Washington Policy Blog

Excited parents and children gather for Washington state’s first charter school lottery

March 3, 2015 in Blog

Photo: Brenda McDonald, principal of PRIDE Prep charter school draws the names to fill one 
of 150 spaces available for enrollment

King versus Burwell; The Next Hurdle for Obamacare

March 3, 2015 in Blog

Tomorrow, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear another case dealing with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare. This case, King versus Burwell, deals with the legality of the Internal Revenue Service giving subsidies to people who purchase health insurance in the federal health insurance exchange. Thirty six states either chose to use the federal exchange or were unsuccessful in establishing their own exchange.

"Choose Washington" - no capital gains taxes

March 3, 2015 in Blog

To help market the state of Washington to potential businesses the Department of Commerce runs a website called "Choose Washington." Under the tab "Why Washington" you can select "Our Strengths." Under that tab you will find a page called "Pro-Business."

Will the Senate vote to enforce its rules?

March 3, 2015 in Blog

On the first day of session the Senate, using the powers granted to it by Article 2, Section 9 of the state Constitution, adopted rules to govern its proceedings. Among the rules adopted was Rule 64 to require a supermajority vote to move a bill creating a new tax from second to third reading.

WPC statement on Senate passage of transportation bills

March 2, 2015 in Blog

Statement by Washington Policy Center on Senate Passage of Transportation Bills

OLYMPIA — The Washington state Senate passed two transportation bills today, in the wake of eight important reforms senators passed last Friday. Together, the bills reflect long-standing Washington Policy Center recommendations to reduce the cost of building roads in Washington state and provide congestion relief to the traveling public.

State senate acts on bills on consumer protection, nuclear waste, and child access to powdered alcohol

February 27, 2015 in Blog

Trolls are not welcome in Washington State. Patent trolls, that is. The Senate this week passed Senate Bill 5059, called the “Patent Troll Prevention Act,” to strengthen consumer protection statutes and allow the Office of the Attorney General to bring action against a company which violate patent rules.

Verizon’s brilliant eesponse to net neutrality vote

February 27, 2015 in Blog

Wireless provider Verizon posted a pointed blog yesterday responding to the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to regulate the Internet.

C-Tran should be more accountable to voters

February 26, 2015 in Blog

Senate Bill 5187 would restrict Clark County’s transit agency, C-Tran, from allocating time and money to plan light rail projects that have already been rejected by voters. Only if voters approve the plan at a later date would C-Tran be allowed to devote resources toward light rail.

Should volatile capital gains taxes be relied on to fund the state's "paramount duty"?

February 26, 2015 in Blog

In our prior blog post we looked at the volatility of capital gains taxes and how California adopted a constitutional amendment to force more savings of its revenue from that source versus spending it to reduce the state's rollercoaster budgeting.

New projection shows state revenue to increase by more than $3 billion; lawmakers turn their attention to budget, education, and transportation bills

February 25, 2015 in Blog

More than 800 of the 2,311 legislative measures introduced to date failed to survive last Friday’s deadline for passing non-budget bills out of committee. Barring extraordinary circumstances, these bills will not see action this year.

This leaves 1,489 bills for lawmakers to consider before the next legislative deadline on March 11th, the day on which either the House or the Senate must pass a bill for it to survive, except for measures related to the budget or transportation.

How Senator Liias can increase teacher pay without raising taxes

February 25, 2015 in Blog

Senator Marko Liias (D-Lynnwood) has released a new edition of his Washington White Board video series, arguing that state officials pay entry-level public school teachers so little they qualify for public assistance.  Senator Liias has also introduced a bill to create a state income tax.

WSU economic study shows Cap-and-Trade costs for gasoline will be borne entirely by consumers

February 25, 2015 in Blog

One of the ongoing debates about Governor Inslee's cap-and-trade proposal is who will end up paying the billions of dollars a year in new costs associated with the proposed system.

Are capital gains taxes "secure and stable" or highly volatile?

February 25, 2015 in Blog

When releasing his 2015-17 budget plan Governor Inslee said, “We have a very solid, fiscally sound, secure and stable way of financing everything I’ve talked about today." Among the new taxes he proposes to fulfill this statement is a 7% capital gains tax to generate an estimated $798 million.

Union executives launch campaign to lobby for state salary increase

February 24, 2015 in Blog

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. 

Senate committee acts on transportation bills, other committees working to pass legislation before today’s deadline

February 20, 2015 in Blog

Today, February 20th, is the deadline for committees to pass non-budget bills to keep them moving through the House and Senate, creating a flurry of activity to meet the first of a series of legislative cut-off dates.

After today, lawmakers can introduce no more non-budget bills this year, except through special parliamentary rules that would require the consent of a majority of legislators.