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.
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.
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 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.
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 revenue would be split between Benton County and the cities of Kennewick, Richland, West Richland, and Prosser for law enforcement staffing increases and various public safety programs (such as gang prevention and intervention).
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.”
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.”
Just prior to the April 5th deadline for the governor to act on bills passed by the legislature in 2014, Governor Inslee vetoed HB 2789, which would have placed limits on the use of drones for law enforcement purposes, and HB 1260, which would have cut the number of public works projects subject to prevailing wage regulations in half.
The Seattle Timespublished an editorial Saturday urging voters in King County to reject Proposition 1, saying the transit agency has not kept past promises and is not “thoroughly confronting its well-documented unsustainably high operating costs.”
Voting for candidates for elected office is an important decision. Unfortunately at times there is little information available about candidates to help us make an informed decision. While county auditors and the Secretary of State produce voter pamphlets with information self-provided by those running for office, is the information actually truthful?
That’s where the new CandidateVerification.org in our state has the potential to bring clarity.
In a story on Seattle rent prices yesterday, the left-leaning Publicolaasserts that the “most interesting” data point from an analysis of Seattle’s rental-market is that, “The law of supply and demand is, it turns out, an actual thing." It seems the analysis shows that just as this most basic tenet of economics predicts, demand is inextricably linked to supply. The