In the midst of last year’s raging debate over whether Seattle should increase the minimum wage to $15, a study by the University of Washington (UW) weighed in, finding 24% of Seattle workers would benefit from the wage hike. Add in predictions of wage compression, whereby employers increase the wages of workers already making more than $15 in order to maintain the pay-scale hierarchy, and the UW study said one third of the city’s workers would benefit.
Monday marked the fifth anniversary of President Obama signing the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) into law. The Administration is touting the "success" of the legislation. What is the reality?
Americans continue to oppose the law. Real Clear Politics averaged six recent polls and found that 52.5 percent opposed the ACA and 42.5 percent approved of the law. This ten percent difference remains constant since the bill was signed into law.
Hundreds of excited parents and students gathered early Saturday for a lottery to select students to attend a new charter public school to open in Tacoma this fall. SOAR Academy, the first elementary public charter school in Pierce County, will provide kindergarten through 8th grade for schoolchildren. The school received 234 applications for 124 available slots in kindergarten and first grade. Principal Kristina Bellamy-McClain drew at random from a drum to select student names.
Now that Lacey, Olympia, Tumwater and unincorporated areas of Thurston County have implemented a ban on plastic grocery bags, Thurston County Solid Waste completed a study of what kind of grocery bag residents now use. The results show the ban has likely increased emissions of greenhouse gases and increased water pollution that contributes to "dead zones" in the ocean.
Envision Spokane, a labor and enviro backed group, has filed an initiative to amend the City of Spokane’s charter to include a “Worker Bill of Rights.” If approved by voters in November, the measure would impose a sweeping set of new labor mandates on Spokane employers.
Earlier this week, the State Transportation Commission approved a plan to toll Interstate 405 from Bellevue to Lynnwood. They plan to repurpose both an existing auxiliary lane, currently in operation as a general purpose lane between Bellevue and 124th Street but being extended to SR522, and the HOV lane from Bellevue to Lynnwood and designating both as High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes. The HOT lanes would allow free access to carpools with at least three people in the peak periods and will be tolled based on congestion in the adjacent general purpose lanes.
Lawmakers in the House and Senate this week focused on committee hearings to consider bills sent to them from the opposite chamber, following last week’s legislative cut-off date. Neither chamber held floor votes on legislation.
Members assembled for a joint session on Wednesday to honor people from communities that distinguished themselves during rescue efforts at the Oso landslide disaster one year ago.
The Seattle Times got it wrong this week in an appearance of that self-appointed arbiter of veritas, “Truth Needle,” by food writer Bethany Jean Clement, about our blog on the $15 minimum wage law and restaurant closings in Seattle. Here’s why.
Republicans in both the U.S. House and Senate released proposed budgets this week. (Here)(Here)The House version cuts spending by $5.5 trillion and balances the budget in nine years. The Senate proposal cuts $5.1 trillion in spending and balances the budget in ten years. There is currently controversy within the Republican Party based on the amount of defense spending. (Here)
After last week’s flurry of last-minute bill actions ahead of a major deadline, House and Senate lawmakers have settled down to a round of committee hearings on bills sent over by the opposite chamber. There are now 323 house bills before the Senate and 348 senate bills before the House. Lawmakers are also working on measures that were not subject to last Wednesday’s cut-off, because they are bills related to revenue and spending
Research consistently shows that when the government forces employers to pay a higher minimum wage, employers rarely absorb the extra costs. Employers simply cannot pay a worker more than the value of their output. So forcing employers to pay workers an artificially high wage creates perverse incentives to find other ways to cut labor costs. Usually it is in the form of charging higher prices for the goods and services they provide, reducing the size of their work force, reducing employee hours or eliminating non-mandated benefits.
Yesterday Senate Minority Leader Sharon Nelson said she plans to ask for a Senate rule to require “fair and balanced” hearings. She specifically cited the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee, chaired by Senator Michael Baumgartner, as a primary offender.
When pressed for an example of why such a rule is needed, Senator Nelson said:
When you have a hearing it should be fair and balanced and both sides should be heard, versus having the WPC present on a bill and not have someone from the other side presenting on the same bill.”