The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently released its latest estimates on the projected cost of the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare. (Available at www.cbo.gov) The CBO's original ten year estimate in 2010 was $940 billion. Its latest estimate is for the next four years (until 2019) and at $571 billion is evidently 20 percent lower than the original budget for that period.
Governor Jay Inslee says state workers have not had a pay raise in six years. He is referring, however, to only one kind of pay raise, a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). Actually, nearly all state employees have received pay raises over the years, as automatic step increases and normal promotions, though not a formal COLA. By narrowly parsing his words, Governor Inslee is giving the public the impression that state workers have had no pay raise at all for six years.
This morning the Senate Law & Justice Committee held a public hearing on SJR 8205: Amending the state Constitution so that justices of the supreme court are elected by qualified electors of a supreme court judicial district.
Tuesday’s public hearing on HB 1314 before the House Environment Committee, Governor Inslee’ sweeping cap-and-trade tax proposal, drew overflow crowds as hundreds of supporters and opponents packed the main hearing room and three overflow rooms, where the crowd could follow the proceedings on TV.
After taking testimony from about three dozen people, the hearing was adjourned. The meeting will be continued on Thursday, January 29 starting at 8:00 am in House Hearing Room B, John L O’Brien Building, Olympia.
In a meeting with editorial writers last week, Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo critiqued the role of powerful teachers unions in our public education system. He said teachers unions represent themselves, not students.
Yesterday, Indiana Governor Mike Pence announced a three-year waiver from the federal government to expand Medicaid in his state. (Here) Indiana is the 27th state to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare. The program is called Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0 and is a continuation of the one-year plan initiated by Governor Mitch Daniels in 2007.
Today The Seattle Times printed an excellent editorial on the minimum wage debate by former Starbucks president, and WPC supporter, Howard Behar. The editorial offers some common sense perspective from a respected business leader, and admitted “pragmatic progressive,” on the controversial and often polarizing issue.
The Wall Street Journal published an outstanding editorial on the consequences of following in Europe’s footsteps by mandating unsustainably high wages for entry-level jobs. The editorial concludes America is “becoming more like Europe, with an economy unwelcoming to the unskilled and unprivileged trying to find an entry into the world of work.”
I’ve included the entire editorial below, but here is the CliffsNotes version:
A column in the February issue of Forbes magazine on the minimum wage features the panelists from WPC’s small business panel at the recent WPC Solutions Summit. Noting that Seattle is “ground zero” in the minimum wage war, the column, “The Real Minimum Wage: Zero,” details the compelling remarks of two of the panelists—former Starbucks president Howard Behar and small business owner Taylor Hoang—in response to Seattle’s $15 minimum wage:
The House Labor Committee is considering paid sick leave and paid vacation bills. Let’s examine the costs these mandates would impose on the non-union businesses that would be required to provide them.
HB 1356 would require employers with 5 or more employees to pay employees for 5, 7 or 9 days of sick leave per year, depending on the size of the company.
What do bills mandating paid sick leave (HB 1356), paid vacation (HB 1163) and triple pay for employees who work on Thanksgiving Day (HB 1694) have in common? Besides increasing the costs for employers, all three bills exempt workers from these benefits if they are a union member.
Although the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, did not include a "public option" health insurance plan, it did provide for federally-funded new companies to compete with existing carriers. These CO-OPs, or Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans, were originally slated to receive $6 billion dollars of taxpayer loans at very favorable interest rates.
The labor-backed group Envision Spokane is reportedly working on a “Worker Bill of Rights” for the City of Spokane. Founded by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, Envision Spokane is comprised of more than two-dozen unions, community organizations and groups with ties to national organizations.