This year’s regular legislative session ends Sunday, and while lawmakers will send several dozen more bills to the governor for his signature, they have not reached an agreement on a budget to keep the government operating over the next two years. Remaining issues include transportation spending and basic education funding.
Legislative leaders now say they must go to a special session. Governor Inslee may call lawmakers back immediately, or wait for leader to complete behind-the-scenes negotiations first.
With discussions continuing of imposing the first in the nation capital gains tax for a state without an income tax, questions have been raised about whether this would be an excise tax or an income tax. This distinction is very important since an income tax exceeding 1% would be unconstitutional in Washington.
Tomorrow is Earth Day, and activists, politicians and the media will push for policies they say will reduce our environmental impact. Often, it is simply assumed these policies will work and the only question is whether we have the "will" to adopt them.
Actually, the environmental left has a terrible record when it comes to environmental predictions and effectiveness. Repeatedly, their policies fail or even increase environmental damage to our planet. Their policy announcements are applauded, but their policy failures are rarely highlighted.
Union executives in eight Washington public school districts have called for strikes starting this week in an effort to pressure lawmakers in Olympia to direct more money to increases in teacher pay and benefits. The call was affirmed by votes of union membership.
Three elected officials serving on Sound Transit’s Board recently penned an editorial in The Seattle Times calling for a $15 billion increase in regressive taxes to build more light rail. Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland, Everett City Councilmember Paul Roberts and Redmond Mayor John Marchione argue that building light rail is an effective way to reduce carbon emissions and improve mobility.
House and Senate budget writers met this week to work on a compromise spending plan for 2015-17. The Senate passed a no-new-taxes proposal that would spend about $37.8 billion, while the House-passed plan calls for $38.8 billion that would require nearly $1.5 billion in additional taxes, including a tax on capital gains and a tax increase on service businesses.
Activists across the state marched, rallied and protested yesterday in demand of a $15 minimum wage for all workers. The demonstrations were part of an effort coordinated by Working Washington in the “Fight for $15” campaign.
Liberal columnist Shawn Vestal of the Spokesman-Review doesn’t like Washington Policy Center providing the public with information about the Spokane trolley proposal, which is being presented to voters as part of Proposition 1 on the April 28th ballot. Spokane Transit Authority (STA) officials call the trolley the “centerpiece” of their plan.
Lawmakers rushed to pass hundreds of pieces of legislation ahead of today’s deadline for advancing most bills passed by the opposite chamber. Some 300 bills have passed both houses to date, and 60 measures have been sent to the governor for his signature.
Today's guest blog is from Dr. Kay Jones. Dr. Jones is a retired U.S. Public Health Service officer. He served as the senior advisor for air quality at the President’s Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) under the Ford and Carter administrations. He was responsible for initiating the national program to investigate the effects of acid rain.
Last week National Public Radio interviewed Jonathan Johnson, the founder of the Rooted School, a new charter school opening in New Orleans. Mr. Johnson’s high school program will prepare students for the 7,000 tech-sector jobs predicted to arrive in Louisiana. Mr. Johnson believes students need more options than college. The Rooted School will offer a small-school environment to prepare students for a technical career, in addition to getting ready for college.
Earlier this year the Seattle City Council passed Ordinance 124690, forcing the use of costly Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) and “Priority Hire” on public projects of $5 million or more. The new rule hurts the public interest because it inflates project costs; studies show PLAs artificially boost project costs by 12% to 18%. PLAs eliminate competitive bidding, pushing labor costs higher than normal market wages.
With just over two weeks to go in the scheduled legislative session, state lawmakers spent long hours this week voting on dozens of bills. Measures not related to the state budget must pass both chambers by next Wednesday to remain viable.
On Thursday, House members passed a proposed transportation budget for 2015-17 by a 78-19 vote. The measure, House Bill 1299, would spend $7.7 billion in existing revenues. It includes provisions to repave nearly 2,100 miles of state highways and repair up to 50 structurally deficient bridges.