Washington Policy Blog

State ban means Washington students lose out as Oprah hands out $6 million for charter schools

September 22, 2010 in Blog

On Monday's show, Oprah joined the nationwide movement to increase the number of spaces available to students seeking to attend charter schools.  Oprah said "I value nothing more than education.  It is the reason why I stand here today.  Education is the open door to freedom.

Two new reports draw attention to true cost of regulatory compliance

September 21, 2010 in Blog

Earlier this month, Washington Policy Center issued a report on recommendations to improve the state's Regulatory Fairness Act.  This act, over two decades old, was an attempt by policymakers to help ease the regulatory burden on small businesses, which pay a disproportiately higher cost for complying.  In many instances the regulations in place serve no purpose or are not audited, so

When do we get to see the secret agreement the Seattle School District has reached with its teachers?

September 16, 2010 in Blog

House Speaker Frank Chopp, D-Seattle, and Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, D-Spokane, today said: “The fact is, the current budget situation clearly demonstrates that state government must be rescaled to fit the new fiscal reality.”

The same is true for the Seattle School District.

On September 1st, the District reached a closed-door agreement with its teachers union.  The teachers ratified the agreement September 2, but it has not yet been made public.

Attorney General weighs in on minimum wage rate increase debate

September 16, 2010 in Blog

Since the late 1990s, Washington's minimum wage has gone up each year because voters in 1998 passed Initiative 688, which pegs the minimum wage to the Consumer Price Index (CPI-W). From August 2008 until August 2009, because of the recession, there was no inflation (the technical term is that we experienced a deflationary period). As a result, the 2010 minimum wage stayed the same as 2009's.

Schools don't need more public school employees--they need principals like Ben Chavis

September 16, 2010 in Blog

John Stossel's excellent piece yesterday, "Money is not what schools need," cites CATO education expert, Andrew Coulson, who shows that over the past 40 years schools across the nation have been hiring personnel at nearly ten times the rate of student enrollment.  

Other shoe drops: Revenue forecast down $1.4 billion

September 16, 2010 in Blog

After today's shocking revenue forecast, budget reform is coming one way or another. While all indications pointed to bad news, few could have predicted that state revenue would be $1.4 billion less than what was forecasted just four short months ago.

According to the Office of Financial Management's press release:

Justice Sanders wins part of public records case against Attorney General

September 16, 2010 in Blog

Today the State Supreme Court issued its ruling in the case of Justice Richard Sanders versus the Attorney General's Office concerning a public records dispute. Justices Sanders, Jim Johnson and Tom Chambers did not participate in the ruling and were replaced by Pro Tem Justices William Baker, Mary Becker and J.Robert Leach.

Writing for a unanimous Supreme Court, Justice Debra Stephens wrote

Governor makes Sunshine Committee appointments

September 15, 2010 in Blog

Last month we highlighted the need for Governor Gregoire to make her appointments as required by law so the state's Sunshine Committee could operate at full strength.

History of state's liquor initiatives

September 14, 2010 in Blog

When voters pass judgment on Initiatives 1100 and 1105 it will be the sixth and seventh time they've been asked to weigh in on the state's liquor laws since 1932 (many more were filed but didn't qualify for the ballot). It was also be the first time since 1972 voters will have the opportunity to end the state's liquor monopoly.

Here is a brief rundown of the previous liquor initiatives:

Seattle city council just doesn't get it

September 14, 2010 in Blog

Discouraging news out of Seattle today as the city council decided to move forward with a plan to raise parking taxes in the city from 10 percent to 12.5 percent and create a "transportation benefit district," which will increase taxes on Seattle-ites up to $20 a year when they renew their car tabs.

Governor orders budget cuts while lawmakers campaign

September 13, 2010 in Blog

As Governor Gregoire was signing an Executive Order today to set in motion across-the-board budget cuts, legislators were busy on the campaign trail instead of dealing with the problem. By refusing to come back to Olympia to make rational reductions to balance the budget, legislative leaders have forced Gregoire to use the only tool at her disposal -- blunt and unforgiving across-the-board cuts. The extent of these cuts will be determined after Thursday's revenue forecast.

Governor Gregoire agrees that second education bailout is not necessary to preserve teachers' jobs

September 10, 2010 in Blog

Today the Governor issued a press release announcing that Washington state will receive a second federal bailout of $208 million.  The first federal bailout of $757 million has backfilled school district budgets last year and this 2010-11 academic year.

Washington state provides "universal" vaccination and has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country

September 10, 2010 in Blog

The federal government has been actively involved with the purchase of vaccines for children since the Vaccination Assistance Act of 1965. This was expanded in 1993 with the passage of the Vaccination for Children program which allows the national Center for Disease Control to purchase vaccines for distribution to state agencies. Because of the huge purchasing power of the federal government, prices are dictated by the government and set low.

I-1107: Repealing tax increases on food and beverages

September 9, 2010 in Blog

In November the people of Washington will vote on Initiative 1107. The measure would repeal four of the tax increases enacted earlier this year. If passed in November, Initiative 1107 would repeal the following taxes: