Washington Policy Blog

Why Initiative 1351 will not improve learning for school children

October 15, 2014 in Blog

Initiative 1351, the ballot measure on class sizes, will bring new profits to the powerful WEA union because all new teachers will be forced to pay about $1,000 a year in dues as a condition of employment.  Overall the measure represents a $7.4 million windfall for the union, every year.

At the same time, I-1351 would do little to improve learning for Washington’s school children. 

Here’s why:

Medicaid Can Not Survive as an Open-ended Entitlement

October 15, 2014 in Blog

No surprise, as the economy improves states are expanding their Medicaid programs.

Democratic party statement wrong about Initiative 1351 endorsements

October 15, 2014 in Blog

A statement released Saturday by the Washington state Democratic Party falsely describes the political support behind Initiative 1351, the unfunded ballot measure intended to reduce class sizes.

The statement says “As Democrats, we are united” in supporting strong schools and educational opportunities then adds in bold lettering,  “That’s why Democrats support Initiative 1351 to reduce class size for every child, in every grade.”

100 lawmakers and candidates respond to tax survey

October 14, 2014 in Blog

Curious to know if those that hope to represent you in the Legislature next year believe you have the right to settle the twenty year debate about whether tax increases should receive a supermajority vote or voter approval?

Charter School Commission rejects three of four applications – rejections fall hardest on Hispanic families

October 13, 2014 in Blog

Last week in Yakima, in the second round of charter school applications, the Washington State Charter School Commission approved only one new school and rejected three others. Here are the actions Commissioners took:

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.