Washington Policy Blog

Kirkland Staff Report Advocating Plastic Bag Ban Cites Social Media as Scientific Source

December 7, 2013 in Blog

Last month, Kirkland City staff released a report advocating a ban on plastic grocery bags, arguing "single-use plastic bags have proven to be detrimental to our environment and a drain on our non-renewable natural resources." The report argues a ban achieves the greatest balance of business, environmental and public benefits.

Two Superintendents receive top salaries, and complain about money

December 6, 2013 in Blog

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, while the rest of us were giving thanks, two Tacoma-area two school superintendents, Patti Banks of University Place and Frank Hewins of the Franklin Pierce School Districts, were complaining that taxpayers were not giving them enough money.  Their editorial complains they can't adequately educate the children entrusted to them because Tacoma-area families don't pay enough in taxes, compared to people in Seattle, which they say give school officials

Another $15 Minimum Wage Battle Headed for the Ballot?

December 5, 2013 in Blog

The City of Seattle is giving every indication it plans to follow the City of SeaTac’s footsteps and increase the minimum wage for at least some workers in the City to a whopping $15 per hour.  

Other transit agencies add hours without new taxes; King County Metro keeps plan to cut

December 5, 2013 in Blog

Both Pierce Transit and Community Transit plan to add service hours without raising taxes. Community Transit is adding 2,500 new hours without new taxes, living within their means. However, the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus (MCC) proposal to give Community Transit higher tax authority is still on the table.

Follow up to previous blog: Commissioner Kreidler and the problems with Obamacare implementation in Washington state

December 4, 2013 in Blog

Having received several responses to the previous blog posted by Paul Guppy, Vice President for Research, one Washington resident wanted to share his personal story.

Commissioner Kreidler and the Problems with Obamacare Implementation in Washington State

December 4, 2013 in Blog

Washington state insurance commissioner Mike Kreidler is testifying before Congress today in praise of the implementation of the Obamacare law in our state.  In his comments, however, he is unlikely to provide much detail about the hurtful disruption the law and his tough-minded regulatory actions are causing Washington families.

Obamacare Rollout in Washington State

December 4, 2013 in Blog

Washington state has been very pro-active about implementing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare. Washington is one of only 15 states to establish a state health insurance exchange. The other 35 states plan to use the federal exchange, which has been plagued by glitches and major problems. Medicaid expansion is a huge part of Obamacare and will be administered through the state exchange. The legislature never took a formal vote on the Medicaid expansion.

Bees, T-Shirts and Corn: Three Items on GMOs

December 1, 2013 in Blog

Last month, voters in Washington state rejected labeling biotechnology crops, known as "genetically modified organisms" or GMOs. The issue, however, isn't going away. Here are three bits of GMO news and information since the labelling initiative was turned down.

Bees and Bt Corn

As a beekeeper, I ran across this one in my winter reading.

Sound Transit’s third quarter ridership report ignores promises

November 27, 2013 in Blog

Sound Transit’s Q3 ridership report highlights Central Link’s performance. The light rail line experienced 10% growth in ridership both in the quarter and year-to-date.

New study describes how digital learning tools improve learning for children

November 27, 2013 in Blog

Yesterday Washington Policy Center released a new paper, "Review of Digital Learning in Private Schools and Public Charter Schools." This paper reviews 6 case studies of schools using new digital learning tools to ease teaching burdens, improve the management of school budgets, and most importantly, improve learning for students.  

2014 supplemental budget will need to keep state spending limit in mind

November 26, 2013 in Blog

After going through multiple special sessions to adopt the state's 2013-15 budget, the last thing lawmakers will want to do is fight about a 2014 supplemental budget. State agencies, however, have already submitted their 2014 supplemental budget wish list requesting a combined increase in spending of $895 million and 806 new FTEs.

Union demands threaten cuts to Seattle day care services for children

November 26, 2013 in Blog

Last week, in “Union directive a snag to universal preschool,” The Seattle Times reported that unions are using a City of Seattle daycare program to boost their dues-paying membership.  Outgoing Mayor Mike McGinn is requiring day care providers to give SEIU union organizers personal information about employees who work with children, including employee names and addresses. 

New AAA report out; but what's the real price of gas?

November 25, 2013 in Blog

Data just released from AAA reveals that Washington State’s gas prices are averaging $3.31 per gallon. Yet that’s not the real price. The real price of a gallon of gas at the pump is $2.75; the remaining 55.9¢ is the tax collector’s share, a 20% tax rate at the current price.

Consumers have a right to know exactly what they are paying in taxes. Utah, for example, posts the federal and state gas taxes on a sticker at the pump. It should also be a separate line item on the receipt.

Informative article about charter schools

November 25, 2013 in Blog

Donna Blankenship has a good article describing the parent and community-based groups that are working to expand education opportunities for children by opening a charter school in Washington. You can read the article here.

More Misinformation from L&I

November 25, 2013 in Blog

Last week representatives of the business community received a copy of the Department of Labor & Industries’ (L&I) snapshot comparison of workers’ compensation benefits and employer costs in Washington and five other aerospace states.  The L&I chart was presented in a legislative task force meeting on Boeing’s 777x.