Yesterday state employees held a coordinated lunch time "unity break" to encourage lawmakers to ratify the contracts that were secretly negotiated behind closed doors last summer with Governor Inslee. As a side note, there was a striking (no pun intended) contrast between the ongoing illegal teacher strikes and yesterday's “unity break” by state workers. State workers showed there is a way to protest while showing up for work and not disrupting public services - something other public servants should take note of.
When it comes to popular branding of our two major political parties, one message has been consistent for years: Republicans generally oppose tax increases.
Voters concerned about the rising financial burden that elected officials place on families in our state would usually look to Republicans for tax relief. Now Tim Eyman is chiding Republican lawmakers for risking loss of their no-more-taxes reputation, fearing they are being set up for a “tax trap” in the current special session. In his latest mass e-mail Eyman argues:
With not much progress to date on budget negotiations during the special session, yesterday's $415 million increase in forecasted revenue may just be what lawmakers need to wrap up their work. According to the state's Economic Revenue Forecast Council:
Having failed to garner enough support from House Democrats, the Governor’s cap-and-trade bill now enters what has become a traditional phase for cap-and-trade legislation: the Big Buyoff. A new version of the cap-and-trade proposal was released this week, this time with hundreds of millions of dollars intended for selected industries to earn the votes of particular representatives.
This is a familiar pattern for cap-and-trade. The examples are plentiful.
Today is the 15th day of the 30-day special session that started on April 29th in Olympia, State lawmakers are continuing work on forging a 2015-17 spending plan, a transportation budget and education funding reforms.
Yesterday I blogged how actor James Franco is praising McDonalds for its readily-available and low-skill jobs. Franco recounts how, as a struggling actor, he was desperate to earn money. He had few skills (he had been fired from his previous jobs) and just needed a way to make some cash: “…just like their [McDonalds] food, the job was more available there than anywhere else. When I was hungry for work, they fed the need."
Sound Transit’s demands for new taxing authority have become a sticking point in the debate in the legislature over a new transportation package. Sound Transit officials want an estimated $15 billion in new taxing authority. They want a 0.5% increase in Sound Transit’s sales tax authority, to a total of 1.4% (which would bring the total sales tax rate in Seattle to 10.1%), a 0.8% increase in the Motor Vehicle Excise Tax authority to a total of 1.1%, and a property tax increase of .25 per $1,000 of assessed value ($100/year on a $400,000 house).
Last night, teacher union executives called for extending their ongoing one-day strike actions to close more schools, expanding to the districts of Seattle, Snohomish, Lake Stevens and Franklin Pierce. Currently union executives are using strikes to close schools to 257,000 children, for the time being denying access to public education to one in four Washington students. Teachers union executives say they are using school closures as part of their effort to lobby state lawmakers for more in pay and benefits and for other spending increases.
Activists and elected officials in Seattle are pushing to get the city in the Internet provider business with municipal broadband. Mayor Ed Murray supports the idea of government-owned and operated broadband networks and has 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 ut
As Sound Transit officials prepare to take over the center lanes of I-90, their newest online advertisement asks the question, “What’s to do when we’re running out of roads?”(Their edited clip was originally from a video promoting highway building.) Unsurprisingly, their answer is to build light rail.
Math errors. Exaggerations. Phony metrics. Trickle-down economics. The recent e-mail from JJ McCoy of the Seattle Electric Vehicle Association to the legislature has it all.
Electric car advocates in Washington state are again asking for a sales tax break on top of the existing federal tax credit they receive of $7,500. Their sales tax break costs the state about $10 million a year. To put that in context, that is about one-quarter of the Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board’s annual funding.