The Washington state legislature legalized Association Health Plans (AHPs) in 1995. The idea was to allow employers with 50 or fewer empoyees to buy high quality and affordable health insurance in the "large group market." Small employers could band together and form an AHP as long as they were in related industries.
They say that if you want to make an announcement that won’t be noticed, post the notice on an obscure website and schedule the hearing the day after a holiday weekend. That’s just what Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn did when he issued his plan to impose 119 pages of administrative rules on public charter schools and the families that support them.
Things will get a bit easier for rideshare drivers and their customers under a bill Governor Inslee signed into law last week. Senate Bill 5550, originally sponsored by Senators Cyrus Habib and Joe Fain, provides a statewide structure of insurance requirements for rideshare companies to allow rideshare expansion across the state. WPC provided analysis on the bill back in February.
Education leader Rep. Chad Magendanz has released an informative chart (below), based on OSPI data, showing that teachers on average are not underpaid, but make well above the median household income in our state.
The numbers show that on average teachers make more than the taxpaying working families who pay their salaries. The teacher salary figures are for a ten-month work year, while most people earn their income over twelve months.
San Francisco’s harsh $15 minimum wage law is hurting a well-know comic book store in the city. The owner of Comix Experience, Brian Hibbs, says he supports a living wage in concept, but the tough new law will require $80,000 in extra revenue each year. “My jaw dropped. Eighty-thousand a year! I didn’t know that. I thought we were talking a small amount of money, something I could absorb,” he says.
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: