Washington Policy Blog

Updated legislative tax survey results

October 23, 2014 in Blog

Earlier this month we published the results of our legislative tax survey that asked legislators and candidates the following question:

Survey question to lawmakers and candidates: Would you vote to allow the people of Washington to have the opportunity to vote on a state constitution amendment to require a supermajority vote in the Legislature to raise taxes?

A Work Force of Robots: Part 2

October 23, 2014 in Blog

Yesterday The Wall Street Journal published an outstanding editorial pointing out the predictable response of businesses to a higher minimum wage—automation.

After posting a grim quarterly earnings report of a 30% decline in profits on a 5% decrease in sales, McDonald’s plans to begin replacing workers with machines. 

Will Boeing Become a Workforce of Robots?

October 22, 2014 in Blog

After years of strife with the Machinists union, Boeing is embracing a new approach to building the future 777X.   The new approach?  Robots.

The surprising and growing opposition to Initiative 1351

October 22, 2014 in Blog

It’s widely assumed that Initiative 1351, the ballot measure that purports to reduce class sizes, will pass by a wide margin.  The initiative title has bumper-sticker attractiveness, it faces no organized opposition, and executives at the powerful WEA and other unions are putting $3.5 million of their members’ dues money behind it. (In Washington, teachers must pay the union as a condition of employment.) 

Initiative 1351 is like voting for puppies and apple pie

October 21, 2014 in Blog

Backers of Initiative 1351 are asking voters to support reduced class sizes without providing a way to pay for it.  Smaller class sizes without higher taxes – who wouldn’t be for that?  As one skeptic quipped, it’s like asking people to vote for puppies and apple pie. 

WPC debates Initiative 1351 on TVW's Inside Olympia

October 20, 2014 in Blog

Watch below as WPC's Education Director, Liv Finne, debates Initiative 1351 on TVW's Inside Olympia.

Washington state’s highway performance ranks 42nd best in United States

October 17, 2014 in Blog

A report released last month by the Reason Foundation ranks Washington as the state with the 42nd best highway performance out of the 50 U.S. states. Just three years ago, the state ranked 24th among other states. Washington received poor marks because “mileage in poor condition (on urban and rural Interstates and rural arterials) increased considerably, despite increased spending (relative to the U.S. average).”

Some findings from the study:

WPC debates Initiative 1351 in Spokane

October 16, 2014 in Blog

WPC Eastern Washington director Chris Cargill debates Mary Howes of Class Size Counts - backers of Initiative 1351 - at a League of Women Voters forum in Spokane, on October 7th.


King County Municipal League says vote “No” on Seattle Proposition 1 regressive tax increases

October 15, 2014 in Blog

Yesterday, the Municipal League of King County announced it is recommending a “No” vote on Seattle’s Proposition 1 ballot measure to increase car tab fees and sales taxes to send more money to King County Metro Transit.  In the announcement the Municipal League said, “voters do not have a clear understanding of what they are voting to approve,” and that passing Proposition 1 would be giving a “blank check” to transit agency managers. 

Why Initiative 1351 will not improve learning for school children

October 15, 2014 in Blog

Initiative 1351, the ballot measure on class sizes, will bring new profits to the powerful WEA union because all new teachers will be forced to pay about $1,000 a year in dues as a condition of employment.  Overall the measure represents a $7.4 million windfall for the union, every year.

At the same time, I-1351 would do little to improve learning for Washington’s school children. 

Here’s why:

Medicaid Can Not Survive as an Open-ended Entitlement

October 15, 2014 in Blog

No surprise, as the economy improves states are expanding their Medicaid programs.

Democratic party statement wrong about Initiative 1351 endorsements

October 15, 2014 in Blog

A statement released Saturday by the Washington state Democratic Party falsely describes the political support behind Initiative 1351, the unfunded ballot measure intended to reduce class sizes.

The statement says “As Democrats, we are united” in supporting strong schools and educational opportunities then adds in bold lettering,  “That’s why Democrats support Initiative 1351 to reduce class size for every child, in every grade.”

100 lawmakers and candidates respond to tax survey

October 14, 2014 in Blog

Curious to know if those that hope to represent you in the Legislature next year believe you have the right to settle the twenty year debate about whether tax increases should receive a supermajority vote or voter approval?

Charter School Commission rejects three of four applications – rejections fall hardest on Hispanic families

October 13, 2014 in Blog

Last week in Yakima, in the second round of charter school applications, the Washington State Charter School Commission approved only one new school and rejected three others. Here are the actions Commissioners took: