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Secret budget meeting to be held at Thurston County Fairgrounds

June 23, 2014 in Blog

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.

Seattle's rising labor cost leads other cities to try to attract Seattle workers and businesses

June 17, 2014 in Blog

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...

“Why not bring your business here?

Gov. Inslee touts ranking showing no income tax is good for Washington

June 11, 2014 in Blog

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.

King County Executive chooses pain over gain - vetoes responsible plan that would save Metro bus services

June 10, 2014 in Blog

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.

Who paid for the Prop. 1 campaign?

June 2, 2014 in Blog

Disclosure filings show major donors would have profited from Prop. 1 spending

Secret state budget meeting held in Lacey

May 22, 2014 in Blog

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.

Secret state budget talks start today - Governor makes early concession on salary costs

May 20, 2014 in Blog

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.

Washington Policy Center calls on King County leaders to protect bus services

May 5, 2014 in Blog

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.

Commissioner Kreidler and the Problems with Obamacare Implementation in Washington State

December 4, 2013 in Blog

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.

Kreidler says Washington residents who like their health plans cannot keep their health plans

November 14, 2013 in Blog

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.

State's Obamacare Exchange is Down

October 1, 2013 in Blog

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:

Court upholds Wisconsin workplace freedom law

September 12, 2013 in Blog

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.

Thousand of travelers stranded because state ferry managers "ran out of workers"

September 10, 2013 in Blog

Blake Island, Washington – Campers and boaters were enjoying the sun Saturday at this popular state park set in the heart of Puget Sound when they noticed something odd.  Across the water to the south ferry traffic between Fauntleroy, Vashon and Southworth, one of the busiest runs in the state system, was at a complete stand-still.  Why ferry service would halt on an active summer weekend was a complete mystery.  Speculation ranged from a snap union strike to simultaneous mechanical break-downs on all the ferries.

"This is nuts." Confusing Obamacare health exchange approval process leads to delays

August 30, 2013 in Blog

"This is nuts." That's how one member of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange Board described the process for approving or rejecting health plans that could be offered to Washingtonians through the Obamacare state exchange.

Earlier, Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler rejected plans offered by five of the nine insurers that had sought to offer customers plans through the regulated state exchange, as he explained in a letter released August 21st.