In a press conference Monday afternoon, state Senate leaders from both parties released the Senate’s proposed 2014 supplemental to the 2013-15 budget. The legislature generally writes a supplemental budget in the second year of a budget cycle to make adjustments for changing conditions, such as fluctuations in state services and revenue projections.
Today, the King County Council moved towards putting new taxes on the ballot. On April 22, 2014, King County voters may vote on a costly plan to impose a $60 annual car tab fee and a .1% sales tax increase on drivers and consumers. Both of the new taxes would sunset after 10 years. According to Crosscut, King County has nearly 2 weeks to get the measure on the ballot. However, if state lawmakers approve of new local taxes for transit, the King County Council would meet to discuss eliminating both taxes.
The Majority Coalition Caucus (MCC) in the Senate recently unveiled a new transportation proposal that would spend $12.4 billion on roads, ferries, and other modes of transportation over the next 12 years. This is in addition to the $8.7 billion per biennium the state currently spends on these public services.
The proposal would impose an 11.5-cents per gallon gas tax hike (a 30% increase in the current state tax), higher yearly car tab fees, new taxes on trucks, higher car registration fees, and other new fees on drivers.
When the state House of Representatives adjourned Monday night—actually at 12:32 a.m. Tuesday, February 18th, lawmakers had passed over a hundred bills that day. The Senate, which adjourned at 11:38 p.m. Monday evening, passed thirty-nine measures. The fast pace continued until Tuesday’s 5:00 p.m. deadline for acting on non-budget related bills in the house of origin.
Advocates of increasing the minimum wage routinely claim that doing so will stimulate the economy, encourage growth and create jobs. Ignoring the basic economic law of demand, which dictates that when the cost of something goes up, demand correspondingly goes down, these supporters instead argue that when workers earn more money they spend more money, which in turn benefits employers. Everyone wins.
Of course, the only ones who really win are the workers who have a job; those who don’t will have a harder time finding one.
Imagine a friend telling you his goal in life was to end all jaywalking. You might wonder if there wasn’t something more important he could do with his life.
Now imagine someone telling you he is working to save the planet from imminent destruction – for people, for wildlife, for future generations. Suddenly, they seem more righteous, more important. Environmentalists seem to believe, like Jebediah Springfield, that tackling a potential catastrophe "embiggens the smallest man."
State lawmakers are passing dozens of bills in their respective chambers before the deadline for acting on policy bills in the house of origin arrives on Tuesday, February 18h. Most of these are non-contentious issues and are passing by large majorities.
As we approach the February 18 House of Origin cutoff, bills are starting to fly off the floor of the House and the Senate. Two pension reform bills in the Senate could soon be among those moving. SB 5851 and SB 6305 are both currently on the floor.
Today, February 11th is the 30th day or halfway point in this year’s 60-day legislative session. The deadline for committee action on policy bills in the house of origin hit Friday, February 7th, and the next deadline is Tuesday, February 18th, the last day each house can act on its own policy bills.
During this Legislative Session, lawmakers in the House of Representatives considered two bills that would require employers to offer paid leave to workers.
HB 1313 would require employers with 5 or more employees to pay employees for 5, 7 or 9 days of sick leave per year, depending on the size of the company. This bill passed the House and will now be considered by the Senate.
With policy cutoff behind us the list of living and walking dead bills (nothing is really dead till sine die) is being compiled. Among the proposals that didn't even receive a hearing, however, is a bill based on WPC's recommendation for the Legislature to truly provide Washingtonians the opportunity to participate in the legislative debate while also ensuring lawmakers live by the same open government rules the rest of the state's public officials operate under.
In floor action on Wednesday, the House passed HB 2148, to require insurers who offer maternity coverage to also cover elective abortions, by a mostly party-line vote of 54-44, with one Republican voting for it, and two Democrats voting against. To see who voted “Yes” and who voted “No,” go to www.washingtonvotes.org and type in the bill number. The bill next goes to the Senate, but observers say chances for further action on the bill are slim.