Congestion relief is not a priority when state officials spend transportation dollars, but that may soon change. House Bill 1939 would re-establish congestion relief as a transportation policy goal, creating an official relationship between spending and relieving traffic congestion.
Prior to 2007, lawmakers had implemented very specific performance measures that tied spending to measurable benchmarks to provide congestion relief. They were:
It may be the best deal state officials choose to pass up this session, buy two ferries and get one free. It all depends on whether state lawmakers want to leave money on the table when it comes to ferry purchases. According to the Washington State Auditor, Washington taxpayers pay some of the highest costs in the nation to build ferries.
Senate Bill 5550, introduced by State Senators Cyrus Habib (D-48th district) and Joe Fain (R-47th district), would establish state-level regulations on the rideshare industry. Currently, local municipalities regulate the taxicab, for-hire, and rideshare industries, while the state has oversight over limousine services.
State Senator Doug Ericksen (R-Ferndale), chairman of the Senate Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee, announced an energy bill Wednesday to encourage carbon emission reductions, while creating jobs and avoiding new taxes.
Five senators, three Republicans and two Democrats, joined Senator Ericksen in a news conference announcing the new bill.
Craig Kenworthy, the Executive Director of the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA) should correct comments he made to the legislature last week.
During hearings before the House Environment committee, Kenworthy urged the committee to adopt the Governor's cap-and-trade plan, saying that cutting carbon emissions would provide "co-benefits" such as reducing traditional air pollution like particulate matter. To make the point, however, he said something that is inaccurate.
Yesterday the Senate Commerce & Labor Committee heard testimony on two bills addressing our state’s high teen unemployment rate.
Washington has struggled for over a decade with one of the nation’s highest teen unemployment rates. Since 2002, well before the recession, in all but one year Washington ranked among the top ten states with the highest teen unemployment. Washington also has had the nation’s highest minimum wage. A multitude of studies show there is a cause-and-effect relationship between the two.
In my previous blog, “Do Women Really Earn Less than Men for the Same Work?” I explained why claims that women earn 80% less than men are inaccurate.
Once other factors are considered, such as hours worked, extended absences from work and type of employment, women actually earn 97-cents for every dollar earned by their male counterpart. And single women with no children actually earn 8% more than men.
The Washington State Health Benefit Exchange released the latest sign-up numbers for 2015. The goal was 213,000 total private-plan enrollees this year, which would include the 140,000 enrollees from 2014 and 83,000 new enrollees. The deadline for applications is February 15.
The numbers are not even close. To date, only 87,000 people (62%) have re-enrolled and only 40,000 individuals are new enrollees this year (48% of the anticipated). In other words the state exchange is 40% below the predicted enrollment.
Senator Litzow and several other senators have introduced SB 5393. The bill would free public schools with the highest rank, “Exemplary,” on the state’s School Achievement Index from 38 of the Common School regulation’s 72 chapters.
WPC was invited to testify in front of the House Transportation Committee on January 28th to provide analysis on House Bill 1180. Under HB 1180, Sound Transit officials would gain authority to impose a 0.5% sales tax rate increase, a 0.8% Motor Vehicle Excise Tax increase, and raise property taxes within their taxing district. A video of our testimony can be found below.