Washington Policy Blog

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.

King County leaders should call a timeout on bus cuts

April 29, 2014 in Blog

As King County officials come to terms with voters’ rejection of Proposition 1’s regressive tax increases, they are moving ahead with their earlier threats to cut bus services in neighborhoods across the county.  Less than a week after the election, County Executive Dow Constantine submitted his plans to impose service cuts.

King County leaders want to cut bus service, but that is not what people voted for when they defeated Proposition 1.

Union Exempted From Minimum Wage Initiative

April 28, 2014 in Blog

The organization behind the push for a $15 minimum wage in Seattle has announced it will begin collecting signatures to put a city charter amendment mandating the high wage on the ballot.  The group, 15 Now, needs 30,957 signatures to qualify the measure for the November ballot.

Greens Worry the Middle Class Is Shrinking, but Not Fast Enough

April 28, 2014 in Blog

"Already, according to the Global Footprint Network, if everyone were to suddenly consume as Americans do, we would need four more planets to provide the resources and absorb the wastes. Technological improvements alone will not change this; we need to consume less."
- John de Graaf,
Bellingham Herald.

Is the Momentum for a $15 Minimum Wage Ebbing?

April 25, 2014 in Blog

When voters approved an ordinance requiring certain employers in the City of SeaTac to pay a $15 minimum wage last year, supporters celebrated the victory and vowed to build on the momentum.  Seattle was quickly marked the next target, and city leaders eagerly jumped on the bandwagon, promising to increase the minimum wage for at least some workers in the city to $15.

Union’s defeat of teacher evaluation bill leads to loss of NCLB Waiver

April 24, 2014 in Blog

We all want Washington state to be first in education, but not like this.  Today Washington became the first state in the nation to lose its waiver under the No Child Left Behind Act.

U.S. Department of Education officials had long warned state leaders this would happen if the 2014 Legislature failed to include student performance on state standardized tests as one factor in teacher evaluations.

Insurance Commissioner Kreidler's New Rule

April 24, 2014 in Blog

Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler is in the process of creating a new rule for health insurance companies selling policies in the state exchange. (Here) In an interesting turn of events, hospitals and insurance companies are lining up together to oppose the ruling, but for very different reasons.

A bit of background is needed.

Washington Policy Center's statement on the defeat of King County Metro's Proposition 1

April 23, 2014 in Blog

Failure of the measure does not mean people want bus service cuts

Contact: Lisa Shin
(206) 937-9691
lshin [at] washingtonpolicy [dot] org

Seattle – Yesterday the people of King County soundly rejected increasing regressive taxes to provide more money to Metro transit, but that does not mean they want to cut bus services in local communities, as County leaders are threatening. 

Yes or No on King County’s Proposition 1, the public does not want bus cuts

April 22, 2014 in Blog

For several months now, King County Executive Dow Constantine, Councilmember Larry Phillips and other county leaders have told the public they will cut neighborhood bus routes if they do not receive more revenue from regressive taxes. King County officials say that without the new regressive taxes, they plan to cut 550,000 hours of bus service in many neighborhoods. Their planned cuts would fall hardest in many low-income neighborhoods across the county.

Labor dispute may cost state $17 million; the earliest the tunneling machine could be fixed is March 2015

April 22, 2014 in Blog

According to Crosscut, the state may be on the hook for $17.6 million due to the labor dispute  that shut the tunnel project down for about a month. Last year, unions argued over four dirt hauling jobs that resulted in picket lines even though the Project Labor Agreement assured there would be no labor unrest.

On Earth Day, Seattle Prioritizes Political Results Over Environmental Effectiveness

April 22, 2014 in Blog

Today is Earth Day and Crosscut has our piece highlighting the free-market approach to environmental policy. You can also hear my short interview on KUOW about the conservative approach to environmental policy.

Latest McCleary order may be repeating the failures of the 1970s Doran decision

April 21, 2014 in Blog

In January, the state Supreme Court handed down a new order in the 2012 McCleary case that reads almost like a line-by-line budget, as I wrote here. This 2014 order represents a significant shift in approach compared with the court’s original McCleary decision, which held that the Legislature had not fully funded education.

Audit requested by WPC on Columbia River Crossing project released by Auditor’s Office

April 18, 2014 in Blog

The State Auditor’s Office released the results from a WPC-requested audit on the Columbia River Crossing project a few days ago.