Jeopardy! clue highlights absurd Washington state policy

October 12, 2015 in Blog

If you're a contestant on Jeopardy!, you must answer in the form of question. But an answer in Double Jeopardy from a program last week just led to more questions.

The answer: "Washington leads all states by getting 76% of its electricity from this renewable method."

The correct question, of course: "What is hydropower?"

Second week of illegal strike closes Pasco schools, harming 17,000 children

September 8, 2015 in Blog

A Franklin County Judge today said he won't issue fines until at least Friday, even though he has issued an injuction against the Pasco Education Association (PEA) for its illegal strike against the Pasco School District. That strike has harmed 17,000 children and families in Pasco.

The PEA has shut down schools in the Pasco School District for more than a week now over demands for a more than 11% pay raise. That hike would be in addition to the 3% hike that was part of the most recent legislative budget.

Spokane union executives plan hurtful strike as 30,000 children head back to school

August 28, 2015 in Blog

Spokane teachers’ union executives today convinced union members to call a strike on September 4th if their demands for higher pay are not met. Their strike action would close school doors during the first week of school, just as 30,200 children are getting settled in the classroom.

The union demands are not yet clear, but they are likely seeking a raise on top of the 3% cost of living pay raise the state legislature has already approved for teachers. That increase was funded in the latest state budget.

Union executives want strike to close Pasco schools, even though teacher compensation is twice average wage of area families

August 18, 2015 in Blog

Pasco union executives say they will call teachers out on strike if their demands for higher pay are not met by August 30th. Their strike action would close classrooms to students across the area, just as families are preparing to send children back to school.

The union wants an 11% pay increase, on top of the 3% pay raise the state legislature already approved for teachers, funded in the latest budget.

Pasco teachers union threatens illegal strike – five things every parent should know

August 7, 2015 in Blog

Just weeks after the legislature approved one of the largest increases in K-12 public education spending in state history, union executives in the Pasco School District are demanding an 11% pay raise or they’ll recommend teachers strike against children and families.

The state of Ben Franklin Transit (BFT): Facts, figures and the 5:00 news live shot

July 31, 2015 in Blog

This week, Washington Policy Center released its latest Key Facts analysis of Ben Franklin Transit (BFT). BFT is the transit agency that serves the Tri-Cities (Richland-Kennewick-Pasco) region.

Our in-depth analysis shows total ridership has dropped 25% over the past five years. And the ridership drop is across all modes.

It took just six hours to draft a mandatory $24 million cost on Spokane business owners and workers?

June 5, 2015 in Blog

They held only three meetings totaling just six hours, but it appears a work group tasked with creating a mandatory paid sick leave policy to impose on employers and workers in Spokane is ready to forward its policy plan to the City Council.

Spokane voters reject trolley plan, but transit options remain

April 30, 2015 in Blog

After months of public debate and extensive research, voters on Tuesday rejected a nearly $300 million plan to preserve and expand public transit in the Spokane area and build an electric trolley system in downtown Spokane. But that does not mean public transit can’t be improved and made more efficient. 

Spokane City Council may mandate paid sick leave on every business

April 23, 2015 in Blog

The Spokane City Council voted this week to establish a “work group” on mandatory paid sick leave. The goal of the group will be to eventually lead the city council toward adopting a mandatory paid sick leave policy for the city.

Shawn Vestal: There he goes again

April 16, 2015 in Blog

Liberal columnist Shawn Vestal of the Spokesman-Review doesn’t like Washington Policy Center providing the public with information about the Spokane trolley proposal, which is being presented to voters as part of Proposition 1 on the April 28th ballot. Spokane Transit Authority (STA) officials call the trolley the “centerpiece” of their plan.

Response to Spokane Transit challenge of WPC research

April 8, 2015 in Blog

The following is a response to a Spokane Transit Authority Memo requesting WPC make "corrections" to a recent study on STA's Electric Trolley proposal. WPC's full, 17-page Policy Brief - an Overview of Spokane's Electric Trolley Proposal - can be found here. All sources in the study are provided in the footnotes. The WPC research staff has reviewed each of the points of dispute and provides this additional detail.

Inlander guest columnist gets it wrong on WPC

April 6, 2015 in Blog

In his column The Ties That Bind, published in The Inlander on April 1st, guest commentator Paul Dillon laments the growing opposition to Spokane Transit Authority’s Proposition 1 by attacking Washington Policy Center.  Mr. Dillon’s statement about Washington Policy Center is wrong in a number of ways.

Transit campaign in Spokane says $300 million tax increase would help... Sound Transit?

April 3, 2015 in Blog

Spokane Transit officials want to increase taxes on Spokane-area families to fund their proposed "Moving Forward" plan, which includes a $72 million electric trolley project. Spokane-area voters will consider the ballot measure on April 28th.

In the effort to convince voters to say "yes," it appears even the "Yes For Buses" transit campaign is confused about what exactly their measure would do.

Why is $72 million electric trolley suddenly missing from transit campaign in Spokane?

March 6, 2015 in Blog

Spokane Transit officials want voters to provide them with $300 million in new revenue via a major sales tax increase in a proposed ballot measure this April. The proposal is part of STA’s “Moving Forward” package. If passed, the sales tax would increase from 8.7% to 9% for most purchases, a rate that approaches the sales tax officials charge in Seattle. 

Should state drivers have to fund Spokane's electric trolley?

February 13, 2015 in Blog

If transit executives and some legislators get their way, Washington drivers could be paying for an electric folly.

Spokane Transit officials want voters in April to approve a major sales tax hike to fund their electric trolley and other service additions. The tax hike would take the sales tax in Spokane Transit’s service areas (most of the populous portions of Spokane County) to 9.0% - one of the highest figures in the state.