Top executives at the WSFE/AFSCME Council 28 union launched a major lobbying campaign today to urge lawmakers to vote an additional $440 million for public employee salaries. The across-the-board boost would be in addition to promotions and automatic step increases state employees already receive.
As most people know, Governor Inslee has broken his promise that, if elected, he would not raise taxes. His latest budget proposal includes a number of tax increases, and would permanently add new ways to tax people under state law. The new revenue would be in addition to the extra $3 billion the state is collecting under current tax rates.
Finding: Washington state’s inflation-adjusted minimum wage is 125% higher today than when it started
One of the most common claims made for increasing the Washington state minimum wage is that its purchasing power has not kept up with inflation. Proponents say that if the national minimum wage had kept up with inflation it would be $10.88 an hour, not $7.25, as it is today. (Washington state’s minimum wage is $9.47, 30% higher than the federal minimum).
Max Nelson over at the Freedom Foundation has a good post today that pulls back the curtain on some of the insider tactics used by public sector unions to advance their political interests. Max got hold of the "Messaging Tips" sheet union executives give to their members when state workers lobby Olympia lawmakers for pay raises and increases in health care and pension benefits.
Governor Jay Inslee says state workers have not had a pay raise in six years. He is referring, however, to only one kind of pay raise, a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). Actually, nearly all state employees have received pay raises over the years, as automatic step increases and normal promotions, though not a formal COLA. By narrowly parsing his words, Governor Inslee is giving the public the impression that state workers have had no pay raise at all for six years.
Tiffany Turner, President of the Board at the left-leaning Washington State Budget and Policy Center announced today the departure of their long-serving and founding director, Remy Trupin. He will stay on during a transition period as the organization brings in new leadership.
We at Washington Policy Center always enjoy debating the issues and crunching the numbers, although from a different perspective, with our friends on the progressive side, all in the search for good policy ideas that serve the people of our state.
Saying that lack of transparency gave them "a huge political advantage," MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, who helped write the Affordable Care Act, told the audience (see below) at an October 17th, 2013 forum that hiding key purposes of the bill "was really, really critical to getting anything to pass." Gruber said he wished "we could make it all transparent...but I'd rather have this law than not."
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.
Superintendent Randy Dorn, who has long opposed charter schools and campaigned against the 2012 voter-approved measure that ended the state ban on charters, now cites them among important education reforms enacted in recent years.
Activists on the Left strongly oppose voter photo ID laws, saying such laws and other efforts to protect the integrity of state and national elections suppress the vote and deny citizens access to the ballot box.
At the same time labor union executives, who give 90% of their organizations’ campaign money to Democratic candidates, require voters to present photo ID in union elections.
An informative Spokesman-Review editorial today, citing figures from the state Office of Financial Management, notes that I-1351, the upcoming class-size initiative, would cost $4.7 billion through 2019, plus another $1.9 billion required from local school budgets. I-1351 includes no funding mechanism, so all this money would be taken from existing education programs, at a time when lawmakers are trying to comply with the McCleary decision on funding public education.
The latest in a series of secret summer sessions is scheduled for tomorrow in the Expo Center at the Thurston County Fairgrounds, 3054 Carpenter Road, in Lacey, according to the Washington State Federation of Employees (WFSE).
The clandestine budget meeting begins at 9:00 am Tuesday, and deliberations are to wrap-up by 5:00 pm Wednesday. Members of the public, the media, even state lawmakers, are barred from attending or observing the high-level talks.
When the Seattle City Council joyfully voted to increase the mandatory minimum wage (the city's price control on labor) to $15 an hour, it didn't take long for leaders in other cities to spot an opportunity. Editors at the Tri-City Herald say they have one word for Seattle businesses: “Welcome.” They even provide a confidential phone number. With brazen impertinence, they’re cooing...