Washington Policy Blog

A Real World Look at Increasing the Minimum Wage

October 10, 2014 in Blog

The CEO of CKE Restaurants, which runs 2,000 restaurants nationwide, published an outstanding editorial in the Wall Street Journal last weekend that explains why a government mandate increasing the minimum wage is bad for employers and workers.

King County Mandates Higher Wages for County Employees...While Proposing to Cut 500 County Jobs

October 9, 2014 in Blog

This week the Metropolitan King County Council passed an ordinance that will require most county employees, and the employees of companies that do business with the county, to earn a “living wage.”

State Charter School Commission to decide on new applications tomorrow

October 8, 2014 in Blog

Washington’s charter school law, one of the best in the country, is working as the voters intended when they passed Initiative 1240 in 2012.  The state Charter School Commission has approved seven new schools to open their doors to students this year and next, and officials at the Spokane School District have approved a charter school to serve the city’s low-income families.  The state’s first charter school, First Place Scholars, opened in September in Seattle’s Central District, helping homeless and low-income children gain access to a good public education.

Washington State's Wireless Taxes are the Highest in the Nation

October 8, 2014 in Blog

A report released today by the Tax Foundation ranks Washington as the state with the highest wireless taxes in the nation.

Seattle and Tacoma port alliance reflects WPC recommendation

October 8, 2014 in Blog

After years of debate on whether the ports of Seattle and Tacoma should merge, port officials announced today they have formed a single Seaport Alliance. According to the Seattle Post Intelligencer, “The Seaport Alliance will manage marine cargo terminal investments plus marketing, planning and operations, while existing government structures, taxing authority and ownership of assets remain in place.”

How schools can reduce class sizes without increasing taxes

October 7, 2014 in Blog

A lot of false claims are being made these days about school funding and class sizes. Supporters of Initiative 1351, the class-size reduction initiative, say Washington’s schools do not have enough adults on staff to provide smaller class sizes. They want to increase the number adults paid by public schools by creating 25,561 new staff positions.

Harris v. Quinn lives in Washington

October 7, 2014 in Blog

It took a few months but we now know the U.S. Supreme Court's June 30 ruling in Harris v. Quinn will be implemented in Washington State. According to the tentative 2015-17 contract agreement between the state and SEIU 775 (Article 4):

State Supreme Court gives green light to retroactive tax increases

October 2, 2014 in Blog

It looks like the State Supreme Court is giving the Legislature a new tool to address its McCleary contempt order: retroactive tax increases. A unanimous Court ruling today said it was not unconstitutional when the Legislature approved a retroactive change to the state's death tax in 2013.

Obamacare Remains in Jeopardy

October 1, 2014 in Blog

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, was signed into law in 2010. It was one year ago today that the state and federal health insurance exchanges began enrollment. Washington state is one of 15 states that established its own exchange. The other 35 states elected to use the federal exchange.

More Democrats voice opposition to WEA union initiative

October 1, 2014 in Blog

In a growing trend, more Democrats are expressing doubt and skepticism about Initiative 1351, the class size reduction initiative put on the November ballot by executives at the powerful teachers union, the Washington Education Association (WEA).

King County Council votes to preserve Metro bus service without raising regressive taxes

September 30, 2014 in Blog

After months of doubt, threats and controversy, bus riders and taxpayers finally have some good news: the King County Councilmembers unanimously voted to stop the bus service cuts they had planned for 2015. County officials now say they will limit their cut to a total of 151,000 hours of bus service, instead of the 600,000 bus hours they threatened earlier this year, citing windfall sales tax revenues and better management practices at Metro.

Seattle's Action on Honeybees Scientifically Calibrated to Help Politicians, Not Bees

September 26, 2014 in Blog

Environmental policy provides numerous examples where trendy politics and ignorance trump sound science. The City of Seattle's latest action to protect honeybees is just the latest example.

Taking a step called "very conservative," the City of Seattle announced it will no longer use a class of pesticides called neonicitinoids. The resolution, which is boilerplate language from other cities, claims:

Citizens Guide to Initiative 1351: To Reduce Class Sizes

September 25, 2014 in Blog

To help voters understand the class size reduction initiative on the November ballot, Washington Policy Center has just published a new study, “Citizens Guide to Initiative 1351: To Reduce Class Sizes.”   

Are Hospitals Really Doing Better Under Obamacare?

September 25, 2014 in Blog

Yesterday, the Obama Administration released data that shows hospitals are projected to save $5.7 billion in uncompensated care costs because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare. The majority of the savings comes from the Medicaid expansion and is anticipated to occur in those state that chose to expand the program for low-income individuals.