Washington Policy Blog

Governor Inslee on McCleary and tax increases: 2012 versus 2014

November 7, 2014 in Blog

At a post election press conference earlier this week Governor Inslee was asked about his 2012 campaign promise not to ask for tax increases and how that squares with his new calls for tax increases to address the McCleary K-12 funding ruling. When asked what changed since 2012 the Governor said on Wednesday:

Another Victory for Right-to-Work: Indiana Supreme Court Rejects Union Lawsuit

November 7, 2014 in Blog

The Indiana Supreme Court has dealt another blow to unions desperate to turn back existing right-to-work laws and stop them from spreading to other states.  Yesterday the Court unanimously rejected a lawsuit by unions to have the state’s recently passed right-to-work law found unconstitutional.

WPC on I-1351 after day two of ballot returns

November 6, 2014 in Blog

After day two of ballot returns from Election Day, WPC is closely watching the result trends of Initiative 1351, the class size initiative. Below you will find our statement on the ballot returns for I-1351.

Repeal or Reform Obamacare?

November 6, 2014 in Blog

Republicans will control the U.S. Senate next session. The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, remains unpopular with Americans and the issue for the G.O.P. will be to repeal or reform the law. With President Obama in the White House until 2016, the chance for repeal is virtually zero. The Republicans don't have enough votes to override a presidential veto.

What Did the Time and Money Spent on the Climate March Achieve? Nothing.

November 5, 2014 in Blog

Two months ago, environmental groups like Climate Solutions were predicting the Climate March would "change everything," making climate change a key issue in the election and for the public.

Labor Files Lawsuit in Wisconsin Demanding a Higher Minimum Wage

November 5, 2014 in Blog

A labor union-backed group in Wisconsin has filed a lawsuit demanding Governor Scott Walker unilaterally increase the state’s current minimum wage of $7.25.

And the election winner is . . . To be determined

November 3, 2014 in Blog

Voter turnout as of Saturday for the 2014 Election in Washington is a meager 24.4%. This means if we are to get anywhere close to the 62% forecast by the Secretary of State a flood of ballots will be hitting the mail in the next day. This likely means we'll be waiting several days to weeks to learn the winners of close races.

Justices receive political contributions from lead party in charter school lawsuit

October 31, 2014 in Blog

New research finds that some justices on the state supreme court have received political contributions from a lead party in a key lawsuit now before the court.

Parties in the case, League of Women Voters, Washington Education Association, et al vs State of Washington, are asking the court to strike down Washington’s charter school law, passed by voters in 2012, and bar children from attending a charter public school. 

WSU Project Reducing Gluten Toxicity Using Biotechnology Crops: A GMO Update

October 30, 2014 in Blog

This year, voters in Oregon will decide on a GMO labeling initiative similar to the one Washington residents turned down last year. During last year's campaign, we noted that Washington State University was developing a strain of wheat that would eliminate or greatly reduce the gluten toxicity. We thought it would be a good time to check in on the progress of this effort.

Will public employee pension costs cause your property taxes to increase?

October 30, 2014 in Blog

The House Finance Committee held a work session yesterday focused on the fiscal health of Washington's cities and counties. Among the presentations lawmakers heard was a pitch from the Washington Association of Counties to provide local governments more flexibility on existing tax sources while providing new tax options. One recommendation in particular of note from the Counties:

Ocean Acidification: Ecology Admits Science "Is Not There" to Claim Oyster Deaths

October 29, 2014 in Blog

Note: Prior to publication, we shared this with Ecology for factchecking and to verify our interpretation of our discussion. They offered some edits and we have included all of them in the text below.

One reason Seattle-area traffic is horrible – state officials do not consider congestion relief a priority

October 28, 2014 in Blog

The Seattle Times reported on this morning’s horrendous traffic jams, noting politics and policy choices are getting in the way of providing people with congestion relief. Transportation reporter Mike Lindblom noted, “Congestion relief is no longer an official top priority of Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT)” as it was in the past. In 2007 lawmakers re-prioritized transportation spending to achieve five goals with transportation money. They added a sixth in 2010.

A look at three claims being made about Initiative 1351

October 28, 2014 in Blog

Union executives have spent $3.5 million promoting Initiative 1351, because they stand to profit by up to $7.4 million a year in new member dues taken from public education budgets.  If it passes, they could double their “investment” in the first year.

Teacher cuts at Garfield High shows why families need more school choices

October 27, 2014 in Blog

Nine weeks after classes started, students at Garfield High School in Seattle learned last week that they will be losing one of their teachers.

Administrators at the state’s largest school district, overseen by Board President Sharon Peaslee and six other board members, informed Garfield and five other local schools they planned to take away one of their teachers.

Updated legislative tax survey results

October 23, 2014 in Blog

Earlier this month we published the results of our legislative tax survey that asked legislators and candidates the following question:

Survey question to lawmakers and candidates: Would you vote to allow the people of Washington to have the opportunity to vote on a state constitution amendment to require a supermajority vote in the Legislature to raise taxes?