Washington Policy Blog

WPC on KING TV special program, "Fighting Traffic"

September 14, 2015 in Blog

Washington Policy Center recently participated in the KING TV special program, “Fighting Traffic,” which aired last week. Even as a panelist, I was anxious to see what plans public officials had in mind to reduce traffic congestion and make trips quicker around the Puget Sound Region, but elation soon turned to disappointment.

Charter school student: “I love my school and I want it to stay open”

September 14, 2015 in Blog

“I love my school and I want it to stay open.”  That was the reaction of sixth-grader Marshall Wheatcroft when he learned that six supreme court justices had voted to close charter schools across the state.

District elections would increase competition for Supreme Court races

September 14, 2015 in Blog

After several recent controversial decisions by the state Supreme Court the Seattle Times this weekend took a closer look at the electoral competition, or rather lack thereof, for the Justices. According to the Times

Elections for the high-court seats have grown less competitive in recent years — with spending dominated more by liberal groups.

California's Cap-and-Trade Significantly Increases Gas Prices In First Year

September 13, 2015 in Blog

Earlier this year, California applied its carbon cap-and-trade system - much like Governor Inslee has proposed - to gasoline sales. There was a great deal of attention paid to how it would affect gas prices.

Over at the left-wing Cascadia Advocate, they cheered in January when the impact on gas prices appeared to be minimal.

What are the possible outcomes if Initiative 1366 is approved by voters?

September 11, 2015 in Blog

Overshadowed by last week's shocking and controversial charter school decision by the Supreme Court is another important ruling by the court to allow the public to vote on Initiative 1366 ("Taxpayer Protection Act"). On September 4, 2015, the Supreme Court issued a brief order unanimously allowing Initiative 1366 to appear on the 2015 general election ballot.

Seven state Supreme Court judges accepted WEA union campaign money

September 9, 2015 in Blog

As public schools in Washington experience turmoil (as The New York Times puts it), due to recent court decisions, Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat points to what he says may be one source of the problem – campaign donations from special interests to state judges.

How Does Repealing Obamacare Add to the Federal Debt?

September 9, 2015 in Blog

Presidential candidates are starting to issue their health care reform proposals. Repeal or reform of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, is central to many of the plans.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), along with the Joint Commission on Taxation (JCT) weighed in this summer. (here) They found that for the period 2016-2025, repeal of the ACA would add $137 billion to the federal debt. This number would go up substantially for the following decades.

Second week of illegal strike closes Pasco schools, harming 17,000 children

September 8, 2015 in Blog

A Franklin County Judge today said he won't issue fines until at least Friday, even though he has issued an injuction against the Pasco Education Association (PEA) for its illegal strike against the Pasco School District. That strike has harmed 17,000 children and families in Pasco.

The PEA has shut down schools in the Pasco School District for more than a week now over demands for a more than 11% pay raise. That hike would be in addition to the 3% hike that was part of the most recent legislative budget.

State supreme court embarrasses Washington state by denying charter schools to low-income, minority and immigrant children

September 5, 2015 in Blog

Right before the start of the Labor Day weekend, the state supreme court, in a 6-3 decision, declared unconstitutional the voters’ charter school law, passed in 2012. With this decision, the court has denied public funding to the 1,300 children enrolled in Washington’s 9 charter schools, cancelled the opening of more charter schools, and hurt the children and families with the least political power and influence in our state. Washington Policy Center calls upon the Governor and other legislative leaders to make the technical fix required to restore public funding to charter schools.

Yakima boasts nation’s third highest “real” minimum wage; $15 Now wants more

September 2, 2015 in Blog

As voters in Tacoma and Spokane prepare to decide whether to increase their cities’ minimum wage, $15 Now has set the rural city of Yakima in its sights.

The union-backed movement plans a rally today in Yakima to launch their campaign to force employers in that city to pay all workers a $15 minimum wage.  The group, Working Washington, has called for Yakima's agricultural, fast food and other entry-level-wage workers to join them in demanding the same $15 wage as workers in Seatac and Spokane.

The Latest GAO Report Recommends More Federal Control of Medicaid

August 29, 2015 in Blog

Last month, the federal General Accounting Office (GAO) released its latest Medicaid report, which is detailed and relies on past reports for background.

Spokane union executives plan hurtful strike as 30,000 children head back to school

August 28, 2015 in Blog

Spokane teachers’ union executives today convinced union members to call a strike on September 4th if their demands for higher pay are not met. Their strike action would close school doors during the first week of school, just as 30,200 children are getting settled in the classroom.

The union demands are not yet clear, but they are likely seeking a raise on top of the 3% cost of living pay raise the state legislature has already approved for teachers. That increase was funded in the latest state budget.

Why are our public schools hit by strikes every year?

August 27, 2015 in Blog

As the days grow shorter and the nights grow cooler, families across Washington prepare for a yearly ritual, getting kids ready to go back to school.  And too many families have to prepare for a different ritual – when a union-led teacher strike hits their local school.

As predictably as the swallows returning to San Juan Capistrano, teacher strikes close schools in parts of Washington each year with depressing regularity.

State Supreme Court issues landmark public records ruling on text messages

August 27, 2015 in Blog

In a 9-0 decision this morning the state Supreme Court ruled that the text messages of government employees that relate to official business, even on their private phone, are public records. From the ruling