Jmercier

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.

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:

WFSE says state compensation contract offer is "totally unacceptable"

July 17, 2014 in Blog

Define a "totally unacceptable" compensation contract offer: Is it no raise? A 2% raise? A 6% raise? A 10% raise? Due to the fact the negotiations currently under way between the Governor's office and state employee unions are secret and prohibit public access we have no idea what the union deems to be "totally unacceptable" and neither do union members for that matter.

Resources for Benton County Proposition 14-5: Public Safety Sales Tax Increase

July 16, 2014 in Blog

Ballots are starting to arrive in Benton County for the August 5 primary. One measure voters will be considering is Proposition 14-5, a proposal to increase the local sales tax rate by 0.3 percent and collect approximately $9 million per year for increased public safety spending.

Here are the Key Findings of our study reviewing Proposition 14-5:

State and local pension payments could increase by $1.2 billion for 2015-17

July 15, 2014 in Blog

Members of the state Select Committee on Pension Policy met today to approve one of three options concerning assumptions for government pensions in Washington.

State asks if Court will fine taxpayers for McCleary response

July 14, 2014 in Blog

Circle your calendars for September 3. That is the date we'll start to get a feel for if the state is on a crash course for a full-fledged constitutional crisis or if the respective branches of government will respect the separations of power. The first attempt to back off the current dangerous path was filed last Friday when the state submitted its brief arguing against several proposals to hold the state in contempt concerning its response to the McCleary school funding lawsuit.

Does separation of powers still matter?

July 2, 2014 in Blog

As we kick off our 4th of July festivities it's a good time to reflect on the founding of our country. What better way to do that than to dust off the farewell speech of the first U.S. President George Washington.

U.S. Supreme Court ruling against forced unionization of home care workers may strike down Washington state law

June 30, 2014 in Blog

Although the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) did not rule in its Harris v. Quinn case today, as some had expected, on whether government workers must join a union, the decision does call into question the forced unionization of some Washington residents.

OFM to agencies: Take 2015-17 budget requests off auto-pilot

June 26, 2014 in Blog

For many Washingtonians, summer is the time to wind down and enjoy much needed R&R. Not so for budget writers at state agencies and the Office of Financial Management (OFM). This is the time of year that the framework for the Governor's 2015-17 budget proposal is put into place. To facilitate these efforts OFM sent agencies budget instructions which lay out several directives that agencies are to follow when submitting their budget requests.

63% of voters want local supermajority for taxes protections

June 18, 2014 in Blog

Based on the results of a May 2014 statewide poll, Washingtonians' support for taxpayer protections has not waned since they approved I-1185 in 2012. You may recall that approval of I-1185 was the fifth time that voters had adopted a supermajority vote for tax increases requirement. It passed statewide with a 64 percent “yes” vote and with majority approval in 44 of the state’s 49 legislative districts and in every county of the state. This policy received more votes statewide than either President Obama or Governor Inslee.

Do you know how the current state contract negotiations are going?

June 9, 2014 in Blog

No? Neither do we. Realizing that potentially hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake, we believe that like other budget related decisions, these meetings should be open to the public. This is exactly what already occurs in several states.

According to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, here is how several states treat collective bargaining sessions under their open public meeting laws: 

Will the Washingtons keep access to the internet tax free?

May 16, 2014 in Blog

Only in Washington D.C. can near unanimous agreement on a policy mean there is danger it may not occur. Consider the pending expiration of the ban on internet access taxes and whether or not Congress will act in time. As reported by The Wall Street Journal:

Remote testimony approved in Colorado

May 15, 2014 in Blog

If the Seattle Seahawks' Super Bowl demolition of the Denver Broncos taught us anything, it's that anything Colorado can do Washington can do better. With that in mind, it is worth noting that Colorado lawmakers have sent to their Governor a bill to allow remote testimony. As reported by Colorado's KREX news:

Legislative survey says: Remote testimony is a winner

May 7, 2014 in Blog

Washington State University has released the results of the "2013 Washington State Legislative Service Survey and the Washington State Governance Series." Based on the answers of lawmakers, legislative staff and lobbyists, WPC's recommendation for remote testimony options for citizens is a clear winner.

Marijuana, Lean management and public records best practices

May 7, 2014 in Blog

No, that's not the opening line of a joke but instead an example of how the (now misnamed) Washington State Liquor Control Board (LCB) is improving access to public records. According to Governor Inslee's Results Washington process, the Liquor Control Board has made progress using Lean management to improve its response time to growing public records requests as a result of the state's legalization of marijuana.