Washington Policy Blog

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.

State lawmakers work into the night to pass more than 200 bills before first major deadline

February 19, 2014 in Blog

When the state House of Representatives adjourned Monday night—actually at 12:32 a.m. Tuesday, February 18th, lawmakers had passed over a hundred bills that day. The Senate, which adjourned at 11:38 p.m. Monday evening, passed thirty-nine measures. The fast pace continued until Tuesday’s 5:00 p.m. deadline for acting on non-budget related bills in the house of origin.

The Trade-Off for a Higher Minimum Wage

February 19, 2014 in Blog

Advocates of increasing the minimum wage routinely claim that doing so will stimulate the economy, encourage growth and create jobs.   Ignoring the basic economic law of demand, which dictates that when the cost of something goes up, demand correspondingly goes down, these supporters instead argue that when workers earn more money they spend more money, which in turn benefits employers.  Everyone wins.

Of course, the only ones who really win are the workers who have a job; those who don’t will have a harder time finding one.

Predicting Environmental Catastrophe Embiggens the Smallest Activist

February 16, 2014 in Blog

Imagine a friend telling you his goal in life was to end all jaywalking. You might wonder if there wasn’t something more important he could do with his life.

Now imagine someone telling you he is working to save the planet from imminent destruction – for people, for wildlife, for future generations. Suddenly, they seem more righteous, more important. Environmentalists seem to believe, like Jebediah Springfield, that tackling a potential catastrophe "embiggens the smallest man."

Death penalty moratorium, Senate Majority Caucus, Columbia River Crossing in the news while lawmakers are busy passing bills.

February 14, 2014 in Blog

State lawmakers are passing dozens of bills in their respective chambers before the deadline for acting on policy bills in the house of origin arrives on Tuesday,  February 18h.  Most of these are non-contentious issues and are passing by large majorities. 

10:45 p.m. "public" hearing with no public testimony, surprised?

February 14, 2014 in Blog

Lawmakers work long hours on your behalf, sometimes late into the night. One of these instances occurred on Monday when lawmakers held a public hearing at 10:45 p.m. on HB 2244.

Pension reforms on Senate floor

February 13, 2014 in Blog

As we approach the February 18 House of Origin cutoff, bills are starting to fly off the floor of the House and the Senate. Two pension reform bills in the Senate could soon be among those moving. SB 5851 and SB 6305 are both currently on the floor.

Bill Would Require Health Coverage for Virtually All Part-Time Workers at Large Companies

February 13, 2014 in Blog

During this Legislative Session there has been no shortage of bills that would increase the cost of doing business in Washington and stymie job creation.

Halftime in Olympia: a look at the numbers and what’s next

February 11, 2014 in Blog

Today, February 11th is the 30th day or halfway point in this year’s 60-day legislative session. The deadline for committee action on policy bills in the house of origin hit Friday, February 7th, and the next deadline is Tuesday, February 18th, the last day each house can act on its own policy bills.

Leave Mandates Would Cost Businesses Over $1 Billion Annually

February 10, 2014 in Blog

During this Legislative Session, lawmakers in the House of Representatives considered two bills that would require employers to offer paid leave to workers. 

HB 1313 would require employers with 5 or more employees to pay employees for 5, 7 or 9 days of sick leave per year, depending on the size of the company.  This bill passed the House and will now be considered by the Senate.

Time for Legislature to live by open government rules

February 10, 2014 in Blog

With policy cutoff behind us the list of living and walking dead bills (nothing is really dead till sine die) is being compiled. Among the proposals that didn't even receive a hearing, however, is a bill based on WPC's recommendation for the Legislature to truly provide Washingtonians the opportunity to participate in the legislative debate while also ensuring lawmakers live by the same open government rules the rest of the state's public officials operate under.