Washington Policy Blog

Secret budget meeting to be held at Thurston County Fairgrounds

June 23, 2014 in Blog

The latest in a series of secret summer sessions is scheduled for tomorrow in the Expo Center at the Thurston County Fairgrounds, 3054 Carpenter Road, in Lacey, according to the Washington State Federation of Employees (WFSE).

The clandestine budget meeting begins at 9:00 am Tuesday, and deliberations are to wrap-up by 5:00 pm Wednesday.  Members of the public, the media, even state lawmakers, are barred from attending or observing the high-level talks.

“As it stands now, Seattle is not in our discussions for future growth or expansion.”

June 23, 2014 in Blog

Today The Seattle Times featured business owners who are grappling with how to deal with Seattle’s new $15 minimum wage law.  While sobering, none of the business owners’ reactions to the mandated high wage are surprising.

The owner of a small, family-run hotel said he plans to raise room rates and reduce workers’ hours (but not their job duties):

Secretary Peterson to drivers: Get ready to live with endless traffic jams

June 23, 2014 in Blog

State officials tell the public that the gas taxes and other driver fees they collect are user fees, deposited into a special trust fund to maintain and expand the state’s road network to provide a quicker trip. It’s a promise to use taxpayer money and make things better. Yet, traffic congestion levels continue to rise.  In an October 2013 poll, 63% of respondents said they were unimpressed with public officials’ performance on relieving traffic congestion.  People’s frustration is understandable.

Obamacare Tax on Drug Manufacturers Will Result in Fewer or More Costly Drugs

June 19, 2014 in Blog

Part of the funding for Obamacare comes from a $2.3 billion per year tax on drug manufacturers. The tax is assessed based on the share of all drug sales for each company that specific year. The money to pay this tax will either come from higher drug prices passed on to consumers or will come from research and development budgets.

A big win for consumers - Seattle's Mayor deregulates rideshare services

June 19, 2014 in Blog

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s plan to deregulate rideshare services and reduce the taxi monopoly is a big win for the traveling public.

63% of voters want local supermajority for taxes protections

June 18, 2014 in Blog

Based on the results of a May 2014 statewide poll, Washingtonians' support for taxpayer protections has not waned since they approved I-1185 in 2012. You may recall that approval of I-1185 was the fifth time that voters had adopted a supermajority vote for tax increases requirement. It passed statewide with a 64 percent “yes” vote and with majority approval in 44 of the state’s 49 legislative districts and in every county of the state. This policy received more votes statewide than either President Obama or Governor Inslee.

Seattle's rising labor cost leads other cities to try to attract Seattle workers and businesses

June 17, 2014 in Blog

When the Seattle City Council joyfully voted to increase the mandatory minimum wage (the city's price control on labor) to $15 an hour, it didn't take long for leaders in other cities to spot an opportunity.  Editors at the Tri-City Herald say they have one word for Seattle businesses: “Welcome.”  They even provide a confidential phone number. With brazen impertinence, they’re cooing...

“Why not bring your business here?

Editorial cartoon - painful operation to cut King County Metro bus service no longer needed

June 16, 2014 in Blog

In a masterpiece of clarity and concision, The Seattle Times has posted Frank Shiers’ cartoon that gets at the heart of the reason behind the coming cuts in King County Metro bus service.  County Executive Dow Constantine, despite Councilmember Rod Dembowski’s plan that would save 95% of current bus service, is pushing ahead with a painful operation that is no longer necessary.  As Councilmember Larry Phillips put it, “There’s no action more regressive than gutt

Union Boss Calls Small Business Owners Opposed to Seattle’s $15 Minimum Wage “Right-Wing Ideologues”

June 11, 2014 in Blog

An organization representing small business owners in Seattle has filed a charter amendment to undo the City’s recently passed $15 minimum wage law and replace it with a less aggressive and less complicated minimum wage increase.

Franchise Owners File Lawsuit to Block Seattle's $15 Minimum Wage

June 11, 2014 in Blog

Today the International Franchise Association filed a lawsuit asking a court to block implementation of Seattle’s newly passed $15 minimum wage law. The law received unanimous support from the Seattle City Council and is scheduled to go into effect April 1, 2015.

Gov. Inslee touts ranking showing no income tax is good for Washington

June 11, 2014 in Blog

Governor Jay Inslee today praised a national ranking by Forbes that shows Washington state is the best state in which to make a living.  The ranking lists “no income tax” as one of the primary reasons for Washington’s high standing.

Coincidence or Consequence: 160 CenturyLink Jobs to Move to Other States One Week After Seattle Passes $15 Minimum Wage

June 10, 2014 in Blog

Is CenturyLink the first major casualty of Seattle’s passage of a new law mandating a $15 minimum wage for all workers?

King County Executive chooses pain over gain - vetoes responsible plan that would save Metro bus services

June 10, 2014 in Blog

They say governing is about making hard choices, and yesterday a top elected official chose to make life harder for the people of King County.  County Executive Dow Constantine on Monday vetoed a practical and responsible plan offered by Councilmember Rod Dembowski that would preserve 95% of current Metro bus service without raising taxes.

Will Seattle Be Ground Zero of an Automation Nation?

June 10, 2014 in Blog

Everyone is predicting what the real world impact of Seattle’s newly passed $15 minimum wage will be.  The truth is there will not be a mass exodus of businesses from the city, nor will the economy crash.

Seattle School Board chooses math texts for Seattle elementary schools, overruling district managers

June 9, 2014 in Blog

Last week, in a bit of good news for Seattle children, the Seattle School Board voted 4-3 to adopt the Math in Focus textbook for Seattle’s elementary schools. Math in Focus is a solid curriculum based on the effective Singapore method for teaching math. The board of the state’s largest school district, serving nearly 50,000 students, has exercised its authority to reject a lower-standard math text chosen by school district officials, EnVision Math.