Jmercier

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?

Harris v. Quinn lives in Washington

October 7, 2014 in Blog

It took a few months but we now know the U.S. Supreme Court's June 30 ruling in Harris v. Quinn will be implemented in Washington State. According to the tentative 2015-17 contract agreement between the state and SEIU 775 (Article 4):

State Supreme Court gives green light to retroactive tax increases

October 2, 2014 in Blog

It looks like the State Supreme Court is giving the Legislature a new tool to address its McCleary contempt order: retroactive tax increases. A unanimous Court ruling today said it was not unconstitutional when the Legislature approved a retroactive change to the state's death tax in 2013.

Will the state Supreme Court Jump the Shark?

September 11, 2014 in Blog

Responding to today's unanimous contempt order against the Legislature by the State Supreme Court Governor Inslee said: "This unprecedented action by the Supreme Court is a critical moment in our history."

Everything about this statement is true. Not only is the Court's contempt order against a co-equal branch of government unprecedented but what may come next could lead to a doomsday scenario against voters.

Governor Inslee opposed to new taxes on internet access

August 21, 2014 in Blog

What seemed almost impossible a few months ago is becoming more probable with each passing day; taxes being charged for internet access. The return of taxes on internet access may occur due to the failure of Congress to either extend temporarily or permanently the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA). The current ban on internet access taxes expires on November 1.

Does Harris v. Quinn apply to individual providers in Washington?

August 20, 2014 in Blog

That was the question I was hoping to answer today but after reviewing the state's August 20th response to the Centeno v. Dept. of Social & Health Services lawsuit in federal court the elusive answer will have to wait.

While requesting that case "be dismissed with prejudice" one section of the state's brief today said:

State dodges new pension bullet

August 14, 2014 in Blog

A unanimous Supreme Court today gave budget writers much needed good news when Justices rejected two union initiated pension lawsuits that could have added an additional $1.3 billion in new costs for the 2015-17 budget (state and local).

Writing perhaps the sweetest words lawmakers have heard recently from the Court, Justices said:

Attorney General declines Senator’s request for Harris v. Quinn impact opinion

August 13, 2014 in Blog

Last week I highlighted a letter from Sen. Braun to the Attorney General requesting an informal opinion in response to the June 30 U.S. Supreme Court ruling Harris v. Quinn, which called into question the forced unionization of some Washington residents. The Senator asked these three questions:

Senator requests opinion from Attorney General on Harris v. Quinn impact in Washington

August 7, 2014 in Blog

On June 30, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in Harris v. Quinn calling into question the forced unionization of some Washington residents.

Next steps for Benton County public safety sales tax

August 6, 2014 in Blog

The third time was the charm for the Benton County public safety sales tax increase. After voters rejected a 0.2% increase in 2007 and 2008 they are giving approval to Proposition 14-5 (0.3% increase). Now that the voters have given their trust to elected officials it is time for these leaders to come through on their promise to enact performance audits to ensure the new resources are efficiently and effectively spent to deliver on the important public safety goals.

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.