Washington Policy Blog

State dodges new pension bullet

August 14, 2014 in Blog

A unanimous Supreme Court today gave budget writers much needed good news when Justices rejected two union initiated pension lawsuits that could have added an additional $1.3 billion in new costs for the 2015-17 budget (state and local).

Writing perhaps the sweetest words lawmakers have heard recently from the Court, Justices said:

Attorney General declines Senator’s request for Harris v. Quinn impact opinion

August 13, 2014 in Blog

Last week I highlighted a letter from Sen. Braun to the Attorney General requesting an informal opinion in response to the June 30 U.S. Supreme Court ruling Harris v. Quinn, which called into question the forced unionization of some Washington residents. The Senator asked these three questions:

Is Environmental Impact Analysis Useful? State Doesn't Know, but Wants to Make it More Complex.

August 12, 2014 in Blog

Let's say you used a tool every day to solve a problem. Don't you think you'd wonder if that tool actually did the job?

For more than three decades, the state has required environmental impact analysis for a range of projects as part of the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA). The purpose of the analysis is to understand potential environmental problems of projects and proposals.

Senator requests opinion from Attorney General on Harris v. Quinn impact in Washington

August 7, 2014 in Blog

On June 30, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in Harris v. Quinn calling into question the forced unionization of some Washington residents.

Next steps for Benton County public safety sales tax

August 6, 2014 in Blog

The third time was the charm for the Benton County public safety sales tax increase. After voters rejected a 0.2% increase in 2007 and 2008 they are giving approval to Proposition 14-5 (0.3% increase). Now that the voters have given their trust to elected officials it is time for these leaders to come through on their promise to enact performance audits to ensure the new resources are efficiently and effectively spent to deliver on the important public safety goals.

School district administrators in Centralia attempted to smear school principal for reporting Medicaid fraud

July 31, 2014 in Blog

I recently reported the Centralia School District, a district of 3,494 students south of Olympia, paid $372,000 for cheating Medicaid under the Medicaid Administrative Claiming program (MAC), for having “knowingly filed scores of false time study forms to obtain MAC reimbursement payments it was not legally entitled to receive.” The Attorney General also found that when a well-place whistleblower, school principal

A Glimpse of How Climate Orthodoxy Is Undermining Environmental Benefit

July 31, 2014 in Blog

If you want evidence that climate policy puts environmental orthodoxy ahead of environmental benefit, the Governor's preliminary climate proposal provides a clear example.

The 14-page PowerPoint released this week puts strict limits on investments in carbon-reducing projects known as “offsets.” Why? The environmental community appears to feel that forcing lifestyle change is more important than actually helping the environment. The symbolism of sacrifice trumps sound science and policy.

Did Washington Lose 6,500 Jobs Over Right-to-Work?

July 30, 2014 in Blog

News broke last week that Governor Inslee tried to “woo” Tesla Motors to build one of the biggest factories in the world in Washington State.  Unsuccessfully, it turns out.

Bad budget management and poor use of public money cause financial mess at Island Transit

July 30, 2014 in Blog

New information from Island Transit shows a series of poor financial decisions made by local managers are the source of the district’s trouble, not lack of state money. Island Transit provides bus service and vanpools throughout Whidbey and Camano Islands, with routes connecting Skagit and Snohomish Counties. The agency is fully subsidized by taxpayers and doesn’t collect fares from passengers. Earlier this year, Island Transit officials announced plans to cut the Camano Island to Everett bus route, citing a lack of state tax money as the primary reason.

WPC agrees with union speaker; "trust us" shouldn't be standard for negotiations

July 28, 2014 in Blog

Last week the Washington State Labor Council held its 2014 Constitutional Convention meeting. Among the speakers was Gillian Locascio of the Washington Fair Trade Coalition. Although she was speaking about the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, her concerns and criticism of how those negotiations were occurring are 100% aligned with our concerns about public union contract negotiations.

Seattle leaders’ tax-increase plan to save Metro Transit is a solution looking for a problem

July 25, 2014 in Blog

Seattle voters will have their say in November on another tax plan to “save” Metro bus service. Last week, the Seattle City Council voted to send the tax-increase plan to the November ballot with the following text:

The Seattle Transportation Benefit District’s Proposition 1 concerns funding for Metro Transit service.