Rep. Larry Haler (R-Richland) made the right call in putting aside for now – by pulling it from consideration – a bill to repeal the 1% limit on regular property tax collections. He says more information is needed about how the long-established limit effects the annual rise in local government revenue.
At Crosscut.com, reporter David Kroman provides the latest on an idea that was voted down in Seattle in 2013 and has been revised for 2015 – public funding for political campaigns.
Initiative 122 would lower campaign spending limits, reduce the maximum individual contribution allowed, and raise the city property tax to provide public funds to candidates in Seattle elections. Backers are confident they have enough signatures to place it on the ballot this year.
San Francisco’s harsh $15 minimum wage law is hurting a well-know comic book store in the city. The owner of Comix Experience, Brian Hibbs, says he supports a living wage in concept, but the tough new law will require $80,000 in extra revenue each year. “My jaw dropped. Eighty-thousand a year! I didn’t know that. I thought we were talking a small amount of money, something I could absorb,” he says.
When it comes to popular branding of our two major political parties, one message has been consistent for years: Republicans generally oppose tax increases.
Voters concerned about the rising financial burden that elected officials place on families in our state would usually look to Republicans for tax relief. Now Tim Eyman is chiding Republican lawmakers for risking loss of their no-more-taxes reputation, fearing they are being set up for a “tax trap” in the current special session. In his latest mass e-mail Eyman argues:
The Seattle Times got it wrong this week in an appearance of that self-appointed arbiter of veritas, “Truth Needle,” by food writer Bethany Jean Clement, about our blog on the $15 minimum wage law and restaurant closings in Seattle. Here’s why.
As the implementation date for Seattle’s strict $15 per hour minimum wage law approaches, the city is experiencing a rising trend in restaurant closures. The tough new law goes into effect April 1st.
The closings have occurred across the city, from Grub in the upscale Queen Anne Hill neighborhood, to Little Uncle in gritty Pioneer Square, to the Boat Street Cafe on Western Avenue near the waterfront.
Top executives at the WSFE/AFSCME Council 28 union launched a major lobbying campaign today to urge lawmakers to vote an additional $440 million for public employee salaries. The across-the-board boost would be in addition to promotions and automatic step increases state employees already receive.
As most people know, Governor Inslee has broken his promise that, if elected, he would not raise taxes. His latest budget proposal includes a number of tax increases, and would permanently add new ways to tax people under state law. The new revenue would be in addition to the extra $3 billion the state is collecting under current tax rates.
Finding: Washington state’s inflation-adjusted minimum wage is 125% higher today than when it started
One of the most common claims made for increasing the Washington state minimum wage is that its purchasing power has not kept up with inflation. Proponents say that if the national minimum wage had kept up with inflation it would be $10.88 an hour, not $7.25, as it is today. (Washington state’s minimum wage is $9.47, 30% higher than the federal minimum).
Max Nelson over at the Freedom Foundation has a good post today that pulls back the curtain on some of the insider tactics used by public sector unions to advance their political interests. Max got hold of the "Messaging Tips" sheet union executives give to their members when state workers lobby Olympia lawmakers for pay raises and increases in health care and pension benefits.
Governor Jay Inslee says state workers have not had a pay raise in six years. He is referring, however, to only one kind of pay raise, a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). Actually, nearly all state employees have received pay raises over the years, as automatic step increases and normal promotions, though not a formal COLA. By narrowly parsing his words, Governor Inslee is giving the public the impression that state workers have had no pay raise at all for six years.
Tiffany Turner, President of the Board at the left-leaning Washington State Budget and Policy Center announced today the departure of their long-serving and founding director, Remy Trupin. He will stay on during a transition period as the organization brings in new leadership.
We at Washington Policy Center always enjoy debating the issues and crunching the numbers, although from a different perspective, with our friends on the progressive side, all in the search for good policy ideas that serve the people of our state.
Saying that lack of transparency gave them "a huge political advantage," MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, who helped write the Affordable Care Act, told the audience (see below) at an October 17th, 2013 forum that hiding key purposes of the bill "was really, really critical to getting anything to pass." Gruber said he wished "we could make it all transparent...but I'd rather have this law than not."