Senator King (R-Yakima), co-chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, and Senator Rodney Tom (D-Medina), Majority Coalition Leader, will be travelling the state on a listening tour to hear from the public about improving our roads. The meetings will take place in September and October in the following cities: Tacoma, Vancouver, Seattle, Everett, Wenatchee, Spokane, and Tri-Cities. Last session, a gas tax measure failed to pass in the legislature, and policymakers have hinted that a transportation package could be up for debate later this year.
On the heels of The Seattle Times printing my guest editorial explaining how little support Inslee and many lawmakers in the House showed for policies to foster job creation this past legislative session, come two more editorials pointedly asking what happened to Inslee’s much touted “Working Washington” plan.
The latest is that employees and Members of Congress must get their health insurance through the exchanges, just like regular folks. At least that's what Congress and the President would like you to believe. But regular folks will pay for their own insurance in the exchanges and will be eligible for subsidies on a sliding scale.
State officials have said that repairs to the cracked 520 pontoons will cost at least $81.1 million and could go higher. Since tolling began on 520 in late 2011, the amount of toll revenue collected through March is $67.4 million. WSDOT won’t have the latest quarterly results until September, but toll revenues have averaged about $13.5 million per quarter.
Assuming the average revenue per quarter, total toll revenue received would be about $81 million as of June 30th, enough to pay off the mistakes made on fixing the pontoons.
A Spokesman-Revieweditorial this week laments the awkward summer ritual of teachers, sometimes assisted by parents and charities, having to spend their own money to provide basic classroom supplies. As the editorial notes, "The problem is that lawmakers have underfunded basic education for so long." Two things are surprising about this statement.
Labor executives in Washington state are upset Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is coming to Seattle September 5th to speak at the Washington Policy Center annual awards dinner, according to the Washington State Labor Council newsletter The Stand.
Despite projected revenue growth of $2 billion for the 2013-15 biennium, proposals for significant tax increases dominated the budget debate and contributed to the Legislature going into two special sessions to finish its work on the budget. The final tax increase package included in the 2013-15 budget was a fraction of what state Democrats initially proposed. Below is a breakdown of how the tax increase proposals evolved.
King County Councilmember Larry Phillips and Metro General Manager Kevin Desmond say they plan to cut bus service by 17% if they don’t get the tax increase they want. Pierce Transit officials had the same plan, threatening riders with a 53% cut in bus service last year if they didn’t receive more money. Voters rejected the tax increase. In January of this year, Pierce County officials planned a lower, 34% cut. In June, Pierce Transit again scaled back the planned service cuts to 28%.
Sound Transit officials recently said their agency’s June 2013 ridership figures averaged 32,000 weekday boardings. They were quick to tout this as a 14% increase over June 2012, but conveniently ignored the fact their ridership is far below what they promised voters when the program began.