Washington Policy Blog

WPC research and possible Seattle teachers strike

August 27, 2010 in Blog

As kids get ready to go back to school, a controversy is brewing in Seattle Public Schools. The teachers union is poised to reject a pay-for-performance teacher evaluation system sought by Seattle School District Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson. This plan is entirely voluntary, except for new teachers, and would evaluate and reward teachers in part (25% of a teacher's evaluation) for improving student learning.

Legal Analysis by Former State Supreme Court Justice says I-1098 Income Tax is Unconstitutional

August 26, 2010 in Blog

A new legal analysis written for Washington Policy Center by respected former state Supreme Court Justice Phil Talmadge finds that, if passed by voters this November, Initiative 1098 would likely be ruled unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court.

Justice Talmadge was a state Supreme Court Justice from 1995-2001 and served as a Democratic member of the State Senate from 1979-1995, where he chaired the Judiciary and Health Care Committees.

"Green" Weatherization claims don't add up

August 25, 2010 in Blog

In a news announcement yesterday, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn unveiled the Seattle Jobs Plan outlining a series of City-run programs, such as an energy efficiency weatherization program, that he believes will stimulate economic growth and environmental protection.

Dilbert Gets It...Olympia Doesn't

August 25, 2010 in Blog

Last week's Wall Street Journal Saturday Column is from Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, and chronicles his effort to build a "green" home. Interestingly he notes some of the very problems we've highlighted with green schools here in Washington state.

Seattle Jobs Plan long on hope, short on specifics

August 25, 2010 in Blog

This week the City of Seattle and Mayor McGinn released their "Seattle Jobs Plan." The goal is to put Seattle-ites back to work and grow business in the region. The city is taking a more direct approach, leveraging federal dollars to incentivize business growth.

Westneat calls for putting principals in charge of teacher evaluations

August 25, 2010 in Blog

Check out Danny Westneat's column today.  In the midst of a possible teachers strike, he makes an astute observation about public schools that is consistent with long-standing research data.  Westneat says:

 "In the end a principal should do what managers must do in countless other workplaces: decide who gets promoted and who gets fired. And then take heat."

Time to reset state union rules

August 24, 2010 in Blog

Whether it be state unions fighting the legislature's furlough savings plan or digging lines in the sand over ways to reduce state health care costs, it is becoming clear that the budget isn't the only thing that needs transformation.

WPC Heads into Hanford

August 23, 2010 in Blog

On August 17th, Washington Policy Center environmental director Todd Myers and Eastern Washington office director Chris Cargill, toured the Hanford Nuclear site. This is the area where emergency crews practice their response to any eventuality.

WPC at Hanford

A Smart Way to Improve Energy Efficiency

August 23, 2010 in Blog

Last week, the Department of Energy announced it is funding a test of the Smart Grid, an upgrade to the current electrical grid. Developed by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in the Tri-Cities, the Smart Grid would improve the stability of the grid and allow consumers to receive real-time information about rates and adjust their energy use accordingly.

Bus union is an obstacle to expanding bus service promised to voters

August 23, 2010 in Blog

Despite calls from union leaders that talks on a new labor contract should stay at the negotiating table, the bus union in King County held a press conference on Friday to discuss, what else but their new labor contract.

Seattle Weekly Coverage
Publicola Coverage 

I-1053: Restoring the Two-thirds Vote Requirement for Tax Increases

August 23, 2010 in Blog

In November the people of Washington will vote on Initiative 1053. The measure would reinstate the state law requiring that tax increases be adopted with a two-thirds vote in the Legislature.

Earlier this year state lawmakers repealed the two-thirds vote requirement until July 1, 2011.

Here is our analysis of I-1053.

From our conclusion:

Light rail costs $7.13 per trip and a quarter of the time it's late

August 20, 2010 in Blog

Sound Transit just released its 2nd Quarter Ridership Report for this year.

Light rail ridership is higher than the previous quarter but still far below projections:

Funding high-speed rail is a head scratcher

August 18, 2010 in Blog

Randal O'Toole, a senior fellow at CATO has written for WPC a number of times, including this piece on why Washington State should not invest in High Speed Rail.