Washington Policy Blog

Latest McCleary Order: Supreme Court judges propose state education budgets for 2014-2018

January 9, 2014 in Blog

                Today, Washington’s supreme court judges issued a court order that proposes education budgets for the school years 2014-18.  The judges gave only passing recognition to lawmakers and taxpayers for already adding $1.6 billion to public school spending, for a total of $15.2 billion, compared to the last state education budget. 

Sound Transit officials carefully select information for children's train exhibit

January 9, 2014 in Blog

Two years ago, WPC’s Center for Transportation found that Sound Transit officials planned to groom kids as young as five years old to favor, and someday vote for, buses and trains. Sound Transit officials had sought contracts with consultants that had “relevant experience in the K-12 education environment to assist…in shaping an initiative to support and encourage educators to incorporate transit-related topics in student learning.”

State Study Shows New Businesses Paying Entry-Level Wages are the Job Creators in Washington

January 9, 2014 in Blog

The state Employment Security Department’s (ESD) most recent report on job vacancies and new hiring showed a welcome increase in hiring in 2013.  An official with ESD said, “the employment picture in early 2013 was the strongest and most optimistic we’ve seen in several years.” 

Governor Wants to Have “Conversation” About Increasing State’s Minimum Wage

January 8, 2014 in Blog

On the heels of a new law requiring some employers in the City of SeaTac to pay a $15 per hour minimum wage and Seattle giving every indication a similar wage will be mandated in that city, the Governor has signaled his support for increasing the state’s minimum wage.

Anatomy of a budget gimmick

January 8, 2014 in Blog

When the Governor announced his first full budget proposal (his 2013-15 proposal was an outline) on December 17 releasing his recommended 2014 supplemental budget, I was very curious to see how it would comply with the state's spending limit. After careful review, it looks like it doesn't.

Climate Policy in Washington: Comparing the Republican and Democratic Proposals

January 8, 2014 in Blog

After months of study and discussion, the Republicans and Democrats of the Climate Legislative Executive Workgroup (CLEW) in Olympia released two different draft proposals designed to cut Washington's carbon emissions.

The two approaches are quite different but both claim to meet a standard of environmental effectiveness. For example, the proposal offered by Gov. Jay Inslee, Sen. Kevin Ranker (D-Orcas Island) and Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (D-Burien) claims:

New Puget Sound Partnership Director Faces Big Challenge

January 7, 2014 in Blog

Today, Governor Inslee announced the appointment of Sheida Sahandy as the new Executive Director of the Puget Sound Partnership. Sahandy comes from the City of Bellevue and PSP Chair Martha Kongsgaard noted that while in Bellevue, Sahandy "created the City’s first suite of environmental indicators and targets." This is similar to the PSP's approach of using "Vital Signs," with targets for 2020.

2013 Solutions Summit Transportation Video

January 6, 2014 in Blog

The Center for Transportation's Solution Summit Pasco session has been posted online.

The Transportation session featured Dr. Ron Utt, former Senior Fellow at The Heritage Foundation, and Senator Doug Ericksen (R-42nd). 

Missing public records and "harassing requesters"

January 6, 2014 in Blog

During the heat of the debate last year on HB 1128 and whether or not government entities should be able to sue citizens to keep from disclosing public records, the Washington Coalition for Open Government (WCOG) sent out a public records request to determine the extent of any problem facing local governments concerning compliance with the people's right to know.

Those opposed to supermajority requirements, now propose their own

January 6, 2014 in Blog

The president of the Spokane City Council Ben Stuckart has joined the list of politicians who have apparently flipped positions on supermajority vote requirements.

A year ago, he strongly opposed Washington Policy Center’s recommendation that Spokane taxpayers have the benefit of a supermajority requirement to raise taxes at the local level. It’s an idea WPC has long supported at both the state and local level.

Medicaid Increases the Number of Emergency Room Visits

January 5, 2014 in Blog

Researchers conducting the Oregon Medicaid study released more results last week. It turns out that having Medicaid health insurance actually increases emergency room visits by 40 percent.

JLARC releases guidance for drafting tax preference performance statements

January 3, 2014 in Blog

Last year the Legislature passed a requirement for bills creating or expanding tax preferences to include a performance statement to identify the expected outcome for the policy change. We were very happy to work with Rep. Carlyle, Chair of the House Finance Committee, on this concept.

The most important vote of 2014 - Boeing 777X contract

January 2, 2014 in Blog

Although 2014 is a general election year with control of the Legislature up for grabs and still unknown ballot measures yet to qualify, perhaps the most important vote of the year will be tomorrow on Boeing's 777X contract offer. Not only does this union vote have the potential to impact tens of thousands of jobs, but it could dramatically change the state's fiscal outlook, not to mention its economic psyche.

More Obamacare Exemptions and Delays

December 20, 2013 in Blog

The Obama Administration continues to lurch from one fix to another as the Obamacare trainwreck barrels down the tracks. The latest came yesterday when officials declared that people with cancelled health insurance could purchase simple catastrophic plans for one year on a "hardship" exemption.

Politics are More Fun Than Climate Leadership

December 20, 2013 in Blog

It is a familiar pattern. Politicians promise to take a science-based approach to climate policy only to ditch the science and data for partisan politics and feel-good rhetoric when deadlines draw near.

In his editorial board meeting with the Olympian, Governor Inslee had this to say about the climate policy he wants: