Things will get a bit easier for rideshare drivers and their customers under a bill Governor Inslee signed into law last week. Senate Bill 5550, originally sponsored by Senators Cyrus Habib and Joe Fain, provides a statewide structure of insurance requirements for rideshare companies to allow rideshare expansion across the state. WPC provided analysis on the bill back in February.
Education leader Rep. Chad Magendanz has released an informative chart (below), based on OSPI data, showing that teachers on average are not underpaid, but make well above the median household income in our state.
The numbers show that on average teachers make more than the taxpaying working families who pay their salaries. The teacher salary figures are for a ten-month work year, while most people earn their income over twelve months.
San Francisco’s harsh $15 minimum wage law is hurting a well-know comic book store in the city. The owner of Comix Experience, Brian Hibbs, says he supports a living wage in concept, but the tough new law will require $80,000 in extra revenue each year. “My jaw dropped. Eighty-thousand a year! I didn’t know that. I thought we were talking a small amount of money, something I could absorb,” he says.
Yesterday state employees held a coordinated lunch time "unity break" to encourage lawmakers to ratify the contracts that were secretly negotiated behind closed doors last summer with Governor Inslee. As a side note, there was a striking (no pun intended) contrast between the ongoing illegal teacher strikes and yesterday's “unity break” by state workers. State workers showed there is a way to protest while showing up for work and not disrupting public services - something other public servants should take note of.
When it comes to popular branding of our two major political parties, one message has been consistent for years: Republicans generally oppose tax increases.
Voters concerned about the rising financial burden that elected officials place on families in our state would usually look to Republicans for tax relief. Now Tim Eyman is chiding Republican lawmakers for risking loss of their no-more-taxes reputation, fearing they are being set up for a “tax trap” in the current special session. In his latest mass e-mail Eyman argues:
With not much progress to date on budget negotiations during the special session, yesterday's $415 million increase in forecasted revenue may just be what lawmakers need to wrap up their work. According to the state's Economic Revenue Forecast Council:
Having failed to garner enough support from House Democrats, the Governor’s cap-and-trade bill now enters what has become a traditional phase for cap-and-trade legislation: the Big Buyoff. A new version of the cap-and-trade proposal was released this week, this time with hundreds of millions of dollars intended for selected industries to earn the votes of particular representatives.
This is a familiar pattern for cap-and-trade. The examples are plentiful.
Today is the 15th day of the 30-day special session that started on April 29th in Olympia, State lawmakers are continuing work on forging a 2015-17 spending plan, a transportation budget and education funding reforms.
Yesterday I blogged how actor James Franco is praising McDonalds for its readily-available and low-skill jobs. Franco recounts how, as a struggling actor, he was desperate to earn money. He had few skills (he had been fired from his previous jobs) and just needed a way to make some cash: “…just like their [McDonalds] food, the job was more available there than anywhere else. When I was hungry for work, they fed the need."
Sound Transit’s demands for new taxing authority have become a sticking point in the debate in the legislature over a new transportation package. Sound Transit officials want an estimated $15 billion in new taxing authority. They want a 0.5% increase in Sound Transit’s sales tax authority, to a total of 1.4% (which would bring the total sales tax rate in Seattle to 10.1%), a 0.8% increase in the Motor Vehicle Excise Tax authority to a total of 1.1%, and a property tax increase of .25 per $1,000 of assessed value ($100/year on a $400,000 house).