recently reported that the Centralia School District submitted false financial claims to the Medicaid program at least 200 times.[1] What does a school district have to do with Medicaid, a health insurance entitlement for children of poor families?

Obamacare Architect on Record for Agreeing with D.C. Appeals Court Decision

July 25, 2014 in Blog

On July 22nd, the U.S. Appeals Court for the D.C. Circuit ruled in a 2 to 1 decision that the residents of any state that used the federal health insurance exchange could not legally receive taxpayer subsidies to help them purchase health insurance. (Here) The language in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, is very specific.

King County Council reverses position; keeps 96% of Metro bus service on the road

July 24, 2014 in Blog

Earlier this week, the King County Council unanimously passed an ordinance to preserve 96% of Metro bus service by only adopting a 161,000-hour service cut on September 27th. Metro provides about 3.5 million hours of bus service to King County.  King County Councilmember Rod Dembowski said the following about the adopted cuts (emphasis mine):

Job Growth in States That Increased the Minimum Wage Doesn’t Tell the Whole Story

July 24, 2014 in Blog

Advocates of a higher minimum wage have seized onto new data from the Department of Labor showing higher than average job growth in states that increased their minimum wage this year.   According to the DOL data, 12 of the 13 states that increased their minimum wages at the beginning of this year averaged slightly higher job growth (.85%) from January through June than the 37 states whose minimums did not increase (.61%).   Minimum wage supporters say this pro

If Science is Created and Nobody Listens, Does It Make a Difference?

July 23, 2014 in Blog

Few things set off the government waste alarms like state agencies proposing to spend money on "branding."

Attorney General's statement on Centralia School District's Medicaid fraud

July 23, 2014 in Blog

Last Friday my colleague Liv Finne highlighted a disturbing case of the Centralia School District committing Medicaid fraud. Last night I received this statement from the Attorney General's Office concerning the $372,000 settlement agreement with the school district:

Small Business Owners Say Washington’s Business Climate is Getting Worse

July 22, 2014 in Blog

According to small business owners, Washington State’s already difficult business climate is getting worse.

The third annual Thumbtack.com Small Business Friendliness Survey asked more than 12,000 small business owners across the nation to rank state and city friendliness to their business across various categories, such as the cost of hiring a new employee, tax burden, regulations, and licensing requirements. 

Schools must offer school choice and tutoring, say federal officials

July 22, 2014 in Blog

Yesterday, the AP announced that Superintendent Dorn’s latest effort to avoid the consequences of losing Washington’s waiver from the federal education law, No Child Left Behind (NCLB), has failed.

Huge Blow to Obamacare Today

July 22, 2014 in Blog

In a potentially huge blow to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, the U.S. Appeals Court for the D. C. Circuit today ruled in a 2-1 decision that the I.R.S. lacked the authority to allow subsidies to be provided in health insurance exchanges not run by individual states (Halbig vs Burwell). (Here)