Washington Policy Blog

A Step Forward for Environmental Accountability

April 2, 2014 in Blog

A tax break for a natural gas plant in Tacoma offers a nice step forward for a bipartisan approach to environmental accountability and effectiveness.

One of the primary failures of Washington's environmental approach is that politicians choose policies that make them look good but do little to ensure those policies actually work. For example:

What Do the Obamacare Sign-up Numbers Really Mean?

April 2, 2014 in Blog

The final (sort of) numbers are out and the Obamacare supporters are doing the Happy Dance. The "official" enrollment number for the health insurance exchanges is 7.1 million people, which has been the goal since enrollment began on 10/1/13. The "sort of" comes from the fact that the Obama Administration has allowed an extention for people experiencing "hardships" in signing up. These hardships are self-reported, so essentially the Administration has extended the open enrollment period indefinitely.

News Story on Oso Landslide Quotes Geologist Who Thinks Firebombers Are "Eco-Patriots"

April 1, 2014 in Blog

Yesterday, The Seattle Times published a story on a nine-years old timber harvest that Times reporters believe may be linked to the tragic landslide in Oso. The article, "State used outdated data to allow logging on slope," argues that part of that harvest was in an area that had previously been restricted.

The story notes there could be several factors contributing to the slide:

Citizen’s Guide to Proposition 1

April 1, 2014 in Blog

Washington Policy Center just released our Citizen’s Guide to Proposition 1. Key Findings and a link to the study follow:

Key Findings

Where is the 2012-13 School Achievement Index?

March 31, 2014 in Blog

It is March 31st and the Washington State Board of Education has still not released the School Achievement Index for 2012-13.

This is unusual.  The State Board of Education usually releases the new Index to parents and the general public early in the year, normally near the end of January.  Now the Index is two months late.

Bill Improving State’s Wireless Telecommunications Signed by Governor

March 31, 2014 in Blog

This session the Legislature passed HB 2175, which is an important first step in improving Washington’s wireless telecommunications competitiveness.  The bill was signed by the Governor on March 28.

Superintendent Randy Dorn says McCleary ruling requires $7.5 billion in higher taxes, but no school reform

March 27, 2014 in Blog

The Issue

On March 18th, Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn sent out a statement disputing Washington Policy Center’s analysis of the 2012 Supreme Court McCleary v. State of Washington decision.

Oversight of the Office of Insurance Commissioner

March 27, 2014 in Blog

It's been said there are two things you never want to see being made - sausage and legislation. In many cases, proposed legislation morphs into a totally different bill when finally passed. Fortunately, this was not exactly the situation with SB 6458.

KVI reports on Metro’s windfall tax revenues

March 26, 2014 in Blog

KVI radio’s John Carlson reported last week on my recent study on the windfall tax revenues Metro received last year and is receiving this year.  In 2013, Metro officials collected $443 million from the public, the highest level ever.  In 2014, Metro officials expect to collect even more, $471 million, a $32 million windfall above estimates.

$43.5 million left to pay for imploded Kingdome

March 26, 2014 in Blog

14 years ago today this was the scene in downtown Seattle as the Kingdome was brought to its knees:

Since then the Seahawks have made 2 Super Bowl appearances, winning one, and taxpayers have paid nearly $135 million to retire debt on the imploded Kingdome ($25.8 million for original construction and $109 million for repairs has been paid for debt service since 2001 to date).

WTO Anarchists May Have Been Seattle Police in Disguise Says Rainforest Action Network Founder Randy Hayes

March 25, 2014 in Blog

Who was really underneath those black masks violent protestors wore during the 1999 WTO riots in Seattle? The founder of the Rainforest Action Network Randy Hayes thinks they may have been Seattle police.

Setting the stage for the 2015-17 budget debate

March 20, 2014 in Blog

With seven minutes to spare, lawmakers adjourned at 11:53 p.m. on the last day of the 60 day 2014 Legislative Session, avoiding for the first time in several years going into a special session. Among the bills passed was a 2014 supplemental operating budget (SB 6002). Unlike previous years, when major re-writes of the budget were needed, SB 6002 was a true supplemental budget making minor changes to state spending.

Metro announces record-high tax collections

March 19, 2014 in Blog

In newly-released figures, Metro officials announced they received record-breaking levels of tax revenue in 2013, reporting they collected more money from the public in taxes than at any time in the agency’s history.

The state’s largest public transit agency collected $442,731,128 in tax revenue the last calendar year, surpassing pre-recession revenue levels.

Lawmakers protect bus service for charter school children

March 18, 2014 in Blog

Recently the people of Washington enacted the most significant advance in education reform our state has seen in 30 years, Initiative 1240, to allow 40 charter schools to open over five years.  Charter schools are independent community-based public schools that are popular with parents.  They have been successful in helping some the hardest-to-teach students get a good public education. Nationally over two million students attend 6,200 charter schools, with another 600,000 children on waiting lists.

WashingtonVotes.org releases 2014 Missed Votes Report for Legislators

March 18, 2014 in Blog

Contact: Lisa Shin
206-937-9691
lshin [at] washingtonpolicy [dot] org 

WashingtonVotes.org has released its annual Missed Votes Report, detailing missed roll call votes on bills for every legislator during the 2014 Legislative Session.