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.

Labor angry about Governor Walker visit to Seattle: "We don't want him here"

August 26, 2013 in Blog

Union executive Dianne Gross of the MLK County Labor Council and the Washington State Labor Council expressed angry opposition to the upcoming visit to Seattle of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.  The comments were made in a live interview August 17th with KIRO radio's Jason Rantz.

Survey: 92% of federal workers and retirees reject Obamacare

August 13, 2013 in Blog

The widely-read federal employee news site reports that in a reader survey 92% of the 2,500 respondents rejected getting their health coverage through Obamacare's exchanges, and instead want to continue with their current coverage. The survey questions and results are below.

"Do you think federal employees should be required to use the health insurance exchanges or continue to use the current health insurance program?

Back to School: Why not give public school parents a $95.00 voucher for classroom supplies

August 1, 2013 in Blog

A Spokesman-Review editorial this week laments the awkward summer ritual of teachers, sometimes assisted by parents and charities, having to spend their own money to provide basic classroom supplies.  As the editorial notes, "The problem is that lawmakers have underfunded basic education for so long." Two things are surprising about this statement.

Labor executives upset Governor Walker is coming to Seattle

July 31, 2013 in Blog

Labor executives in Washington state are upset Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is coming to Seattle September 5th to speak at the Washington Policy Center annual awards dinner, according to the Washington State Labor Council newsletter The Stand.

IRS employees don't want Obamacare

July 25, 2013 in Blog

As Americans enjoy a long hot summer, we are increasingly realizing that the return of cold weather will bring an equally chilling effect on our health care.  Starting on January 1st nearly everyone will have to comply with the individual mandate imposed by the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Inslee backs ALEC legislation

July 16, 2013 in Blog

Some people on the left sure don't like ALEC. One who does, however, is Governor Jay Inslee. ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, is a voluntary, non-partisan professional organization that periodically brings together lawmakers from around the country to share ideas about model legislation and sound policies that can advance the public good in their states. ALEC is reviled by extremists on the far left, and they have launched a national campaign to run down its reputation.

Key education reforms die leaving Washington's school children little to celebrate

July 1, 2013 in Blog

Washington's school children had little to celebrate as lawmakers added $1.5 billion in new spending to an inefficient, unreformed K-12 public education system. The new money will do little to bring about real change. Currently only 59 cents of every education dollar reaches the classroom and mandatory teacher assignment rules prevent principals from getting the best teachers into the classroom. 

Seattle politicians want taxpayers to fund their re-election campaigns

June 28, 2013 in Blog

This week Seattle City Council members voted 8 - 0 to send a measure to the November ballot that would funnel public money to their own re-election campaigns. It's easy for public officials to create new programs when someone else is paying, especially when they will be the beneficiaries.

Spokesman-Review columnist ignores the cruelty of high minimum wage law that bans entry-level jobs

June 14, 2013 in Blog

Shawn Vestal's column today in The Spokesman-Review touting our state's higher wages compared to Idaho's leaves out an inconvenient truth: Washington's high minimum wage is meaningless if you can't find a job.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Idaho's unemployment rate (6.1%) is almost a full percentage point lower than Washington's (7%), meaning thousands of people in Idaho have family income and job opp

Worker protection bill would ban workplace discrimination and promote social justice

May 15, 2013 in Blog

While the people of Washington and most lawmakers breathlessly await the outcome of closed-door budget negotiations (a process clothed in "sanctity," according to Governor Inslee), Senator Michael Baumgartner has introduced a bill that would promote fairness and social justice for every working person in the state.

The Powerful are seeking to exempt themselves from Obamacare

April 25, 2013 in Blog

Obamacare is coming. Under the law going into effect January 1st thousands of Washingtonians will be forced to get government-approved health coverage through the mandatory state exchange.

As Gov. Kitzhaber threatens hold on Columbia River project, latest light rail accident raises safety concerns

April 24, 2013 in Blog

Within a day of Governor Kitzhaber of Oregon saying he would not permit new highway bridge construction across the Columbia River unless Washington taxpayers agree to put up an extra $450 million toward a light rail route, Sound Transit's light rail system claimed another victim in Seattle. A Mariners fan died of his injuries Tuesday after being hit by a Sound Transit train near Safeco Field.

Should the Secretary of Transportation be allowed to raise the gas tax?

April 22, 2013 in Blog

A key transportation tax bill, HB 1954 "Transportation revenue," was voted out of House committee today. That in itself is not remarkable. What is concerning is the adoption in committee of Rep. Habib's (D-48th) Amendment #4. The amendment would give the Secretary of Transportation the authority to raise the state gas tax by up to three cents a gallon.