Washington Policy Blog

No transportation package this year, lawmakers announce

December 18, 2013 in Blog

Governor Inslee and House and Senate negotiators recently announced that they will continue talks on a transportation tax package during the regular session beginning January 13, 2014.

The press release follows:

Joint Statement issued tonight from Governor Jay Inslee and the bipartisan House and Senate transportation negotiators on the next phase of  transportation revenue package negotiations

 

Seattle City Council’s Taxi & Rideshare plan stifles innovation

December 18, 2013 in Blog

The Seattle City Council’s Taxi, For Hire, and Limousine Committee recently unveiled draft plans for a two year rideshare pilot program to regulate the spate of new companies that offer citizens an alternative to driving and traditional taxi services. The city’s proposal, echoing century-old regulations on taxicabs, stifles innovation and unfairly picks winners and losers.

No "New" Health Insurance Break for Small Employers

December 18, 2013 in Blog

The Obama Administration and leading Washington state Democrats are now promoting a "new" plan that allows employers to purchase employee health insurance with federal tax credits. This is being advertized as a one-year stop-gap measure to give employers financial releif until the the SHOP program is up and running state-wide in 2015.

Washington Post under-reports Washington state teacher salaries

December 17, 2013 in Blog

Two days ago the Washington Post published a map of the states showing average teacher pay in the 50 states. The map reports teachers in Washington state receive an average estimated salary of only $53,571.   

Estate Taxes - An Unintended Consequence of Obamacare

December 16, 2013 in Blog

Medicaid began in 1965 as a health insurance entitlement for poor children and their families. Over the past 48 years, the program expanded to include disabled adults and long-term care. Today in the legacy Medicaid, 25% of enrollees are disabled and long-term care adults, but these people account for 75% of the cost of the overall program.

McCleary Decision is not about spending money, but about improving schools, say Senate leaders

December 13, 2013 in Blog

On Tuesday, the Majority Coalition Caucus held a press conference to announce their plans for the 2014 Legislative Session.  When a reporter asked what plan A is for the Majority Coalition Caucus, Senator Tom said:

Sound Transit says University Link may open early, after a decade of delay

December 12, 2013 in Blog

In 1996, voters approved Sound Transit’s 10 year plan for a light rail system that would stretch from Seatac to the University of Washington. In 2009, thirteen years later, the initial segment opened from Seatac to Downtown Seattle. The 3.1 mile light rail connector from Downtown to the University, called University Link, is planned to open in 2016.  

$15 Minimum Wage Initiative Filed in Seattle

December 12, 2013 in Blog

Despite Seattle mayor-elect Ed Murray’s hope that a $15 minimum wage would be decided by the Seattle City Council and not by voters, an initiative was filed today with the City of Seattle Clerk’s Office to establish new minimum wage rates.  In a twist, the initiative also would also lower the City’s Square Footage Business Tax and Business & Occupation Tax on employers.

Judge Rietschel approves charter school law

December 12, 2013 in Blog

This morning Judge Jean Rietschel upheld Initiative 1240, the voters’ charter school law, clearing the way for Washington’s first charter schools to open next fall.  Her ruling rejects claims made by Washington Education Association, the state teachers union, and the League of Women Voters, that Initiative 1240 violates the state constitution.

House Finance Committee discusses B&O reform

December 11, 2013 in Blog

The House Finance Committee continued its important interim work discussing the state's tax structure by holding a work session yesterday on ways to reform the B&O tax. Earlier this year the Committee discussed what the principles of the state's tax system should be.

Kirkland Staff Report Advocating Plastic Bag Ban Cites Social Media as Scientific Source

December 7, 2013 in Blog

Last month, Kirkland City staff released a report advocating a ban on plastic grocery bags, arguing "single-use plastic bags have proven to be detrimental to our environment and a drain on our non-renewable natural resources." The report argues a ban achieves the greatest balance of business, environmental and public benefits.

Two Superintendents receive top salaries, and complain about money

December 6, 2013 in Blog

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, while the rest of us were giving thanks, two Tacoma-area two school superintendents, Patti Banks of University Place and Frank Hewins of the Franklin Pierce School Districts, were complaining that taxpayers were not giving them enough money.  Their editorial complains they can't adequately educate the children entrusted to them because Tacoma-area families don't pay enough in taxes, compared to people in Seattle, which they say give school officials

Another $15 Minimum Wage Battle Headed for the Ballot?

December 5, 2013 in Blog

The City of Seattle is giving every indication it plans to follow the City of SeaTac’s footsteps and increase the minimum wage for at least some workers in the City to a whopping $15 per hour.  

Other transit agencies add hours without new taxes; King County Metro keeps plan to cut

December 5, 2013 in Blog

Both Pierce Transit and Community Transit plan to add service hours without raising taxes. Community Transit is adding 2,500 new hours without new taxes, living within their means. However, the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus (MCC) proposal to give Community Transit higher tax authority is still on the table.

Follow up to previous blog: Commissioner Kreidler and the problems with Obamacare implementation in Washington state

December 4, 2013 in Blog

Having received several responses to the previous blog posted by Paul Guppy, Vice President for Research, one Washington resident wanted to share his personal story.