Washington Policy Blog

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. 

Local Two-Thirds Tax Limitation Working as Voters Intended

November 22, 2013 in Blog

When Spokane voters this year passed Proposition 2 – requiring a two-thirds vote of the city council or voter approval in order to raise taxes – opponents said the higher standard would make it impossible for to raise the revenue needed to run the city.  At the time, Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart said it would “kill government.”   A local left-wing newspaper columnist said it would

L&I Omits Key Fact in House Committee Work Session

November 22, 2013 in Blog

Yesterday the House Labor & Workforce Development Committee held a work session on our state’s workers’ compensation program.  Department of Labor & Industries’ (L&I) Director Joel Sacks gave an overview and update of the state-run monopoly system, explaining to lawmakers the current financial state of the system, how the reforms passed in 2011 are

Union leaders brag about Hawthorne Elementary, a school with charter-like independence

November 21, 2013 in Blog

Dennis Van Roekel, president of National Education Association union, visited Seattle’s Hawthorne Elementary School this week in recognition of the dramatic gains students have made since 2010, when Hawthorne become one of Seattle’s six Creative Approach schools.

PEMCO's Solar Roof Five Years Later: $346.87 Of Environmental Benefit

November 21, 2013 in Blog

Today is the fifth anniversary of something many drivers stuck in Seattle traffic have become familiar with: the PEMCO solar panel reader board.

Vague and Contradictory Data Make State's Climate Report a Policy Rorschach Test

November 18, 2013 in Blog

The state's Climate Legislative Executive Workgroup (CLEW) is examining policies designed to reduce the state's carbon emissions. The key tool in that process is supposed to be a report analyzing the effectiveness of those strategies. The report, however, provides very little useful information about what strategies are best.

Exempting transportation projects from sales tax finds some agreement in legislature

November 15, 2013 in Blog

According to the washingtonstatewire.com, Representative Judy Clibborn (D-41st), Chair of the House Transportation Committee, has said she would approve of exempting transportation projects from sales tax.

The state charges itself sales tax on transportation, and exemption could mean millions of dollars would cease being diverted into the general fund every year. There is still some opposition in the House, however.

One Day After WPC Conference on Right-to-Work, Lawmaker Calls for Right-to-Work Special Legislative Session

November 14, 2013 in Blog

One day after participating in Washington Policy Center’s back-to-back Solutions Summit statewide policy conferences discussing whether a “right-to-work” policy is right for Washington State, Senator Michael Baumgartner today called for Governor Inslee to convene a special session to make Washington a right-to-work state. 

Kreidler says Washington residents who like their health plans cannot keep their health plans

November 14, 2013 in Blog

The national policy announced by President Obama today that is intended to allow people who like their health care coverage to keep it will not be available to Washington state residents. The problem arose when the country learned in recent weeks that the President's oft-repeated pledge that, "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan. Period," is untrue.

Governor Inslee proposes sales-tax relief for private construction, while charging full state tax on public projects

November 11, 2013 in Blog

Governor Inslee last week announced his plan to improve the business climate for Boeing in an effort to keep 777x production in Washington State.  The governor convened a special session and called for lawmakers to pass a $10 billion transportation tax package. Lawmakers say the package would include an increase in gas taxes and increased license fees.

Will Lands Commissioner Goldmark Stand Up for His GMO Crops?

November 10, 2013 in Blog

Now that the GMO labeling debate has subsidized (it will assuredly return), it is time for many who support biotechnology, but were unwilling to say so during the campaign, to stand up for that technology. One person who was noticeably absent from the recent debate about biotechnology crops was Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark.

When he ran for office in 2008, Goldmark, a PhD molecular biologist, spoke frequently of his creation of a GMO strain of wheat. In his voters' pamphlet statement in both 2008 and 2012 he listed himself as a "wheat breeder/scientist."

No more ludicrous speed lawmaking

November 9, 2013 in Blog

Now that lawmakers have saved the state's Boeing "destiny for a generation" (pending a Wednesday vote by Boeing unions), let's hope we can get them to commit to abandoning future "ludicrous speed" lawmaking.

Inslee Proposal to Combine Cap-and-Trade and Low-Carbon Fuel Standard Is Costly and Ineffective

November 6, 2013 in Blog

When Governor Inslee signed the regional climate agreement last week, it included two policies he had already advocated publicly as part of the Climate Legislative Executive Workgroup (CLEW) process. It called for a cap-and-trade system and a low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS) which would require fuel to have less carbon per gallon than standard gasoline (among other things). Including both of these policies, however, makes it more expensive to reduce carbon emissions while doing nothing to increase those reductions.

Governor helps Boeing, but don’t school children deserve protection from union disputes too?

November 6, 2013 in Blog

Governor Inslee is clearly worried, as are many Washingtonians, about the power of union executives and their ability to disrupt our state’s aerospace sector. There is a very real danger that the threat of union action in the future could lead Boeing to locate 777x assembly in another state.