Washington Policy Blog

Should Washington follow New Jersey's response to Court K-12 sanctions? Fuhgeddaboudit

August 14, 2015 in Blog

Yesterday the State Supreme Court in a 9-0 ruling took the unprecedented step of fining the state (i.e. taxpayers) for the Legislature's failure to adopt a detailed plan showing how lawmakers plan to meet certain K-12 funding goals by 2018.

Minimum wage hike is already killing jobs; fast food industry warns more losses are on the way

August 11, 2015 in Blog

In June, Moody’s Investor Service warned a higher minimum wage could erode profit margins in the U.S. restaurant business.  And while supporters of a high minimum wage like to say employers can afford to absorb the reduced profits, the reality is much different.

The CEO and CFO of fast food chain Wendy’s recently explained what a higher minimum wage means for their workers:

The Free Market at Work in Health Care

August 11, 2015 in Blog

Based on terrific business models and strong consumer demand, new companies such as Uber and Airbnb are flourishing. Similar companies are now taking off in the health care arena.

The Proposed Washington State Medicaid Pilot Project

August 7, 2015 in Blog

Washington state health care officials have begun traveling around the state to introduce a new Medicaid pilot project. (here) They have a 30 day window, ending August 23rd, for public comment on the plan.

Pasco teachers union threatens illegal strike – five things every parent should know

August 7, 2015 in Blog

Just weeks after the legislature approved one of the largest increases in K-12 public education spending in state history, union executives in the Pasco School District are demanding an 11% pay raise or they’ll recommend teachers strike against children and families.

Budget reforms needed to remove threat of government shutdown

August 7, 2015 in Blog

During the last two biennia Washington has come dangerously close to a state government shutdown. The current 2015-17 budget was signed just 18 minutes before a shutdown (signed at 11:42 p.m. on June 30) while the 2013-15 budget was approved a few hours before the new budget cycle (signed at 4:20 p.m. on June 30, 2013).

Artificially high wages don’t make every worker happy

August 6, 2015 in Blog

In the wake of the $15 minimum wage movement, some employers are opting to voluntarily increase the wages of their workers.   Implementing across the board minimum wages for all of their workers, these employers say the higher wages will boost morale, improve productivity and reduce turnover.  Whatever their motivation, such announcements usually come with a fair amount of media attention praising the employer’s generosity while minimum wage advocates hail the decision as proof every employer can afford to pay a higher wage.

Education Superintendent Dorn poised to impose rules to burden charter schools and families

August 4, 2015 in Blog

Over Memorial Day, as most people were distracted by holiday plans, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn was working to burden charter schools and their families with 119 pages of new rules.

WPC joins amicus defending people's right to enact fiscal restraints on lawmakers

August 3, 2015 in Blog

Washington Policy Center (WPC) is a strong defender of the people's right of initiative as well as their power to enact fiscal restraints on lawmakers to help promote sustainable budgeting. This is why we are happy to sign on to the amicus brief in the case of Kerr v. Hickenlooper currently before the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals for reconsideration at the direction of the U.S. Supreme Court. 

A disturbing example of union hypocrisy, intimidation and media control

July 31, 2015 in Blog

In the midst of organized labor’s demands for a $15 minimum wage for all workers comes the revelation that they do not pay this so-called “living” wage to their employees.

The Washington Times reports that as big labor bosses are boasting of their $15 minimum wage successes at the AFL-CIO’s annual summer meeting, at least one usher working the event told the reporter she did not earn $15 per hour.

Attorney General says State Superintendent Dorn has gone astray with his plan to shut down government

July 31, 2015 in Blog

Today the state Attorney General filed the state’s answer to Superintendent Randy Dorn’s brief to the state Supreme Court in the McCleary case, adding to the post-legislative-session reports to the Court about school funding. The AG sharply criticizes the Superintendent’s plan to shut down government, pointing out Dorn’s plan would cause children to go hungry:

The state of Ben Franklin Transit (BFT): Facts, figures and the 5:00 news live shot

July 31, 2015 in Blog

This week, Washington Policy Center released its latest Key Facts analysis of Ben Franklin Transit (BFT). BFT is the transit agency that serves the Tri-Cities (Richland-Kennewick-Pasco) region.

Our in-depth analysis shows total ridership has dropped 25% over the past five years. And the ridership drop is across all modes.

Is Initiative 1366 a constitutional amendment?

July 31, 2015 in Blog

Initiative 1366, the "Taxpayer Protection Act," has qualified for the November ballot. Here is the official ballot title and summary for I-1366: 

Michigan court ruling is another victory against forced unionism

July 30, 2015 in Blog

Yesterday the Michigan Supreme Court upheld that state’s new right-to-work law with its ruling that state workers are subject to the law.  This means public employees are subject to the same protections from forced unionism as those in private industries.