Washington Policy Blog

Washington Policy Center's statement on the defeat of King County Metro's Proposition 1

April 23, 2014 in Blog

Failure of the measure does not mean people want bus service cuts

Contact: Lisa Shin
(206) 937-9691
lshin [at] washingtonpolicy [dot] org

Seattle – Yesterday the people of King County soundly rejected increasing regressive taxes to provide more money to Metro transit, but that does not mean they want to cut bus services in local communities, as County leaders are threatening. 

Yes or No on King County’s Proposition 1, the public does not want bus cuts

April 22, 2014 in Blog

For several months now, King County Executive Dow Constantine, Councilmember Larry Phillips and other county leaders have told the public they will cut neighborhood bus routes if they do not receive more revenue from regressive taxes. King County officials say that without the new regressive taxes, they plan to cut 550,000 hours of bus service in many neighborhoods. Their planned cuts would fall hardest in many low-income neighborhoods across the county.

Labor dispute may cost state $17 million; the earliest the tunneling machine could be fixed is March 2015

April 22, 2014 in Blog

According to Crosscut, the state may be on the hook for $17.6 million due to the labor dispute  that shut the tunnel project down for about a month. Last year, the contractor (Seattle Tunnel Partners) and the union argued over four dirt hauling jobs that resulted in picket lines even though the Project Labor Agreement assured there would be no labor unrest.

On Earth Day, Seattle Prioritizes Political Results Over Environmental Effectiveness

April 22, 2014 in Blog

Today is Earth Day and Crosscut has our piece highlighting the free-market approach to environmental policy. You can also hear my short interview on KUOW about the conservative approach to environmental policy.

Latest McCleary order may be repeating the failures of the 1970s Doran decision

April 21, 2014 in Blog

In January, the state Supreme Court handed down a new order in the 2012 McCleary case that reads almost like a line-by-line budget, as I wrote here. This 2014 order represents a significant shift in approach compared with the court’s original McCleary decision, which held that the Legislature had not fully funded education.

Audit requested by WPC on Columbia River Crossing project released by Auditor’s Office

April 18, 2014 in Blog

The State Auditor’s Office released the results from a WPC-requested audit on the Columbia River Crossing project a few days ago.

Economic Outlook for Washington Continues to Slide

April 18, 2014 in Blog

A new report ranking the economic competitiveness in the 50 states shows that while Washington’s economic performance over the past ten years (2002-2012) has been better than most states, the future looks grim.  

Do As We Say, Not as We Do

April 17, 2014 in Blog

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz recently warned an increase in the minimum wage could result in a reduction in the company’s famously generous employee benefits.  Schultz argues minimum wages should take into consideration the “total compensation” an employee receives, which in the case of Starbucks employees includes full health coverage, free food, bus passes, 401K, education assistance, stock rewards, bonuses and more—even for part-time workers.

Seattle Employers Warn $15 Minimum Wage Will Come With a Hefty Price Tag

April 16, 2014 in Blog

A recent survey of employers by the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce reveals what decades of research has already established—increasing the minimum wage comes with a cost.

King County Proposition 1’s regressive tax increases may fund stalled union contract

April 16, 2014 in Blog

King County Metro Transit officials may use new revenue from regressive sales and car taxes enacted under April 22nd’s Proposition 1 to provide money to speed negotiations over a stalled three-year union contract.

King County Metro officials confirm windfall tax revenues; plan to impose 92% of planned service cuts

April 15, 2014 in Blog

King County Metro officials reported on the  $30 million windfall in sales tax revenues they are receiving this year.  Speaking at a committee briefing for members of the King County Council this afternoon, Dwight Dively, Director of the Office of Performance, Strategy, and Budget, called the unexpected new money “...really good news.”  But it may not be good news to Metro riders.

Public safety sales tax increase on ballot in Benton County

April 14, 2014 in Blog

In August voters in Benton County will consider Proposition 14-5 and whether to increase the local sales tax rate by 0.3% raising approximately $9 million per year for public safety spending. The tax increase would sunset on December 31, 2024. The proposal would increase the total sales tax paid by a family at the county’s median income ($64,898) by $87 a year, or $7.25 a month.

Exaggerating the evidence on class size

April 11, 2014 in Blog

On Wednesday, Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn announced support for the teacher union's new class size reduction initiative, I-1351. The union hopes to gather enough signatures to put this initiative before the voters this November. Superintendent Dorn said:

“Reducing class sizes is key to improving student learning, particularly with at-risk students. That, in turn, will improve graduation rates.” 

King County Metro officials reduce some planned bus route cuts but voters won't know which routes are affected unless Prop 1 fails

April 10, 2014 in Blog

Washington Policy Center broke news in mid-March about Metro’s record-breaking revenues and future revenue windfalls. Metro officials soon followed up by releasing their new plans to reduce some of their planned bus cuts, saying that “improved sales tax will allow Metro to reduce the proposed package of cuts. Transit planners are finalizing the revised list of reductions.”

Councilmember makes misleading statement on Metro's tax revenue

April 8, 2014 in Blog

Last week, in urging the public to accept his proposed increases in regressive sales tax and car fees, Councilmember Phillips said:

"The sales revenues that support our transit system are less now than five years ago."

This carefully-worded statement is misleading to the public in two ways. First, Councilmember Phillips qualifies his statement in order to hide Metro's revenue windfalls this year and beyond.