There’s a joke among policy researchers that if you can’t find the numbers to support your conclusion just make some up. 642 sounds nice. 432,396 looks impressive in many cases. How about 100 million? Now that’s a nice round number.
But it’s distressing when the invent-a-number game goes beyond humor and is used in the public debate over serious issues, like whether Initiative 1240 to allow charter schools would help struggling school children.
The official Voters Guide to Initiative 1240, the charter school initiative, is worrying some voters that passing this measure will lead to a tax increase. This is not an unreasonable fear, but the fact is that Initiative 1240 would not require a tax increase.
In light of the recent performance audit on Sound Transit by the State Auditor's Office, its a good time to review WPC's recommendation of making Sound Transit board of directors an elected body.
Do you know who runs Sound Transit?
Sound Transit officials spend about $1 million per day in public money, yet their leadership is not accountable to the public because they are not directly elected to their positions. They are appointed.
At her press conference this morning announcing state efforts to "breakdown the silos" between the state's dual eligible population for Medicaid and Medicare, Governor Gregoire said we need to move away from "Bureaucratic Centered Health Care" and instead focus our efforts on "Patient Centered Health Care." We couldn't agree more. In fact, that is the focus of a book written by WPC's Health Care Analyst Dr.
In January, the State Auditor's Office agreed to conduct a performance on a number of items related to Sound Transit. Part of the audit was based on a WPC request to reconcile some of the agency's ridership and financial forecasting issues.
The SAO just released the results of that audit. Here are the key findings:
Thankfully for the sanity of Americans across the country, Washington isn't a battle ground state for the Presidency that could determine the outcome of the Electoral College. One can only imagine the conspiracy theories and wall to wall coverage of TV talking heads exploding as vote results from Washington trickled in little by little, first days and then weeks after Election Day as the country anxiously waits to learn who the next President would be.
Last Monday night, over 1,600 people in Bellevue and Spokane attended Washington Policy Center’s annual dinner. At the dinner we gave our 2012 Champion of Freedom award to the four prime co-sponsors of last session's charter school bill: Representative Eric Pettigrew (D-Seattle), Representative Glenn Anderson (R-Fall City), Senator Rodney Tom (D-Bellevue) and Senator Steve Litzow (R-Mercer Island).
Governor Gregoire this morning opened a 2-day state conference on LEAN and the impact this tool is having in Washington. The Governor spoke to an overflow crowd of state employees (I was among those standing in the back) imploring them to help Washington cement LEAN in state practice.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently published an updated cost of ObamaCare over the next ten years. The cost estimate is now $1.76 trillion, up from the original $940 billion when the law was passed in 2010. Funding for this $1.76 trillion comes from two sources - a $716 billion cut to Medicare and $1.05 trillion in new taxes.
The proposed express toll lanes on I-405 will produce less revenue and lead to more traffic congestion than first thought, according to a state study. But WSDOT officials are moving forward despite the negative findings and before the study has even been published.
Earlier this year, the legislature authorized WSDOT officials to deviate from the original I-405 Master Plan and create an express toll corridor between Bellevue and Lynnwood. However, opponents were able to convince lawmakers to include a revenue study before construction could begin.
Tonight the Seattle School Board will decide on a resolution against Initiative 1240, the charter school measure, which polls show voters are likely to pass in November. Unfortunately, the Seattle School Board is likely to pass this resolution. This Board has shown an unwillingness to consider innovative changes to the way schools are run, and it strongly opposes any threat to its top-down, central power over the 93 schools in the district.
Today is World Food Day, a day designed to focus on reducing worldwide hunger and poverty. According to the United Nations, more than 800 million people worldwide are undernourished. While that number is tragically large, it is a dramatic improvement on where we might have been.