As lawmakers prepare for the upcoming legislative session in Olympia, there is a lot of debate about where our state ranks in education spending. As an analyst, I know this all depends on what metric a lawmaker uses, and the metric chosen often depends on whether the lawmaker wants to increase taxes. A poor ranking makes it appear that more spending and a heavier tax burden are urgently needed.
While the seemingly “modest” or “measured” .8% increase in workers’ compensation taxes for 2015 appear unremarkable and have garnered little criticism, our neighbors to the south continue to enjoy significant rate decreases.
After announcing an average workers’ compensation tax increase for 2015 that is less than originally proposed, the state Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) is making sure the business community and media know how much employers and workers will save.
Last week the state Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) announced the average rate increase for workers’ compensation taxes in 2015 would be .8%, a full percentage point less than the 1.8% increase the agency first proposed this fall. L&I says this lower tax rate will allow employers and workers to “keep about $20 million in their pocketbooks—money they would have paid into the syst
Last year was a banner year for oyster aquaculture in Washington state waters.
According to data from the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, the harvest of shelled oysters rose dramatically last year, more than double the amount from 2012, and 78 percent higher than the previous high in 2005.
Now that the 2014 election has been certified we know the official make up of the Legislature. Based on the responses to our supermajority for taxes legislative survey, we also know that the members of the Majority Coalition Caucus (MCC) in the Senate support allowing the voters to consider a constitutional amendment to put the five-time voter approved policy into the Constitution.
Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has had a position of leadership in the Democratic caucus for years. He has been one of the most outspoken supporters of Obamacare since the Congressional debate in 2009.
However, in an address to the National Press Club last week (audio available here), he admitted that: "Unfortunately, Democrats blew the opportunity the American people gave them (in the 2008 election). We took their mandate and put all of our focus on the wrong problem: health care reform."
Seattle leaders now have the money to drop regressive tax increases
Last week, the King County Council voted to preserve 95% of Metro bus service without raising taxes. The council’s action will likely comfort those who stood to lose most from tax increases and threatened bus cuts: the public, bus riders, and especially, low-income families and the disabled. Earlier this year King County officials threatened to cut 17% of bus service if voters did not raise regressive tax increases on the April ballot.
President Obama has announced his support for regulating the Internet, also known as “net neutrality,” and is asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to apply the “strongest possible rules” on Internet service providers. The President's “net neutrality” would regulate Internet providers as public utility companies, under the same law that regulates telephone companies.
The Washington State Department of Transportation’s daily Twitter notices provide people with up-to-date news and traffic alerts about their commute. WSDOT officials often suggest alternative routes around traffic accidents or inform travelers of upcoming bridge closures or repairs. But lately, WSDOT officials have allowed daily traffic congestion to get so bad they are starting to tell people to stay home, instead of using the highways we all pay for.
It has been widely reported that Democrats lost the recent mid-term election, but less noticed is that voters also delivered a series of defeats to executives at the Washington Education Association (WEA) union.
When the 2014 election is certified, only one of the nine justices on the state Supreme Court will be from Eastern Washington, Justice Debra Stephens. Had she not won her election, allof the state's Supreme Court justices would be from the Puget Sound region.
Saying that lack of transparency gave them "a huge political advantage," MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, who helped write the Affordable Care Act, told the audience (see below) at an October 17th, 2013 forum that hiding key purposes of the bill "was really, really critical to getting anything to pass." Gruber said he wished "we could make it all transparent...but I'd rather have this law than not."
The U.S. Supreme Court decided last week to hear King v. Sebelius this term. This is one of at least four lawsuits that deal with the legality of the IRS giving out taxpayer subsidies in the federal health insurance exchange.