Washington Policy Blog

State Commission votes to continue Seattle charter school for homeless families

June 24, 2015 in Blog

After months of suspense and threats of closure, members of the state Charter School Commission narrowly voted Thursday to allow First Place Scholars charter school, located in Seattle’s Central District, to continue operations.  The school serves some 75 low-income and homeless families, including a number of special needs children, who otherwise would have difficulty gaining access to a quality public education.

Talks on state transportation package shut down; pitting new taxes against funding for public projects

June 20, 2015 in Blog

According to House Transportation Committee Chair Judy Clibborn (D-Mercer Island), Democratic leaders have decided to halt work on a transportation package until state leaders agree on a state operating budget.  House leaders say they want to work on passing a new capital gains income tax, despite receiving $3.2 billion in new revenue under current tax rates.

Ocean Acidification Update from a Shellfish Grower on the Front Line

June 19, 2015 in Blog

Over the past year, there have been many claims about ocean acidification and the impact on oysters. Many of those claims have withered under scrutiny. Taylor Shellfish is on the front line of dealing with environmental issues facing oyster growers. They agreed to answer questions about the current state of science and what they are facing. What follows are their answers and do not reflect our views.

Seattle's Air Quality and Climate Change: Day 4

June 19, 2015 in Blog

The clouds moved in yesterday, but the high temperature was still about six degrees above average. Again, this correlates to the high end of the temperature projections for 2100 according to the IPCC.

Despite those temperatures, once again, air quality in the Puget Sound area was good:

Good news for charter school families

June 19, 2015 in Blog

As those who read my blog know, First Place Scholars Charter School in Seattle has long faced closure by the state Charter School Commission.  My blog from earlier this week goes into more detail on this.

Seattle's Air Quality and Climate Change: Day 3

June 18, 2015 in Blog

Yesterday was another warm, beautiful day in Seattle. The high temperature was seven degrees more than the average. This temperature is toward the highest end of projections from the IPCC for 2100. Again, if we expected to see air quality impacts due to rising temperatures, we might expect to see some evidence yesterday.

Here is the air quality chart for the Puget Sound area from yesterday afternoon:

Seattle's Air Quality and Climate Change: Day 2

June 17, 2015 in Blog

Yesterday, we noted that temperatures during the last two weeks have been significantly above average, about 11 degrees F during that period. One of the claims about rising temperatures associated with global warming is that air quality will worsen significantly, causing health and other problems.

We decided to share the actual air quality impact of these warm temperatures day by day to test the accuracy of these projections.

Temperatures cooled off a bit on June 16, but were still about three degrees above normal. That models to temperatures expected in about 2050.

State commission to consider closing Seattle charter school

June 16, 2015 in Blog

Members of the State Charter School Commission, created by voters in 2012 as part of Washington’s charter school law, plan to meet Thursday at 10:00 a.m. at South Seattle Community College to consider whether to close the state’s first charter school, First Place Scholars school for homeless children in Seattle. 

State continues to stress the lack of an income tax as a selling point for new business

June 16, 2015 in Blog

We previously highlighted how the state Department of Commerce has long used Washington’s lack of income or capital gains taxes as part of their marketing pitch to encourage businesses to come to Washington.  Apparently department officials still believe having no income tax is a strong selling point.  

Seattle's Air Quality and Climate Change

June 16, 2015 in Blog

Among the arguments made by those pushing a costly cap-and-trade carbon emissions policy is the claim that higher temperatures will bring big increases in air pollution. Both the Washington Environmental Council and Puget Sound Sage have recently used air pollution as a justification for pushing these polices.

Does the real world match their claims? We have a chance to test.

Don't forget the full context for proposed capital gains taxes in Washington

June 14, 2015 in Blog

I know I’ve already written about the proposed capital gains tax several times but I keep seeing the same phrasing used to discuss it without the context of what it would mean for the state in both legal and competitive purposes.

Governor Inslee signs $7.6 billion transportation budget; no pilot program for new per-mile tax

June 12, 2015 in Blog

Yesterday, Governor Inslee signed a two-year transportation budget into law. The $7.6 billion plan includes about $5 billion for the Washington State Department of Transportation over the next two years, $430 million for the Washington State Patrol, and dedicates about $1.5 billion to pay off Nickel and TPA bonds. The budget for the 2015-2017 biennium also funds other transportation-related offices and departments, like the Department of Licensing.

"Well this article sure brought out some emotions"

June 12, 2015 in Blog

Last Sunday The Seattle Times published an editorial I submitted detailing the hypocritical exemptions unions seek to the restrictive labor mandates they actively support.  In many cities, unionized employers are exempt from paying a higher minimum wage or providing paid sick leave.  

Four studies show Seattle’s dream of municipal broadband would be a nightmare

June 10, 2015 in Blog

Last month I reported on the push by Seattle Mayor Ed Murray to get the city in the Internet-provider business with municipal broadband.  In the effort to move Seattle one step closer to that dream of government-run broadband, Mayor Murray commissioned a study to determine the costs and feasibility of making Seattle the first big city in the nation to treat broadband Internet access as a public utility.

Pulling bill to repeal 1% property tax limit was the right call

June 10, 2015 in Blog

Rep. Larry Haler (R-Richland) made the right call in putting aside for now – by pulling it from consideration – a bill to repeal the 1% limit on regular property tax collections.  He says more information is needed about how the long-established limit effects the annual rise in local government revenue.