Washington Policy Blog

Gov. Inslee vetoes bill limiting airborne drones, restores funding for disaster relief and life sciences research in final bill actions

April 8, 2014 in Blog

Just prior to the April 5th deadline for the governor to act on bills passed by the legislature in 2014, Governor Inslee vetoed HB 2789, which would have placed limits on the use of drones for law enforcement purposes, and HB 1260, which would have cut the number of public works projects subject to prevailing wage regulations in half. 

The Seattle Times urges a No vote on Prop. 1, cites Metro’s failed promises and high costs

April 7, 2014 in Blog

The Seattle Times published an editorial Saturday urging voters in King County to reject Proposition 1, saying the transit agency has not kept past promises and is not “thoroughly confronting its well-documented unsustainably high operating costs.”

Should candidates verify their background for voters?

April 7, 2014 in Blog

Voting for candidates for elected office is an important decision. Unfortunately at times there is little information available about candidates to help us make an informed decision. While county auditors and the Secretary of State produce voter pamphlets with information self-provided by those running for office, is the information actually truthful?

That’s where the new CandidateVerification.org in our state has the potential to bring clarity.  

Publicola Makes the Best Argument Against Minimum Wage Hike

April 4, 2014 in Blog

In a story on Seattle rent prices yesterday, the left-leaning Publicola asserts that the “most interesting” data point from an analysis of Seattle’s rental-market is that, “The law of supply and demand is, it turns out, an actual thing."  It seems the analysis shows that just as this most basic tenet of economics predicts, demand is inextricably linked to supply.  The

Proposition 1 taxes - another city considers diverting money away from roads

April 4, 2014 in Blog

In my recent blog, Proposition 1 taxes – money for roads might not go to roads, I mention the Seattle City Council’s plan to divert Proposition 1 money away from roads into other modes, despite drivers paying the bulk of the taxes. Other cities appear to be following suit.

Gov. Inslee's Three Reasons to Support Cap-and-Trade: Politics, Politics and Politics

April 4, 2014 in Blog

Earlier this week, Governor Inslee, speaking at the University of Washington, explained his support for imposing a cap-and-trade system in Washington state to reduce carbon emissions.

Cap-and-trade, the system used by Europeans and others as part of the Kyoto Protocol, has two key elements. First, it sets a total cap on the amount of carbon emissions allowed, typically over the course of a year, by covered entities in the state. Second, covered entities are allowed to buy and trade permits to emit carbon.

Hundreds Attend Spirited WPC Minimum Wage Debate in Seattle

April 3, 2014 in Blog

Last night hundreds of students, business owners and engaged citizens gathered at the University of Washington campus in Seattle to learn more about the arguments for and arguments against increasing the minimum wage.

The WPC-sponsored event, “The Minimum Wage Debate,” was moderated by award-winning political journalist Robert Mak and included pro and con panels comprised of economists, lawmakers, policy analysts and a Seattle small business owner.  The panelists discussed the impacts of minimum wage hikes at the local, state and national level.

Proposition 1 taxes - money for roads might not go to roads

April 3, 2014 in Blog

King County officials say that if they don’t receive new tax revenue from the public, they plan to cut Metro bus service by 17%, close bridges and let public roads turn to gravel.

County officials say they want to use 60% of Proposition 1’s tax money to save current bus service from the cuts they are proposing, and will devote the remaining 40% to road projects that serve the traveling public.

Join us at UW this evening or watch live online!

April 2, 2014 in Blog

Tonight Washington Policy Center, along with its Young Professionals group and WPC Young Professionals @UW club, will host the first of two statewide debates in Kane Hall at the University of Washington on the Minimum Wage. 

The debate will largely focus on how an increase in the minimum wage will affect young people, particularly college students, recent graduates and young professionals.

Public school administrator blames voters for public school failures

April 2, 2014 in Blog

Bill Keim, Executive Director of the Washington Association of School Administrators (WASA), blames the people of Washington for the failures of public schools that are run by the members of his Association (“It’s time for voters to get serious about school funding,The Seattle Times’ Education Lab).

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.