An informative Spokesman-Review editorial today, citing figures from the state Office of Financial Management, notes that I-1351, the upcoming class-size initiative, would cost $4.7 billion through 2019, plus another $1.9 billion required from local school budgets. I-1351 includes no funding mechanism, so all this money would be taken from existing education programs, at a time when lawmakers are trying to comply with the McCleary decision on funding public education.
The latest in a series of secret summer sessions is scheduled for tomorrow in the Expo Center at the Thurston County Fairgrounds, 3054 Carpenter Road, in Lacey, according to the Washington State Federation of Employees (WFSE).
The clandestine budget meeting begins at 9:00 am Tuesday, and deliberations are to wrap-up by 5:00 pm Wednesday. Members of the public, the media, even state lawmakers, are barred from attending or observing the high-level talks.
When the Seattle City Council joyfully voted to increase the mandatory minimum wage (the city's price control on labor) to $15 an hour, it didn't take long for leaders in other cities to spot an opportunity. Editors at the Tri-City Herald say they have one word for Seattle businesses: “Welcome.” They even provide a confidential phone number. With brazen impertinence, they’re cooing...
Governor Jay Inslee today praised a national ranking by Forbes that shows Washington state is the best state in which to make a living.The ranking lists “no income tax” as one of the primary reasons for Washington’s high standing.
They say governing is about making hard choices, and yesterday a top elected official chose to make life harder for the people of King County. County Executive Dow Constantine on Monday vetoed a practical and responsible plan offered by Councilmember Rod Dembowski that would preserve 95% of current Metro bus service without raising taxes.
The first of a series of secret meetings on the workforce costs that will be included in the next state budget took place Tuesday at the Thurston County Fairgrounds in Lacey. Union negotiators presented state officials with an initial proposal seeking advantages on behalf of some 30,000 employees working at dozens of state agencies.
Governor Inslee’s appointed representatives will meet today in Lacey with executives of the state’s public-sector unions to begin a series of closed-door meetings. The secret sessions will decide how much the public will pay in state employee salary and benefits in the 2015-17 state budget.
The high-level negotiations are expected to last several months. No open meetings are planned, and participants have indicated they will not take comment from the public.
Erica C. Barnett over at Publicola criticizes Washington Policy Center for proposing ways King County leaders can protect Metro bus service from the cuts they plan to impose on local communities. Erica doesn’t like our ideas for saving bus service (and that’s ok), but she doesn’t offer any of her own.
Washington state insurance commissioner Mike Kreidler is testifying before Congress today in praise of the implementation of the Obamacare law in our state.In his comments, however, he is unlikely to provide much detail about the hurtful disruption the law and his tough-minded regulatory actions are causing Washington families.
The national policy announced by President Obama today that is intended to allow people who like their health care coverage to keep it will not be available to Washington state residents. The problem arose when the country learned in recent weeks that the President's oft-repeated pledge that, "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan. Period," is untrue.
Three years ago Washington state's elected officials took the lead in implementing Obamacare, saying that if Washington did not set up a state health care exchange, as required by the 2010 Affordable Care Act the federal government would do it for us. The Exchange will cost the state about $50 million a year to operate.
Under the law the online Exchange was to be up and running today. Instead visitors find it is not working. A notice at the site, WAHealthPlanFinder, tells those seeking health coverage:
News from Madison yesterday delivered another blow to union executives seeking to restrict workers’ rights to freedom of speech and association. Wisconsin courts have again upheld Act 10, the law that made Wisconsin the latest right to work state by bringing equal access to workplace freedom to all employees in the Badger State.