Washington Policy Blog

Tacoma school board members seek to bar children from charter schools

January 13, 2015 in Blog

The News Tribune reports members of the Tacoma school board say too many area families may try to send their children to local charter schools, so they want Olympia to make it illegal for educators to open more than two such schools in any district.

Revenue forecast reform proposed

January 13, 2015 in Blog

During a budget writing session there are three key dates to keep in mind: The March revenue forecast, June 1, and July 1.

It is after the March revenue forecast that budget discussions kick into high gear. June 1 is the date in law by which the budget for the next biennium is supposed to be enacted and July 1 is the beginning of the fiscal year for a new biennium (meaning no budget could mean a government shutdown).

Senate considers tax rule change

January 11, 2015 in Blog

The 2015 Legislative Session is set up to be on the most historic gatherings of lawmakers in Washington since the founding of the state. Not to disappoint, on the first day a potential fight over Senate rules may unfold. According to a press release:

A proposal to change the Senate’s voting rules to make it harder to raise taxes will be one of the first items of business when the Legislature convenes Monday.

2015 legislative session convenes on Monday, January 12th

January 9, 2015 in Blog

Court-mandated basic education funding will occupy center stage when the 64th Legislature convenes at noon Monday for what many observers see as one of the most important sessions in memory.

Top priorities include a voter-approved class size reduction measure and a comprehensive transportation package. Above all, a new two-year budget will dominate the 105-day regular session, with possibly special sessions to follow.

WPC's Solutions Summit attracts 600 attendees statewide

January 7, 2015 in Blog

This year's statewide Solutions Summit drew 600 attendees to Washington Policy Center's policy conference events held in Kennewick and Bellevue.

In Kennewick, WPC honored retiring Congressman Doc Hastings during the opening breakfast and featured Idaho Governor Butch Otter for the keynote luncheon. In his remarks, Governor Otter praised WPC "...the work that [Washington Policy Center] does, the research you do, the information you put out arms us as well as we can be armed and should be armed.”

Respected former Democratic senator recommends review of “basic education” definition

January 5, 2015 in Blog

Over the holidays, respected former state senator Jim Kastama (D-Puyallup), who served from 1996 to 2012, wrote in The Seattle Times about being misled when he voted for ESHB 2261, the hugely complex bill that redefined “basic education” and called for massive increases in funding, but included no significant reforms in the way education services are delivered.

Sound Transit receives negative financial outlook from S&P

January 3, 2015 in Blog

According to new information released by The Bond Buyer, Standard and Poors has revised Sound Transit’s outlook from stable to negative.

Governor Inslee wants to raise taxes by $560 per household in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties, then give some families a $223 “tax rebate”

January 2, 2015 in Blog

The Seattle Times reports today that Governor Inslee has proposed giving $223, or 61 cents a day, in tax rebates to low-income families in recognition of the higher tax burden his administration plans to impose on the people of Washington.  The news comes after Governor Inslee said he wants to raise taxes by $1.4 billion in 2015-17, after making the decision to break his promise not to raise taxes.  Lawmakers will consider the governor’s tax increase proposal starting January 12th.

National union boss says Right-to-Work helps unions

December 19, 2014 in Blog

Bucking the conventional union argument that right-to-work laws are union-busting, the Secretary-Treasurer of the United Auto Workers says right-to-work laws are good.  In fact, the national labor boss says he actually prefers to organize in a right-to-work state because it helps unions:

“This is something I’ve never understood, that people think right-to-work hurts unions…to me, it helps them.”

State Treasurer’s Office has concerns over Governor’s transportation proposal

December 19, 2014 in Blog

This week, Governor Inslee announced he wants to raise taxes to spend more on education and transportation, and to give pay raises to state employees. On Tuesday, the Governor announced his $12 billion transportation spending plan, saying he wants to impose a $4.8 billion cap and trade scheme, take on $3.1 billion in new debt, and impose $2.9 billion in “other fees” on people.

Earlier this week we learned that Governor Inslee proposed his new tax plan without consulting the State Treasurer first.

Spokane Transit to ask voters to increase sales tax to 9.0% for electric trolley

December 18, 2014 in Blog

The Spokane Transit Authority board today decided to ask voters to approve a 0.3% increase in the local sales tax to fund an electric trolley line and other service additions. Such an increase would take the sales tax rate in most of the Spokane area to 9.0% -  one of the highest figures in the state.

Vermont Governor Gives Up On Single-Payer Health Care System

December 18, 2014 in Blog

Yesterday, Governor Peter Shumlin announced he would not seak a single-payer health care system for Vermont. This is a huge shift in policy for the governor who has campaigned for a single-payer system for years. He barely won re-election last month, defeating a relatively unknown Republican candidate.

New Study Shows Minimum Wage Hike Killed 1.4 Million Jobs for Low-Skilled Workers

December 18, 2014 in Blog

A National Bureau of Economic Research study released late last month by economists with the University of California at San Diego found that mandatory increases in the federal minimum wage between 2007 and 2009 had “significant, negative effects on the employment and income growth of targeted workers.”  The study shows hikes in the federal minimum wage during the Great Recession led to the loss of approximately 1.4 million jobs held

Gov. Inslee's 2015-17 budget: Where "extremely volatile" and "unpredictable" become "secure" and "stable"

December 18, 2014 in Blog

Today Gov. Inslee released his 2015-17 budget and tax plan. After reviewing his balance sheet it has become clear that I need to update the dictionary I have been using to decipher budget terms. Earlier this week the Governor said: