Washington Policy Blog

Verizon’s brilliant response to net neutrality vote

February 27, 2015 in Blog

Wireless provider Verizon posted a pointed blog yesterday responding to the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to regulate the Internet.

C-Tran should be more accountable to voters

February 26, 2015 in Blog

Senate Bill 5187 would restrict Clark County’s transit agency, C-Tran, from allocating time and money to plan light rail projects that have already been rejected by voters. Only if voters approve the plan at a later date would C-Tran be allowed to devote resources toward light rail.

Should volatile capital gains taxes be relied on to fund the state's "paramount duty"?

February 26, 2015 in Blog

In our prior blog post we looked at the volatility of capital gains taxes and how California adopted a constitutional amendment to force more savings of its revenue from that source versus spending it to reduce the state's rollercoaster budgeting.

New projection shows state revenue to increase by more than $3 billion; lawmakers turn their attention to budget, education, and transportation bills

February 25, 2015 in Blog

More than 800 of the 2,311 legislative measures introduced to date failed to survive last Friday’s deadline for passing non-budget bills out of committee. Barring extraordinary circumstances, these bills will not see action this year.

This leaves 1,489 bills for lawmakers to consider before the next legislative deadline on March 11th, the day on which either the House or the Senate must pass a bill for it to survive, except for measures related to the budget or transportation.

How Senator Liias can increase teacher pay without raising taxes

February 25, 2015 in Blog

Senator Marko Liias (D-Lynnwood) has released a new edition of his Washington White Board video series, arguing that state officials pay entry-level public school teachers so little they qualify for public assistance.  Senator Liias has also introduced a bill to create a state income tax.

WSU economic study shows Cap-and-Trade costs for gasoline will be borne entirely by consumers

February 25, 2015 in Blog

One of the ongoing debates about Governor Inslee's cap-and-trade proposal is who will end up paying the billions of dollars a year in new costs associated with the proposed system.

Are capital gains taxes "secure and stable" or highly volatile?

February 25, 2015 in Blog

When releasing his 2015-17 budget plan Governor Inslee said, “We have a very solid, fiscally sound, secure and stable way of financing everything I’ve talked about today." Among the new taxes he proposes to fulfill this statement is a 7% capital gains tax to generate an estimated $798 million.

Union executives launch campaign to lobby for state salary increase

February 24, 2015 in Blog

Top executives at the WSFE/AFSCME Council 28 union launched a major lobbying campaign today to urge lawmakers to vote an additional $440 million for public employee salaries. The across-the-board boost would be in addition to promotions and automatic step increases state employees already receive. 

Senate committee acts on transportation bills, other committees working to pass legislation before today’s deadline

February 20, 2015 in Blog

Today, February 20th, is the deadline for committees to pass non-budget bills to keep them moving through the House and Senate, creating a flurry of activity to meet the first of a series of legislative cut-off dates.

After today, lawmakers can introduce no more non-budget bills this year, except through special parliamentary rules that would require the consent of a majority of legislators.

Let’s make sure teachers get the classroom support they need

February 20, 2015 in Blog

In a new video posted over at The Stand, the union online newsletter, public school math teacher Mrs.

Under Senate Bill 5992, saving money on ferries would be difficult

February 19, 2015 in Blog

Senate Bill 5992 is one of eight transportation package reform bills introduced in the state Senate last week. The goal of the reform bill is to reduce the cost of ferries by introducing an open bidding procurement model similar to the proven method that has benefited British Columbian taxpayers.

Lawmakers consider bills on death penalty, ticket scalping, and school bonds this week

February 18, 2015 in Blog

This week is the deadline for the state House and Senate to pass bills in most policy committees. Any non-budget bill not passed in committee by the end of Friday will be considered dead for the year. Bills that affect the 2015-17 budget are exempt from the “cut-off” deadline. If there are enough votes, however, lawmakers can revive any measure later through special parliamentary procedures

B&O tax reform bill would exempt nearly 286,000 small businesses from tax

February 18, 2015 in Blog

A major B&O (Business & Occupation) tax reform proposal was introduced today by Rep. MacEwen. The proposal (HB 2150) is a variation of the Single Business Tax WPC first proposed in 2010.

Governor Inslee explains why he broke his promise not to raise taxes

February 17, 2015 in Blog

As most people know, Governor Inslee has broken his promise that, if elected, he would not raise taxes.  His latest budget proposal includes a number of tax increases, and would permanently add new ways to tax people under state law.  The new revenue would be in addition to the extra $3 billion the state is collecting under current tax rates.

100 Seattle jobs move to Nevada, $15 wage a reason

February 17, 2015 in Blog

A Seattle company has announced it is moving 100 jobs to Nevada.  Cascade Designs, which make outdoor equipment, says Seattle is simply “too expensive” to continue to grow the business in a cost efficient way.   Citing the city’s new $15 minimum wage as one of the cost drivers, the company says many of its competitors use overseas labor that is significantly cheaper.