Washington Policy Blog

Gov. Inslee's Three Reasons to Support Cap-and-Trade: Politics, Politics and Politics

April 4, 2014 in Blog

Earlier this week, Governor Inslee, speaking at the University of Washington, explained his support for imposing a cap-and-trade system in Washington state to reduce carbon emissions.

Cap-and-trade, the system used by Europeans and others as part of the Kyoto Protocol, has two key elements. First, it sets a total cap on the amount of carbon emissions allowed, typically over the course of a year, by covered entities in the state. Second, covered entities are allowed to buy and trade permits to emit carbon.

Hundreds Attend Spirited WPC Minimum Wage Debate in Seattle

April 3, 2014 in Blog

Last night hundreds of students, business owners and engaged citizens gathered at the University of Washington campus in Seattle to learn more about the arguments for and arguments against increasing the minimum wage.

The WPC-sponsored event, “The Minimum Wage Debate,” was moderated by award-winning political journalist Robert Mak and included pro and con panels comprised of economists, lawmakers, policy analysts and a Seattle small business owner.  The panelists discussed the impacts of minimum wage hikes at the local, state and national level.

Proposition 1 taxes - money for roads might not go to roads

April 3, 2014 in Blog

King County officials say that if they don’t receive new tax revenue from the public, they plan to cut Metro bus service by 17%, close bridges and let public roads turn to gravel.

County officials say they want to use 60% of Proposition 1’s tax money to save current bus service from the cuts they are proposing, and will devote the remaining 40% to road projects that serve the traveling public.

Join us at UW this evening or watch live online!

April 2, 2014 in Blog

Tonight Washington Policy Center, along with its Young Professionals group and WPC Young Professionals @UW club, will host the first of two statewide debates in Kane Hall at the University of Washington on the Minimum Wage. 

The debate will largely focus on how an increase in the minimum wage will affect young people, particularly college students, recent graduates and young professionals.

Public school administrator blames voters for public school failures

April 2, 2014 in Blog

Bill Keim, Executive Director of the Washington Association of School Administrators (WASA), blames the people of Washington for the failures of public schools that are run by the members of his Association (“It’s time for voters to get serious about school funding,The Seattle Times’ Education Lab).

A Step Forward for Environmental Accountability

April 2, 2014 in Blog

A tax break for a natural gas plant in Tacoma offers a nice step forward for a bipartisan approach to environmental accountability and effectiveness.

One of the primary failures of Washington's environmental approach is that politicians choose policies that make them look good but do little to ensure those policies actually work. For example:

What Do the Obamacare Sign-up Numbers Really Mean?

April 2, 2014 in Blog

The final (sort of) numbers are out and the Obamacare supporters are doing the Happy Dance. The "official" enrollment number for the health insurance exchanges is 7.1 million people, which has been the goal since enrollment began on 10/1/13. The "sort of" comes from the fact that the Obama Administration has allowed an extention for people experiencing "hardships" in signing up. These hardships are self-reported, so essentially the Administration has extended the open enrollment period indefinitely.

News Story on Oso Landslide Quotes Geologist Who Thinks Firebombers Are "Eco-Patriots"

April 1, 2014 in Blog

Yesterday, The Seattle Times published a story on a nine-years old timber harvest that Times reporters believe may be linked to the tragic landslide in Oso. The article, "State used outdated data to allow logging on slope," argues that part of that harvest was in an area that had previously been restricted.

The story notes there could be several factors contributing to the slide:

Citizen’s Guide to Proposition 1

April 1, 2014 in Blog

Washington Policy Center just released our Citizen’s Guide to Proposition 1. Key Findings and a link to the study follow:

Key Findings

Where is the 2012-13 School Achievement Index?

March 31, 2014 in Blog

It is March 31st and the Washington State Board of Education has still not released the School Achievement Index for 2012-13.

This is unusual.  The State Board of Education usually releases the new Index to parents and the general public early in the year, normally near the end of January.  Now the Index is two months late.

Bill Improving State’s Wireless Telecommunications Signed by Governor

March 31, 2014 in Blog

This session the Legislature passed HB 2175, which is an important first step in improving Washington’s wireless telecommunications competitiveness.  The bill was signed by the Governor on March 28.

Superintendent Randy Dorn says McCleary ruling requires $7.5 billion in higher taxes, but no school reform

March 27, 2014 in Blog

The Issue

On March 18th, Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn sent out a statement disputing Washington Policy Center’s analysis of the 2012 Supreme Court McCleary v. State of Washington decision.

Oversight of the Office of Insurance Commissioner

March 27, 2014 in Blog

It's been said there are two things you never want to see being made - sausage and legislation. In many cases, proposed legislation morphs into a totally different bill when finally passed. Fortunately, this was not exactly the situation with SB 6458.

KVI reports on Metro’s windfall tax revenues

March 26, 2014 in Blog

KVI radio’s John Carlson reported last week on my recent study on the windfall tax revenues Metro received last year and is receiving this year.  In 2013, Metro officials collected $443 million from the public, the highest level ever.  In 2014, Metro officials expect to collect even more, $471 million, a $32 million windfall above estimates.

$43.5 million left to pay for imploded Kingdome

March 26, 2014 in Blog

14 years ago today this was the scene in downtown Seattle as the Kingdome was brought to its knees:

Since then the Seahawks have made 2 Super Bowl appearances, winning one, and taxpayers have paid nearly $135 million to retire debt on the imploded Kingdome ($25.8 million for original construction and $109 million for repairs has been paid for debt service since 2001 to date).