Washington Policy Blog

State continues to stress the lack of an income tax as a selling point for new business

June 16, 2015 in Blog

We previously highlighted how the state Department of Commerce has long used Washington’s lack of income or capital gains taxes as part of their marketing pitch to encourage businesses to come to Washington.  Apparently department officials still believe having no income tax is a strong selling point.  

Seattle's Air Quality and Climate Change

June 16, 2015 in Blog

Among the arguments made by those pushing a costly cap-and-trade carbon emissions policy is the claim that higher temperatures will bring big increases in air pollution. Both the Washington Environmental Council and Puget Sound Sage have recently used air pollution as a justification for pushing these polices.

Does the real world match their claims? We have a chance to test.

Don't forget the full context for proposed capital gains taxes in Washington

June 14, 2015 in Blog

I know I’ve already written about the proposed capital gains tax several times but I keep seeing the same phrasing used to discuss it without the context of what it would mean for the state in both legal and competitive purposes.

Governor Inslee signs $7.6 billion transportation budget; no pilot program for new per-mile tax

June 12, 2015 in Blog

Yesterday, Governor Inslee signed a two-year transportation budget into law. The $7.6 billion plan includes about $5 billion for the Washington State Department of Transportation over the next two years, $430 million for the Washington State Patrol, and dedicates about $1.5 billion to pay off Nickel and TPA bonds. The budget for the 2015-2017 biennium also funds other transportation-related offices and departments, like the Department of Licensing.

"Well this article sure brought out some emotions"

June 12, 2015 in Blog

Last Sunday The Seattle Times published an editorial I submitted detailing the hypocritical exemptions unions seek to the restrictive labor mandates they actively support.  In many cities, unionized employers are exempt from paying a higher minimum wage or providing paid sick leave.  

Four studies show Seattle’s dream of municipal broadband would be a nightmare

June 10, 2015 in Blog

Last month I reported on the push by Seattle Mayor Ed Murray to get the city in the Internet-provider business with municipal broadband.  In the effort to move Seattle one step closer to that dream of government-run broadband, Mayor Murray commissioned a study to determine the costs and feasibility of making Seattle the first big city in the nation to treat broadband Internet access as a public utility.

Pulling bill to repeal 1% property tax limit was the right call

June 10, 2015 in Blog

Rep. Larry Haler (R-Richland) made the right call in putting aside for now – by pulling it from consideration – a bill to repeal the 1% limit on regular property tax collections.  He says more information is needed about how the long-established limit effects the annual rise in local government revenue.

It took just six hours to draft a mandatory $24 million cost on Spokane business owners and workers?

June 5, 2015 in Blog

They held only three meetings totaling just six hours, but it appears a work group tasked with creating a mandatory paid sick leave policy to impose on employers and workers in Spokane is ready to forward its policy plan to the City Council.

Superintendent Randy Dorn’s attack on me contains many errors and contradictions

June 5, 2015 in Blog

Recently, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn attacked my credibility for how I described the proposed rules he wants to impose on charter schools and the families they serve.

Socialists blast labor unions for using minimum wage exemptions as ploy to grow union membership rolls

June 4, 2015 in Blog

The group that calls itself “the leadership of the world socialist movement” has published a hard-hitting editorial on organized labor’s efforts to carve out special exemptions from minimum wage and paid sick leave mandates.

Drivers in Washington are hitting the road; travel up five percent over last year

June 4, 2015 in Blog

According to new information provided by the Federal Highway Administration, driving across the United States is on the rise. According to the latest report, nationwide vehicle miles traveled (the amount people drive) in the first three months of the year is up 3.9% compared to last year. The Western region of the United States saw a 5.3% year-over-year uptick in road travel for March alone.

New movie about High Tech High School shows exciting benefits one charter school provides for students

June 2, 2015 in Blog

Last night I saw “Most Likely to Succeed,” a new movie attracting a lot of buzz in Seattle, about a charter public high school in San Diego.  About 500 people packed Queen Anne’s vintage Uptown Cinema last night, and the movie shows again today at 3:00 pm. “Most Likely to Succeed” was selected for SIFF, the Seattle International Film Festival, after winning awards at Sundance.

It’s back. Public campaign finance failed in Seattle in 2013; now it’s been revised for 2015 (but this time it includes one exciting idea)

June 2, 2015 in Blog

At Crosscut.com, reporter David Kroman provides the latest on an idea that was voted down in Seattle in 2013 and has been revised for 2015 – public funding for political campaigns.

Initiative 122 would lower campaign spending limits, reduce the maximum individual contribution allowed, and raise the city property tax to provide public funds to candidates in Seattle elections.  Backers are confident they have enough signatures to place it on the ballot this year.

Health Insurance Companies Request an Average of 15.2 Percent Premium Increase in Washington State

June 2, 2015 in Blog

Yesterday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the premium requests for health insurance companies for 2016. The information applies to plans compatable with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, and those sold through the state and federal health insurance exchanges. CMS organized the requests on a state by state basis. Only requests of a 10 percent or more increase were required to be submitted.

Acting State Auditor fights for dedicated performance audit funds

June 2, 2015 in Blog

Commenting on a tour of school children at the capitol on Monday, Seattle Times reporter Joe O'Sullivan tweeted:

Docent explaining executive branch to school children: 'I would say we have a state auditor - and we usually do.'

This qualifier is very troubling for several reasons but especially with both the most recent House and Senate budget proposals continuing to raid the voter-approved dedicated I-900 performance audit funds for the State Auditor.