Washington Policy Blog

Liberal Think Tank Says Obamacare Employer Mandate is "Regressive" and Should Be Scrapped

May 14, 2014 in Blog

At WPC’s annual Health Care Conference yesterday, panels of experts discussed the impacts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on individuals, employers, insurers and providers.  A common theme throughout the presentations and Q&A sessions centered on the uncertainty of how employers will respond once the controversial employer mandate begins to take effect next year.

The controversy, confusion and uncertainty over the new requirements has prompted the Obama Administration to delay implementation of the employer mandate and soften requirements during the first year.

Cities in King County may target drivers to pay for bus service under new plan

May 12, 2014 in Blog

At a press conference today, King County Executive Dow Constantine announced a plan to allow cities or groups of cities to purchase bus service to avoid service cuts.

National Small Business Week Proclamation Touts Obama Administration’s Accomplishments More Than Small Businesses'

May 12, 2014 in Blog

Today is the start of National Small Business Week, whereby government officials pay the usual platitudes to small businesses and their importance to our nation’s economy.  Throughout the week, the Small Business Administration (SBA) will hold events and festivities in cities around the country to celebrate the small business owners who drive innovation and create jobs.

New Study Reveals High Costs and Job Losses With Seattle’s $15 Minimum Wage

May 9, 2014 in Blog

A new, independent study from a Seattle economist reveals the impact of a $15 minimum wage in Seattle may be much greater than indicated in a University of Washington study requested and funded by the Seattle City Council.

George Will explains the Common Core in one minute

May 8, 2014 in Blog

As we’ve seen, Common Core is meeting increasing resistance from parents and educators across the country.  George Will explains why.

Legislative survey says: Remote testimony is a winner

May 7, 2014 in Blog

Washington State University has released the results of the "2013 Washington State Legislative Service Survey and the Washington State Governance Series." Based on the answers of lawmakers, legislative staff and lobbyists, WPC's recommendation for remote testimony options for citizens is a clear winner.

Marijuana, Lean management and public records best practices

May 7, 2014 in Blog

No, that's not the opening line of a joke but instead an example of how the (now misnamed) Washington State Liquor Control Board (LCB) is improving access to public records. According to Governor Inslee's Results Washington process, the Liquor Control Board has made progress using Lean management to improve its response time to growing public records requests as a result of the state's legalization of marijuana.

Benton County Proposition 14-5: Sales tax increase but no performance audits?

May 6, 2014 in Blog

Washington Policy Center calls on King County leaders to protect bus services

May 5, 2014 in Blog

Erica C. Barnett over at Publicola criticizes Washington Policy Center for proposing ways King County leaders can protect Metro bus service from the cuts they plan to impose on local communities. Erica doesn’t like our ideas for saving bus service (and that’s ok), but she doesn’t offer any of her own.

Seattle Times Editorial urges look at tribal gas tax agreements

May 5, 2014 in Blog

Last week, The Seattle Times editorial board suggested the state Supreme Court should look into gas tax diversion. According to their editorial, former State Auditor Brian Sonntag looked at tribal agreements for fuel tax refunds he says the tribes aren’t eligible for. At tribal gas pumps, gas taxes are paid by the wholesaler, not the tribe.

Benton County Citizen Advisory Committee Recommends Sales Tax Increase and Performance Audits

May 5, 2014 in Blog

In my prior post I highlighted the details of Benton County Proposition 14-5, a proposal on the county's August ballot to increase the local sales tax rate by 0.3% raising approximately $9 million per year for public safety spending. The proposed sales tax increase came from the recommendations of a Citizen Advisory Committee that was created to study the county's public safety programs.

In Seattle, 15Now! becomes 15Later!

May 1, 2014 in Blog

Mayor Ed Murray today announced his plan to impose a $15 minimum wage on Seattle’s economy.  The proposal appears to have near unanimous support from the mayors’ Income Inequality Advisory Committee and will likely be fast tracked by the Seattle City Council. 

Even If You Like Your Employer-sponsored Health Insurance, You Probably Won't Be Able To Keep It

May 1, 2014 in Blog

Almost half the people in the U.S. have employer-sponsored health insurance. The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, taxes or fines employers with more than 49 employees if they don't provide health insurance to their employees. The financial penalty is set at either $2,000 or $3,000 per employee per year, depending on whether the employer offers health benefits. Both numbers are significantly less than the cost of the average employee health insurance plan.

Governor's Executive Order prioritizes political control over environmental effectiveness

April 29, 2014 in Blog

Three things stand out about the Executive Order Governor Inslee issued today.

First, the Executive Order contradicts itself.  Governor Inslee calls for an emphasis on the environmental effectiveness of various strategies, then he orders the expansion of two strategies the Governor’s own analysis shows are the least effective: solar panels and so-called “coal by wire.”

In new report, lawmakers cite separation of powers debate in McCleary case

April 29, 2014 in Blog

Today at 2:00 p.m., the Joint Select Committee on Article IX Litigation of the Washington State Legislature (JSCAIXLWSL) sent a report to the Supreme Court in response to the justices’ latest order in the seven-year-old McCleary education funding case.