Washington Policy Blog

U.S. Sen. Murray/Rep. Ryan want Congress to reform the way the federal budget and policy are adopted

December 10, 2014 in Blog

It's not often you see Democrats and Republicans in Congress agree on much let alone reforms to the way the federal budget and policy are adopted. This is what makes the bipartisan introduction of the Evidence-Based Policymaking Commission Act by U.S. Sen. Patty Murray of Washington (D) and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin (R) so exciting. Sen.

Remy Trupin leaving Budget and Policy Center

December 9, 2014 in Blog

Tiffany Turner, President of the Board at the left-leaning Washington State Budget and Policy Center announced today the departure of their long-serving and founding director, Remy Trupin.  He will stay on during a transition period as the organization brings in new leadership.

We at Washington Policy Center always enjoy debating the issues and crunching the numbers, although from a different perspective, with our friends on the progressive side, all in the search for good policy ideas that serve the people of our state.

King County Officials Cancel Proposed Fee Increase on Wireless Services

December 8, 2014 in Blog

In October, I wrote about King County officials’ proposal to dramatically increase the Right of Way (ROW) use fee they charged to wireless phone providers.  In their proposed 2015-16 county budget, some County officials wanted to increase the fee from the current $2,000 to $5,000 to a staggering $10,000, with a 4% automatic increase every year.  The fee is ultimately paid by cell phone customers in the form of higher service prices.

Will Gov. Inslee propose tax increases to provide government pay raises?

December 5, 2014 in Blog

Based on the announcement today by the Office of Financial Management that the secretly negotiated state employee contract agreements have been deemed financially feasible we can assume one of two things:

Does Washington rank 41st, 30th, 22nd or 6th in education? It depends on how you count

December 4, 2014 in Blog

As lawmakers prepare for the upcoming legislative session in Olympia, there is a lot of debate about where our state ranks in education spending.  As an analyst, I know this all depends on what metric a lawmaker uses, and the metric chosen often depends on whether the lawmaker wants to increase taxes.  A poor ranking makes it appear that more spending and a heavier tax burden are urgently needed.

Part 3: Why L&I’s “Lower Than First Proposed” .8% Workers’ Comp Tax Increase Is Not a Great Deal for Employers or Workers

December 3, 2014 in Blog

While the seemingly “modest” or “measured” .8% increase in workers’ compensation taxes for 2015 appear unremarkable and have garnered little criticism, our neighbors to the south continue to enjoy significant rate decreases.

Part 2: Why L&I’s “Lower Than First Proposed” .8% Workers’ Comp Tax Increase Is Not a Great Deal for Employers or Workers

December 3, 2014 in Blog

After announcing an average workers’ compensation tax increase for 2015 that is less than originally proposed, the state Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) is making sure the business community and media know how much employers and workers will save.   

Why L&I’s “Lower Than First Proposed” .8% Workers’ Comp Tax Increase Is No Great Deal for Employers or Workers

December 3, 2014 in Blog

Last week the state Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) announced the average rate increase for workers’ compensation taxes in 2015 would be .8%, a full percentage point less than the 1.8% increase the agency first proposed this fall.  L&I says this lower tax rate will allow employers and workers to “keep about $20 million in their pocketbooks—money they would have paid into the syst

Washington State Oyster Harvests Rising Despite Claims of Acidification

December 3, 2014 in Blog

Last year was a banner year for oyster aquaculture in Washington state waters.

According to data from the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, the harvest of shelled oysters rose dramatically last year, more than double the amount from 2012, and 78 percent higher than the previous high in 2005.

Senate should put voter-approved tax restrictions into its rules

December 2, 2014 in Blog

Now that the 2014 election has been certified we know the official make up of the Legislature. Based on the responses to our supermajority for taxes legislative survey, we also know that the members of the Majority Coalition Caucus (MCC) in the Senate support allowing the voters to consider a constitutional amendment to put the five-time voter approved policy into the Constitution.

Even Obamacare Supporters Now Believe It Was Wrong

December 1, 2014 in Blog

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has had a position of leadership in the Democratic caucus for years. He has been one of the most outspoken supporters of Obamacare since the Congressional debate in 2009.

However, in an address to the National Press Club last week (audio available here), he admitted that: "Unfortunately, Democrats blew the opportunity the American people gave them (in the 2008 election). We took their mandate and put all of our focus on the wrong problem: health care reform."

King County Council drops threats to neighborhood bus service, votes to adopt Washington Policy Center’s money-saving recommendations

November 24, 2014 in Blog

Seattle leaders now have the money to drop regressive tax increases

Last week, the King County Council voted to preserve 95% of Metro bus service without raising taxes. The council’s action will likely comfort those who stood to lose most from tax increases and threatened bus cuts: the public, bus riders, and especially, low-income families and the disabled. Earlier this year King County officials threatened to cut 17% of bus service if voters did not raise regressive tax increases on the April ballot.

Net Neutrality: Why It Will Result in New Taxes, Why Americans Oppose It and Why It Isn't Needed

November 21, 2014 in Blog

President Obama has announced his support for regulating the Internet, also known as  “net neutrality,” and is asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to apply the “strongest possible rules” on Internet service providers.  The President's “net neutrality” would regulate Internet providers as public utility companies, under the same law that regulates telephone companies.