Washington Policy Blog

BOMA Seattle - Suburban Cities Meeting

March 6, 2014 in Blog

It was a pleasure to speak to the Building Owners and Managers Association Seattle King Counties Suburban Cities meeting earlier this week about the proposed tax increases on the April ballot.

You can find the slides to the presentation, here.

One More Obamacare Delay

March 5, 2014 in Blog

The Obama Administration announced yet one more major delay in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. (Here) People who have health insurance in the individual market may now keep their non-Obamacare-compliant insurance for an additional two years instead of one year.

Funding for TVW repairs and upgrades cut from capital budget

March 5, 2014 in Blog

In just a few weeks the country will be celebrating "Sunshine Week," a time committed to celebrating the people's right to know about what their government is doing. Recent developments in Olympia, however, may put a damper on those celebrations.

A Few (Six Actually) Problems With the State's New Cost Estimates of the Low-Carbon Fuel Standard

March 4, 2014 in Blog

Yesterday, the Governor's office released an analysis of the potential cost of a low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS), arguing the cost is as low as four cents per gallon. The purpose was to respond to analyses, like ours, showing the potential cost was much higher.

The analysis, however, suffers from a number of shortcomings.

Providing opportunity for remote testimony and improving public notice

March 3, 2014 in Blog

At the invitation of Rep. Pollet and Rep. Hawkins (Co-Chairs) I had the opportunity to make a presentation before the House Open Government Caucus today on ways the Legislature could accommodate remote testimony and improve its public notice process.

Senate leaders introduce new transportation proposal in bill form

March 3, 2014 in Blog

Senator Rodney Tom (D-Medina) and Senator Curtis King (R-Yakima) introduced a new transportation package last Friday. The three bills follow:

State House Democrats announce supplemental budget proposal. Split package includes ending tax breaks and teacher pay increases.

February 28, 2014 in Blog

House Democrats in Olympia released a 2014 supplemental budget proposal Wednesday that would restore cost-of-living (COLA) increases for teachers and would spend additional money on school programs, while ending some tax exemptions, including imposing a state sales tax on bottled water.  The bottled water tax would narrow the state’s general sales tax exemption on food items.

Senate bill would borrow, use gas taxes, and spend federal funds to pay for 520 cost overruns

February 27, 2014 in Blog

The Senate Transportation Committee passed SB 6001, making supplemental appropriations to the transportation budget, and moved the bill to the Rules Committee for full Senate consideration. Lawmakers provided a plan to pay for the $170 million in cost overruns on the 520 Bridge Project.

Celebrating Five Years in Eastern Washington, WPC Expands Northwest's Largest Gala Event

February 27, 2014 in Blog

More than 2,000 people attend Washington Policy Center’s Annual Dinner each year and those attending east of the Cascades will now enjoy an even more spectacular evening.

WPC, the state’s leading independent research organization, announced plans today to hold two separate Annual Dinner events beginning this year – one in Eastern Washington and one in Western Washington. Both dinners will feature live, prominent national speakers.

Even Liberal Activists Think a $15 Minimum Wage Goes Too Far

February 26, 2014 in Blog

As the City of Seattle continues pressing forward with plans to impose a $15 minimum wage, some of the city’s most liberal business owners and nonprofit organizations are sounding the alarm.

In the past week, The Seattle Times has featured three prominently left-leaning business owners who say a $15 minimum wage will hurt their business.

Average teacher pay increases every year

February 25, 2014 in Blog

Over at Cross Cut yesterday, John Stang provides a description of the Senate’s proposed supplemental budget.  His reporting suggests teachers will not be receiving pay increases, noting “Sorry,Teachers,” and “no cost-of-living raise for teachers.”

By describing just one type of teacher pay increase, the Cost of Living Adjustment, the article gives the impression that teachers haven’t received any pay increases. 

Senate unveils bi-partisan 2014 supplemental budget proposal. Passage expected later this week.

February 25, 2014 in Blog

In a press conference Monday afternoon, state Senate leaders from both parties released the Senate’s proposed 2014 supplemental to the 2013-15 budget. The legislature generally writes a supplemental budget in the second year of a budget cycle to make adjustments for changing conditions, such as fluctuations in state services and revenue projections.

New car tab fee and higher sales tax likely on special April ballot

February 24, 2014 in Blog

Today, the King County Council moved towards putting new taxes on the ballot. On April 22, 2014, King County voters may vote on a costly plan to impose a $60 annual car tab fee and a .1% sales tax increase on drivers and consumers. Both of the new taxes would sunset after 10 years.  According to Crosscut, King County has nearly 2 weeks to get the measure on the ballot. However, if state lawmakers approve of new local taxes for transit, the King County Council would meet to discuss eliminating both taxes.

How High School Students Proved A Nobel Prize Economist Right on the Environment

February 23, 2014 in Blog

What happens when you give high school students goldfish crackers and tell them to act like commercial fishermen? Interestingly, they prove the validity of a couple tenets of environmental economics.

A comparison of House and Senate transportation tax proposals

February 21, 2014 in Blog

The Majority Coalition Caucus (MCC) in the Senate recently unveiled a new transportation proposal that would spend $12.4 billion on roads, ferries, and other modes of transportation over the next 12 years.  This is in addition to the $8.7 billion per biennium the state currently spends on these public services.

The proposal would impose an 11.5-cents per gallon gas tax hike (a 30% increase in the current state tax), higher yearly car tab fees, new taxes on trucks, higher car registration fees, and other new fees on drivers.