The Governor announced the rest of his climate strategy today, calling for a $1 billion a year cap-and-trade, a low-carbon fuel standard that would add additional cost to gasoline and subsidies for a wide range of politically favored industries.
The details of the plan are not available, so we will address them as they emerge.
But what struck me most were the many contradictions in the Governor's announcement. Such contradictions are indicators that politics, not sound science and economics, are driving the policy.
Yesterday the Tacoma City Council took the first step toward approving an ordinance that would require all employers to provide paid sick and safety leave to all workers. The mandatory paid leave proposal passed the first hurdle, a “first reading” of the ordinance, with unanimous support from the Council. The proposal will next face a final vote of the Council, likely sometime in January.
The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, provides $2.8 billion for states to develop "innovative" healthcare delivery plans (here). Washington state officials spent most of 2013 designing a very comprehensive plan called the Washington State Health Care Innovation Plan (SHCIP). The work was supported by a $1 million grant from the federal government.
Obamacare remains unpopular with the American public. The Gallup Poll from last month found that only 37 % of Americans approved of Obamacare and a startling 56% disapprove of the law. Many ideas are now circulating for meaningful health care reform.
Today, Governor Inslee announced his new $12 billion transportation spending plan. Under his plan, the state would spend close to $6 billion on the SR-520 Bridge, 507/167 Gateway, the North Spokane freeway and other highway projects. The Governor also wants to spend over $2 billion on subsidized mass transit and multimodal infrastructure.
This two-and-a-half minute report from KOMO News radio gives a good overview of what’s happening at First Place Scholars Charter School in Seattle. It also includes my comments about the advantage charter schools have in turning things around quickly to improve learning from students, improvements that are difficult, or never attempted, at many failing traditional public schools.
A front-page story in The Seattle Times by Leah Todd reports on troubles at First Place Scholars Charter School, the headline saying the school is in “disarray” over recent leadership changes. Yet the details of the story show that Washington’s best-in-the-nation charter school law is working as intended.
It's not often you see Democrats and Republicans in Congress agree on much let alone reforms to the way the federal budget and policy are adopted. This is what makes the bipartisan introduction of the Evidence-Based Policymaking Commission Act by U.S. Sen. Patty Murray of Washington (D) and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin (R) so exciting. Sen.
Tiffany Turner, President of the Board at the left-leaning Washington State Budget and Policy Center announced today the departure of their long-serving and founding director, Remy Trupin. He will stay on during a transition period as the organization brings in new leadership.
We at Washington Policy Center always enjoy debating the issues and crunching the numbers, although from a different perspective, with our friends on the progressive side, all in the search for good policy ideas that serve the people of our state.
In October, I wrote about King County officials’ proposal to dramatically increase the Right of Way (ROW) use fee they charged to wireless phone providers. In their proposed 2015-16 county budget, some County officials wanted to increase the fee from the current $2,000 to $5,000 to a staggering $10,000, with a 4% automatic increase every year. The fee is ultimately paid by cell phone customers in the form of higher service prices.
As lawmakers prepare for the upcoming legislative session in Olympia, there is a lot of debate about where our state ranks in education spending. As an analyst, I know this all depends on what metric a lawmaker uses, and the metric chosen often depends on whether the lawmaker wants to increase taxes. A poor ranking makes it appear that more spending and a heavier tax burden are urgently needed.