Today Governor Inslee unveiled his “Working Washington Agenda,” a package of “legislative proposals to create and sustain a thriving economic climate.” In a press conference, the governor claimed his plan will “create a positive climate for job growth” and “give Washingtonians the tools to get back to work.”
Just hours before Governor Jay Inslee holds a press conference to unveil his “Washington Jobs Agenda,” his “legislative proposals to create and sustain a thriving economic climate,” the House Labor & Workforce Development Committee this morning passed two bills that would do more to kill jobs and strangle the economy than any legislation in recent history.
Last week the House Environment Committee in Olympia considered HB 1294 which would ban a certain type of flame-retardant compound and create a process for identifying alternatives. Supporters of the legislation argue this will get us off the "toxic treadmill" of moving from one risky compound to the next.
The Senate Ways and Means Committee has scheduled public hearings for various tax increase bills on Valentine's Day next week (2/14). If all the bills were adopted, the projected 10-year tax increase would exceed $38 billion.
That's a whole lot of love for taxpayers’ wallets but may not be the love letter Washingtonians were expecting in this tough economic climate.
Here are the 10-year tax increase projections for the bills according to the Office of Financial Management:
Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom (D-Bellevue), spoke eloquently today on education reform and presented encouraging ideas for change. After noting that the large increases in education spending over the last eight years have resulted in flat graduation rates and a widening opportunity gap, Senator Tom said:
"We don't want to come back to parents, students, and others saying, 'We failed you for another eight years because all we did was put more money into the system.' It is not about money..."
Medicaid began in 1965 as a government safety net for poor children and their families. It expanded over the past 47 years to include disabled individuals and patients needing long term care. In 1975, 10 percent of Americans were enrolled in Medicaid. This number increased to 20 percent last year.
The Senate Government Operations Committee will hold a public hearing tomorrow (2/7) on three proposed constitutional amendments to cement the voters consistent support for requiring a supermajority vote to raise taxes.
Voters in Washington have enacted or affirmed the two-thirds vote requirement for tax increases five times during the past 20 years:
Peter Callaghan has an insightful article in the Tacoma News Tribune on the state of education reform today. Interestingly, Callaghan notes that at first Democratic governors led efforts to challenge the status quo of mediocre public schools back in the 1980s. Yet today, as reactionary unions remain the primary obstacle to reform, the most exciting education ideas are now coming from coalitions of concerned people from the center and the center right.
Two bills were introduced in the House today that would improve the transparency of the state's various budgets (operating, capital and transportation).
HB 1721 proposed by Representatives Pike, Alexander, Wilcox, Harris, Crouse and Overstreet would create a 72-hour timeout before votes could occur on appropriation bills. According to the intent section of HB 1721:
Tomorrow, the House Environment Committee will consider HB 1294, the latest ban on flame-retardant compounds. The bill would ban a compound called Tris and would give the Department of Ecology the authority to ban future flame-retardants "unless a manufacturer demonstrates that there is not a technically feasible safer alternative to the flame retardant."
Proposition 2 may be a controversial idea to the politicians and special interest groups who want to increase taxes, but it is not a controversial idea to the people of the Spokane area. We have approved the state-level requirement five times already.
Voters have a long history of strongly supporting a higher threshold to increase the financial burden public officials can place on citizens. Perhaps that is why opponents of Proposition 2 are so angry.