Individual Health Insurance Mandate Has Its Day In Court

March 26, 2012 in Blog

This is the first of three updates on the Supreme Court case. Updates will follow tomorrow (Tuesday) and Wednesday.

Prominent Democratic donor calls Washington an education reform backwater, a joke

February 14, 2012 in Blog

PubliCola's Morning Fizz reports today on an e-mail from venture capitalist, high-dollar investor and major Democratic donor Nick Hanauer in which he expresses his thoughts, and frustrations, about the need for education reform in our state.

Calculate Your Tax Hit - The New Families and Education Levy

October 24, 2011 in Blog

Folks at Seattle Families Against Prop. 1 have created a tax calculator based on public records information from the King County Assessor’s office.  A Seattle ballot proposal would double the cost of the Families and Education Levy, an extra funding program that has been in place since 1990.

The calculator lets you type in your street address and it tells you how much you’ll pay in additional taxes over the life of the new Levy.  Here’s what Levy opponents say about it:

At The Stranger – Brain Off, Anger On

October 20, 2011 in Blog

We all know that a lot of swearing and yelling goes on over at The Stranger, which bills itself as Seattle’s Only Newspaper, at least that’s how their 2011 election endorsement page comes across.  Here’s what they say about the Families and Education Levy:

Seattle School Board Votes in Support of Tax Increase on Homeowners

May 6, 2011 in Blog

Wednesday night the Seattle School Board passed a resolution calling for doubling the cost of the city’s Families and Education Levy, which goes to Seattle voters for renewal in November.

Follow the money? WPC funding is private and voluntary. Public sector union funding is public and mandatory

April 21, 2011 in Blog

On April 13th a reader of the Sequim Gazette angrily wrote in response to my guest column about the power of public sector unions within state government, saying we should “out” people who support WPC.  We often hear this criticism from our friends on the left -- here’s my response, which the Gazette published yesterday.

Tribal Attorney Harold Monteau Wants it Both Ways

March 28, 2011 in Blog

WPC’s Chris Cargill wrote recently about the huge advantage tribal casinos have over their non-Indian competitors because tribes don’t have to pay the same taxes as the rest of us.  Harold Monteau, a Chippewa Cree attorney, indignantly responded in Indian Country Today.  In reading his response it seems Mr.

Our Free-market Colleagues Fight Corporate Pork in Arizona

March 14, 2011 in Blog

Those of us who believe that free-market principles can inspire policies that serve the public interest, reduce taxes, enhance citizen freedom and make government leaner and more efficient are often falsely labeled as corporate shills, fronts for big business and worse.  That’s why it would be so amusing, if it weren’t so tragic, to read about the City of Glendale’s assault on our colleagues at the free-market Goldwater Institute in Arizona.

Constantine cuts public safety, but finds $100k in public funds for his campaign’s public relations firm

February 22, 2011 in Blog

King County Executive Dow Constantine is laying off sheriff’s deputies and county prosecutors, while using County funds to hire the private public relations firm he used in his campaign.

The King County sheriff reports Constantine’s budget cuts eliminated all property-crime investigation teams, closed neighborhood police stations and reduced other crime-fighting services.

McGinn wants to increase taxes in a recession, so he can double spending on a program his Office of Education reports is not helping children as promised

February 3, 2011 in Blog

As a concerned parent of children in Seattle public schools, I see first hand the caring and professional way classroom teachers work to educate all their students.  As a public policy researcher, what I see is a lack of resources and support in the classroom, compared to the District’s half-billion dollar annual budget.  Seattle spends almost $13,000 a year per student, one of the highest levels in the country, yet only 59 cents of every education dollar reaches the classroom, and during layoffs union executives require the youngest and brightest teachers to be fired first.

Seattle Times Columnist Jon Talton Criticizes Business Tax Breaks, Except the One that Benefits His Newspaper

February 1, 2011 in Blog

In a recent column Seattle Times business columnist Jon Talton criticizes Amazon for “seeking the most favorable tax environment to boost profits,” accusing the Seattle-based online retailer of “gaming the tax system”  He says Washington companies like Amazon and Boeing have a social obligation to pay higher taxes to help pay for public services like infrastructure, education, parks and other public amenities.  As I read the column two thoughts occurred to me.

Executive Constantine Decides Gravel Mine Purchase is Very Important; Public Safety Less Important

November 16, 2010 in Blog

King County Executive Dow Constantine’s Communications Director Frank Abe says it is misleading for me to praise Constantine’s ingenuity and determination in finding a way to buy the gravel mine on Maury Island while at the same time saying he is stumped when it comes to finding a way to fund core public safety programs.  Abe’s mistake is saying I said Constantine should use the funding he so skillfu

Constantine's Budget Plan: Fire Sheriff Deputies, Buy Gravel Mine

November 12, 2010 in Blog

With voters’ clear opposition to tax increases, King County Executive Dow Constantine is moving ahead with his plan to fire sheriff deputies, dismiss prosecutors and cut back on justice services.

King County to citizens: back our tax increase, or we'll cut public safety

May 24, 2010 in Blog

County Executive Dow Constantine and the other Democrats governing King County want to impose a tax increase on people during a recession, imposing greater financial hardship on families to make it easier for them to balance their budget.  If people don’t agree to pay higher taxes, they say they will cut back on public safety by forcing reductions on the Sheriff and the County Prosecutor’s office.

County officials are quoted today in The Seattle Times saying that, “most noncritical spending has already been trimmed.”

That’s not true.  The County Executive has done little or nothing to control rising labor costs.  To cite just one department, wages for bus drivers have grown at twice the rate of inflation – rising 70% in just ten years.  Today some drivers make more than $100,000 a year; 243 drivers make more than $75,000 a year.

On top of that, the Executive makes taxpayers pay for 100% of employee health benefits, while in the private sector employers normally pay 75% to 85% of benefit costs:

“Under the Full Benefits Plan, you [county employees] receive county-paid medical, dental and vision coverage for yourself and the eligible dependents (spouse/domestic partner and children) you enroll.”

In 2009 County officials made the deficit worse by promising to pay the cost of all health benefits “without the burden of premium share,” that is, employees make zero contribution toward the cost of their health benefits:

“This agreement addresses those [budget] concerns by securing a strong set of benefits that promote quality care and better health without the burden of premium share.”

The County provides great benefits.  Employees receive 12 paid holidays, 12 paid sick days, free bus passes, free life insurance, increased dental coverage, and a cut, from $10 to $7, in the co-pay required for filling prescriptions.  The County has no problem filling open positions, indicating it pays well above market rates in salary and benefits.  Executive Constantine and council Democrats want to use existing revenues to provide above-market wages and gold-plated benefits, while threatening people with cuts in public safety unless we agree to a tax increase.

Seattle homeless advocate would rather cling to his comfortable prejudices than risk listening to alternative views

February 26, 2010 in Blog

During a recent TV appearance on the Seattle Channel I
learned first hand why radicals on the left consistently fail to connect with
the public – they don’t listen.

Earlier this month Seattle homeless advocate Tim Harris and
I appeared on C.R. Douglas’ high-quality City Inside/Out show on the Seattle Channel (on February
5th, at

Afterward, Mr. Harris wrote that I had seasoned the
discussion with my “anti-tax, government-solutions-to-poverty-always-fail,
there is no society, there are only individuals, and we should fear them”
message.  The problem is his description
doesn’t remotely reflect what I said.  Let’s
look at what I actually said.

Paul Guppy:  “To the
extent that the homelessness is being reduced…that is good news.  From a taxpayer point of view, the point of
view of the public, the community that wants this to be solved, to the extent fewer
people are living on the street, that’s progress in the right direction.” (in
the video at 15:40).

Tim Harris then said I’m the problem.  Tim Harris: 
“As long as this guy [pointing to me] is basically O.K. with the
structure to funding the ten-year plan, we’ve got a big problem,” referring to
Seattle’s End Homelessness in Ten Years program.  (at 19:31). 

Here’s what I said in response.

Paul Guppy:  “You cast
me as endorsing a public program, which I did not do.  Instead, what I’m doing is holding a public
program accountable for what it promises. 
So if a public program is taking tax money and saying to the public, ‘We
are going to end homelessness in ten years,’ then I think it is reasonable for
people to say, ‘What is the real result from that’.  I didn’t choose this approach, but since our
leaders have taken us down this path, I think the people of Seattle should
expect a real result from it.”

Paul Guppy:  “A lot of
homelessness is based on behavior, so without addressing the mental illnesses,
the substance abuse, the dependencies people have, simply providing them with
homes is not going to be enough…there are social services that go along with
the housing units, so it all has to be done together.” (at 19:55).

I don’t see how celebrating the progress of a government
program that is reducing homelessness can be seen by Mr. Harris as my having a
“government-solutions-to-poverty-always-fail” message.

And I don’t see how providing support services to address the
causes of homelessness can be seen by him as a “there is no society, there are
only individuals and we should fear them” message.

How could Tim Harris get it so wrong?  The reason is simple.  Radical advocates like him simply don’t
listen to others.  He would rather cling to
his comfortable, narrow-minded stereotypes than take the risk of actually listening
to someone with an alternative viewpoint.