Washington Policy Blog

State Supreme Court gives green light to retroactive tax increases

October 2, 2014 in Blog

It looks like the State Supreme Court is giving the Legislature a new tool to address its McCleary contempt order: retroactive tax increases. A unanimous Court ruling today said it was not unconstitutional when the Legislature approved a retroactive change to the state's death tax in 2013.

Obamacare Remains in Jeopardy

October 1, 2014 in Blog

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, was signed into law in 2010. It was one year ago today that the state and federal health insurance exchanges began enrollment. Washington state is one of 15 states that established its own exchange. The other 35 states elected to use the federal exchange.

More Democrats voice opposition to WEA union initiative

October 1, 2014 in Blog

In a growing trend, more Democrats are expressing doubt and skepticism about Initiative 1351, the class size reduction initiative put on the November ballot by executives at the powerful teachers union, the Washington Education Association (WEA).

King County Council votes to preserve Metro bus service without raising regressive taxes

September 30, 2014 in Blog

After months of doubt, threats and controversy, bus riders and taxpayers finally have some good news: the King County Councilmembers unanimously voted to stop the bus service cuts they had planned for 2015. County officials now say they will limit their cut to a total of 151,000 hours of bus service, instead of the 600,000 bus hours they threatened earlier this year, citing windfall sales tax revenues and better management practices at Metro.

Seattle's Action on Honeybees Scientifically Calibrated to Help Politicians, Not Bees

September 26, 2014 in Blog

Environmental policy provides numerous examples where trendy politics and ignorance trump sound science. The City of Seattle's latest action to protect honeybees is just the latest example.

Taking a step called "very conservative," the City of Seattle announced it will no longer use a class of pesticides called neonicitinoids. The resolution, which is boilerplate language from other cities, claims:

Citizens Guide to Initiative 1351: To Reduce Class Sizes

September 25, 2014 in Blog

To help voters understand the class size reduction initiative on the November ballot, Washington Policy Center has just published a new study, “Citizens Guide to Initiative 1351: To Reduce Class Sizes.”   

Are Hospitals Really Doing Better Under Obamacare?

September 25, 2014 in Blog

Yesterday, the Obama Administration released data that shows hospitals are projected to save $5.7 billion in uncompensated care costs because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare. The majority of the savings comes from the Medicaid expansion and is anticipated to occur in those state that chose to expand the program for low-income individuals.

Class size mandates force schools to put classes in libraries, gyms and portables

September 24, 2014 in Blog

KOMO News Radio reported yesterday that Evergreen Heights Elementary in Auburn is having trouble meeting the legislature’s mandate to reduce class sizes. The school does not have the room. The school’s principal has instead been forced to put classes in the library, the gym and in a new portable. The library is now off-limits to students during class time. The gym has been divided into two classes, so students will no longer be able to take gym classes inside.

State Economic Modelers Have "No Confidence" In Accuracy of Projections on Climate Policy

September 23, 2014 in Blog

A central argument of the Governor's push for climate policy has been that it will create jobs and help the economy. Along those lines, the Governor's climate workgroup recently released an economic study that showed positive economic results from one potential climate policy.

Now, however, the economists who produced those results admit they have "no confidence" in the accuracy of the projections.

WPC testifies before Congress on the Small Business Health Option Program exchanges

September 22, 2014 in Blog

Last week, WPC's Health Policy Analyst, Dr. Roger Stark, testified at a Congressional hearing, conducted by the Small Business Subcommittee on Health and Technology, to examine the ongoing problems with the Small Business Health Option Program (SHOP) exchanges. 

Democrats voice opposition to WEA union’s class-size initiative, I-1351

September 19, 2014 in Blog

In a surprise move Tuesday, the 43rd District Democrats in Seattle refused to endorse the Washington Education Association union's class-size ballot measure, Initiative 1351. State senator Jamie Pedersen (D-43, Capitol Hill) spoke against the measure, warning it would hurt legislative efforts to fund the schools in response to the McCleary decision.

Will The Climate March Make A Difference? I Say "No"...Or Your Money Back!

September 18, 2014 in Blog

This Sunday, environmental groups will be in the streets of Seattle, Portland, New York and elsewhere, to promote action on climate change. The left-wing group, Climate Solutions, promises it will "change everything!"

Reduction in Charity Care for Washington State Hospitals; But At What Cost?

September 15, 2014 in Blog

The Washington State Hospital Association released financials for the first half of 2014 as reported in The Seattle Times today. The big news was a decrease of $154 million in charity care for hospitals in the state. Hospitals believe this 30% decrease in charity care is a result of more people being insured through Obamacare. Specifically, the Affordable Care Act expands Medicaid for more people in the low-income demographic.

King County Metro update: Highest-paid unionized workers reject pay raise offer

September 12, 2014 in Blog

Members of Metro Transit’s Amalgamated Transit Union Local 587 voted to turn down a fair contract that would have provided them with a 2% pay raise over three years, The Seattle Times reports today.

The contract offer would have provided a fair pay raise, while allowing King County leaders to preserve more bus service for the public without raising regressive taxes.  Still, 66% of union members rejected the offer, saying it was not generous enough.