Washington Policy Blog

Phillips and Desmond don’t like being reminded of Metro’s past promises

September 23, 2013 in Blog

King County Councilmember Larry Phillips and King County Metro General Manager Kevin Desmond claim that my independent analysis of Metro’s recent service cuts is “wrong,” and that I’m “rewriting history” and “playing loose with the facts,” but they fail to cite a single example of where I got the facts wrong.

The reason for their failure is simple. All Washington Policy Center (WPC) research is based on facts and documentation that comes from Metro itself.

Good news from today’s revenue forecast

September 19, 2013 in Blog

Jason Mercier, budget analyst for Washington Policy Center, just wrote an informative analysis of the good news from today’s revenue forecast. 

Revenue forecast helps grow budget reserves

September 19, 2013 in Blog

While those following the state's monthly revenue receipts expected state revenue collections to continue to grow, the amount of yesterday's increase was a bit of a surprise.

According to the state's economist, Dr. Steve Lerch, revenues are now projected to grow by another $345 million for the current budget and $342 million for the 2015-17 budget:

Governor Inslee says tunnel project will resume

September 17, 2013 in Blog

On July 30th, the largest tunnel boring machine in the world began digging the tunnel that will replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct underneath Seattle. Three weeks later the machine stopped. It wasn’t malfunctioning parts or bad planning that held up the project, it was unions fighting over four dirt-hauling jobs.

Estimated to progress at six feet per day, the machine has only traveled 24 feet, four days worth. It is expected to progress at about 35 feet per day once in good soil underneath downtown.

Coalition requests performance audit of I-937

September 17, 2013 in Blog

A coalition of lawmakers and business groups sent State Auditor Troy Kelley a letter yesterday requesting a performance audit of I-937 (Energy Independence Act).

From the letter:

Dear State Auditor Troy Kelley,

Rainier Beach school officials allowed to reject bad teachers

September 16, 2013 in Blog

On Saturday, Lynne Varner of The Seattle Times wrote an informative editorial about Rainier Beach High, a Seattle school that serves mostly poor and minority students.  Varner notes something remarkable: 

“Rainier Beach successfully persuaded the Seattle School District to exempt it from forced teacher placements.”

Questions on I-517

September 16, 2013 in Blog

On Thursday we published our analysis of Initiative 517. Our study concluded (in-part):

Dick’s Drive-In: The Best Argument Against A Government Mandated High Minimum Wage

September 16, 2013 in Blog

There is a great editorial in today’s Seattle Times on increasing the minimum wage.   Iconic Seattle-based business Dick’s Drive-In is featured as the best argument against a government mandated increase of our state’s already-high minimum wage.

Higher Minimum Wage Would Mean Fewer Teens with a Job

September 13, 2013 in Blog

Raising the minimum wage is a hot topic in the news right now.   Voters in the City of SeaTac will decide in November whether to increase wages for workers in that city’s hospitality and transportation industries to a minimum of $15 per hour, fast food workers are striking for higher pay, and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn is

JLARC holds work session on the Columbia River Crossing forensic audit

September 12, 2013 in Blog

On September 18, 2013, Joint Legislative Audit & Review Committee (JLARC) is holding a hearing regarding a forensic accounting audit on the Columbia River Crossing (CRC) project. Washington Policy Center has been among the first of those calling for a fraud audit. A timeline of events leading up to the JLARC hearing follows:

Court upholds Wisconsin workplace freedom law

September 12, 2013 in Blog

News from Madison yesterday delivered another blow to union executives seeking to restrict workers’ rights to freedom of speech and association.  Wisconsin courts have again upheld Act 10, the law that made Wisconsin the latest right to work state by bringing equal access to workplace freedom to all employees in the Badger State.

Summary of I-517

September 12, 2013 in Blog

In November the people of Washington will vote on Initiative 517. The measure would make several changes to state law concerning signature gathering for initiatives and referendums. Initiative 517 would increase the time period for gathering signatures, require that proposals that receive an adequate number of valid signature proceed to the ballot, change the penalties for interfering with signature gathering, and increase the number of locations, both public and private, where signature gathering can occur.

State Board of Education approves Spokane's application to open charter schools

September 11, 2013 in Blog

Today, in Yakima, the State Board of Education unanimously voted to give Spokane Public Schools the authority to open charter schools. With this vote, Spokane Public Schools, Washington state's second-largest district, of 28,000 students, will become the first district in the state to offer parents a charter school choice.  

Results Washington will fail to improve the public schools

September 11, 2013 in Blog

Yesterday Governor Inslee launched a new initiative, Results Washington, the latest announcement by a governor to improve state government and the public schools.  Governors Gary Locke and Christine Gregoire tried similar initiatives. 

In this one, Governor Inslee says the following about goals for the public schools

Update: Majority Coalition Caucus expand listening tour

September 11, 2013 in Blog

A month ago, Senator King (R-Yakima) announced a listening tour at seven different locations in the state to talk about a potential transportation tax package. It has now increased to ten due to public demand. I am glad Senator King and others are involving the general public on any potential legislation involving a tax increase. The updated schedule is listed below:

September 17, 2013 - Stevenson Elementary - Bellevue, WA 6-9 p.m.