Washington Policy Blog

Exaggerating the evidence on class size

April 11, 2014 in Blog

On Wednesday, Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn announced support for the teacher union's new class size reduction initiative, I-1351. The union hopes to gather enough signatures to put this initiative before the voters this November. Superintendent Dorn said:

“Reducing class sizes is key to improving student learning, particularly with at-risk students. That, in turn, will improve graduation rates.” 

King County Metro officials reduce some planned bus route cuts but voters won't know which routes are affected unless Prop 1 fails

April 10, 2014 in Blog

Washington Policy Center broke news in mid-March about Metro’s record-breaking revenues and future revenue windfalls. Metro officials soon followed up by releasing their new plans to reduce some of their planned bus cuts, saying that “improved sales tax will allow Metro to reduce the proposed package of cuts. Transit planners are finalizing the revised list of reductions.”

Councilmember makes misleading statement on Metro's tax revenue

April 8, 2014 in Blog

Last week, in urging the public to accept his proposed increases in regressive sales tax and car fees, Councilmember Phillips said:

"The sales revenues that support our transit system are less now than five years ago."

This carefully-worded statement is misleading to the public in two ways. First, Councilmember Phillips qualifies his statement in order to hide Metro's revenue windfalls this year and beyond.

Gov. Inslee vetoes bill limiting airborne drones, restores funding for disaster relief and life sciences research in final bill actions

April 8, 2014 in Blog

Just prior to the April 5th deadline for the governor to act on bills passed by the legislature in 2014, Governor Inslee vetoed HB 2789, which would have placed limits on the use of drones for law enforcement purposes, and HB 1260, which would have cut the number of public works projects subject to prevailing wage regulations in half. 

The Seattle Times urges a No vote on Prop. 1, cites Metro’s failed promises and high costs

April 7, 2014 in Blog

The Seattle Times published an editorial Saturday urging voters in King County to reject Proposition 1, saying the transit agency has not kept past promises and is not “thoroughly confronting its well-documented unsustainably high operating costs.”

Should candidates verify their background for voters?

April 7, 2014 in Blog

Voting for candidates for elected office is an important decision. Unfortunately at times there is little information available about candidates to help us make an informed decision. While county auditors and the Secretary of State produce voter pamphlets with information self-provided by those running for office, is the information actually truthful?

That’s where the new CandidateVerification.org in our state has the potential to bring clarity.  

Publicola Makes the Best Argument Against Minimum Wage Hike

April 4, 2014 in Blog

In a story on Seattle rent prices yesterday, the left-leaning Publicola asserts that the “most interesting” data point from an analysis of Seattle’s rental-market is that, “The law of supply and demand is, it turns out, an actual thing."  It seems the analysis shows that just as this most basic tenet of economics predicts, demand is inextricably linked to supply.  The

Proposition 1 taxes - another city considers diverting money away from roads

April 4, 2014 in Blog

In my recent blog, Proposition 1 taxes – money for roads might not go to roads, I mention the Seattle City Council’s plan to divert Proposition 1 money away from roads into other modes, despite drivers paying the bulk of the taxes. Other cities appear to be following suit.

Gov. Inslee's Three Reasons to Support Cap-and-Trade: Politics, Politics and Politics

April 4, 2014 in Blog

Earlier this week, Governor Inslee, speaking at the University of Washington, explained his support for imposing a cap-and-trade system in Washington state to reduce carbon emissions.

Cap-and-trade, the system used by Europeans and others as part of the Kyoto Protocol, has two key elements. First, it sets a total cap on the amount of carbon emissions allowed, typically over the course of a year, by covered entities in the state. Second, covered entities are allowed to buy and trade permits to emit carbon.

Hundreds Attend Spirited WPC Minimum Wage Debate in Seattle

April 3, 2014 in Blog

Last night hundreds of students, business owners and engaged citizens gathered at the University of Washington campus in Seattle to learn more about the arguments for and arguments against increasing the minimum wage.

The WPC-sponsored event, “The Minimum Wage Debate,” was moderated by award-winning political journalist Robert Mak and included pro and con panels comprised of economists, lawmakers, policy analysts and a Seattle small business owner.  The panelists discussed the impacts of minimum wage hikes at the local, state and national level.

Proposition 1 taxes - money for roads might not go to roads

April 3, 2014 in Blog

King County officials say that if they don’t receive new tax revenue from the public, they plan to cut Metro bus service by 17%, close bridges and let public roads turn to gravel.

County officials say they want to use 60% of Proposition 1’s tax money to save current bus service from the cuts they are proposing, and will devote the remaining 40% to road projects that serve the traveling public.

Join us at UW this evening or watch live online!

April 2, 2014 in Blog

Tonight Washington Policy Center, along with its Young Professionals group and WPC Young Professionals @UW club, will host the first of two statewide debates in Kane Hall at the University of Washington on the Minimum Wage. 

The debate will largely focus on how an increase in the minimum wage will affect young people, particularly college students, recent graduates and young professionals.

Public school administrator blames voters for public school failures

April 2, 2014 in Blog

Bill Keim, Executive Director of the Washington Association of School Administrators (WASA), blames the people of Washington for the failures of public schools that are run by the members of his Association (“It’s time for voters to get serious about school funding,The Seattle Times’ Education Lab).

A Step Forward for Environmental Accountability

April 2, 2014 in Blog

A tax break for a natural gas plant in Tacoma offers a nice step forward for a bipartisan approach to environmental accountability and effectiveness.

One of the primary failures of Washington's environmental approach is that politicians choose policies that make them look good but do little to ensure those policies actually work. For example:

What Do the Obamacare Sign-up Numbers Really Mean?

April 2, 2014 in Blog

The final (sort of) numbers are out and the Obamacare supporters are doing the Happy Dance. The "official" enrollment number for the health insurance exchanges is 7.1 million people, which has been the goal since enrollment began on 10/1/13. The "sort of" comes from the fact that the Obama Administration has allowed an extention for people experiencing "hardships" in signing up. These hardships are self-reported, so essentially the Administration has extended the open enrollment period indefinitely.