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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.