Washington Policy Blog

Will the state Supreme Court Jump the Shark?

September 11, 2014 in Blog

Responding to today's unanimous contempt order against the Legislature by the State Supreme Court Governor Inslee said: "This unprecedented action by the Supreme Court is a critical moment in our history."

Everything about this statement is true. Not only is the Court's contempt order against a co-equal branch of government unprecedented but what may come next could lead to a doomsday scenario against voters.

Superintendent Dorn changes stance on charter schools

September 11, 2014 in Blog

Superintendent Randy Dorn, who has long opposed charter schools and campaigned against the 2012 voter-approved measure that ended the state ban on charters, now cites them among important education reforms enacted in recent years.

EPA and Ecology Contradict Governor on Ocean Acidification

September 10, 2014 in Blog

It has become Exhibit A for the claim that climate change is "already here." Ocean acidification, with increased atmospheric CO2 being absorbed by the ocean and reducing the pH (i.e. acidifying) of the water, is frequently cited by the Governor and others, pushing their particular climate policy.

Just last month, The New York Times highlighted the Governor's message on acidification and oysters:

King County officials propose raise to “highest paid in the nation” Metro employees

September 9, 2014 in Blog

Executives at the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 587 announced recently they had secured proposed pay raises for their public employee members, who reportedly are already the highest paid in the nation.  Workers will vote September 10th on whether to accept the offered pay raises.   The plan would increases wages by 2% over three years.

 In announcing the proposed agreement one executive reported about maintenance workers:

Why are local schools short of money when school district budgets are going up?

September 5, 2014 in Blog

A mom in Seattle contacted me recently and asked how much money her children’s school, Blaine K-8, receives from the Seattle School District.  I looked it up and we were both stunned to discover how little funding, barely half, reaches a typical neighborhood school out of the central budget.

Many people wonder how education budgets can keep rising while local schools remain chronically short of money, so thought I would share my findings with my readers.

Governor Blames Lack of Education Funding on the Nation’s Highest Minimum Wage

September 5, 2014 in Blog

Yesterday Governor Inslee held a general press conference where he discussed the economic state of Washington and the ongoing effort to fund education to satisfy the state Supreme Court’s McCleary decision.

In a new twist, the Governor blamed the state’s failure to fund education to the Court’s satisfaction on too many workers in our state earning the state minimum wage of $9.32 an hour.  This is the highest minimum wage of any state in the nation. 

Union requires photo ID to vote

September 3, 2014 in Blog

Activists on the Left strongly oppose voter photo ID laws, saying such laws and other efforts to protect the integrity of state and national elections suppress the vote and deny citizens access to the ballot box.

At the same time labor union executives, who give 90% of their organizations’ campaign money to Democratic candidates, require voters to present photo ID in union elections.

First charter school opens in Washington state

September 3, 2014 in Blog

Will serve 96 low-income and homeless children in central Seattle

Solutions to the Doctor Shortage

September 2, 2014 in Blog

The Seattle Times published an excellent article today outlining the crisis in rural health care delivery. All areas of the nation, but especially the smaller communities, face a real shortage in primary care providers.

King County Metro Transit sees windfall sales tax revenue, surge in money exceeds estimates

August 29, 2014 in Blog

The news keeps getting better at King County Metro Transit. Metro officials are the beneficiaries of record-breaking sales tax revenues, and are seeing large tax windfalls that were unthinkable just two years ago. Back then, Metro executives assumed their sales tax revenues would grow at a meager pace, and they planned to impose harsh bus cuts in many communities unless they raised taxes. However, a rebounding economy and swelling coffers should allow officials to keep bus service on the road without regressive tax increases.

A Real World Example of How a Free Labor Market Works

August 28, 2014 in Blog

A story today in The News Tribune demonstrates how the free market works and why government does not need to control the wages a business pays its workers. 

Torklift International, a manufacturer of recreational vehicle parts and accessories in Sumner, has decided to raise the wages of its 55 employees to $15 an hour.  The company made this decision voluntarily, because it was a good decision for their business.

Study: Take-Home Pay Buys More in Right-to-Work States

August 28, 2014 in Blog

A study released by the respected Tax Foundation last week ranks Washington among the top 10 most expensive states in which to live.  The study calculates the real buying power of $100 in each state to measure the true cost of living. 

Greens: There is No War on Cars...They're Just Evil

August 27, 2014 in Blog

The Sightline Institute praised Seattle's transportation chief's recent comments rejecting the notion of a "war on cars." They tweeted their approval this morning.

School district letters inadequately notify parents about their federal right to school choice and free tutoring

August 22, 2014 in Blog

School administrators across Washington are sending letters this week informing parents that families may now have the right to choose a better school and get free tutoring for their children under the federal No Child Left Behind law. Many school officials, however, are reluctant to explain the matter clearly to parents. 

Is Occupational Licensing is the New Poster Child for Regulatory Reform?

August 21, 2014 in Blog

Yesterday Congressman Sam Graves (MO), who chairs the Committee on Small Business in the U.S. House of Representatives, sent a letter to the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy asking the agency to study the “rise of occupational licensing across states and the economic effects of licensing on entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs.”