A poll from Portland’s Moore Information shows Washington voters turning thumbs-down on tax hikes in a big way, 61-26, and favoring the Senate’s hold-the-line position on taxes 51-36 — even when the debate is explained. You can bet these numbers are going to figure in the Legislature’s upcoming debate on the budget.
Liquor Control Board Director Garza Rick Garza got the LCB director job. As hinted here last week, this is a logical and good choice for the cannabis rule-creation agency. Garza brings experience, Olympia insider status, and a good working relationship with the Guv. He raised a few screams when, during a House hearing, he claimed More »
What Is A Commodity Clearinghouse? For centuries commodities have been sold and distributed via auction or clearinghouse. The tuna auctions in Tokyo and the tulip auctions in Holland still exist in their purest form. The New York Stock Exchange and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, not surprisingly, evolved to become much more… but have the very More »
The State Health Benefit Exchange Board met in SeaTac on Wednesday and reluctantly voted to only offer small business group health insurance plans in two or three counties for its first year. There will still be a large number of small business plans statewide offered outside the Exchange. None of this impacts the individual health insurance market where there will be a robust number of plans available both inside and outside the exchange.
With these words Governor Jay Inslee opened the first meeting of the Climate Legislative and Executive Workgroup, a new committee created by SB 5802 — gubernatorial request legislation that passed the Legislature in March. The Governor quoted from the legislation, “The purpose of the work group is to recommend a state program of actions and policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, that if implemented would ensure achievement of the state’s emissions targets.”
Unemployed workers are eligible for up to 26 weeks of Regular unemployment insurance benefits and 37 weeks of federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC). But beginning on May 26, because of the federal budget cuts know as Sequestration, claimants will see their EUC benefits cut by 21.08% as they begin EUC or complete their current tier of benefits (the 37 weeks of EUC are divided in to three tiers).
Recently environmentalists have been claiming that coal dust poses an environmental risk to the region because coal transits the Northwest by rail. But there is no credible study to support this assertion, and I wonder what the true motivation for making such a claim might be.
By MIKE ELLIOTT | WSLC Stand
State Auditor Troy Kelley released a performance audit which found:
Washington’s financial management system does not efficiently meet agency or state needs because of fragmented, outmoded technology. As a result, state agencies have implemented numerous stand-alone components, which are redundant, and financial managers, agencies, and legislative staff do not have access to the real time financial information they need to make informed decisions.
By Jason Mercier | Washington Policy Center
The state just got some good news about the improving post-recession financial outlook of Washington’s workers’ compensation system. And that’s bad news for Republicans’ special-session effort to revive legislation expanding the controversial lump-sum buyouts of injured workers.
By David Groves | Washington State Labor Council/ The Stand
In a little less than three months, Washington State’s largest cities and counties must start following new rules on how to manage dirty runoff that washes toxic metals, oil and grease, fertilizers, and other pollution into our streams, lakes, and ocean.
By Sightline Daily
The House budget goes further than the Senate to preserve and strengthen state investments that protect seniors and children. On investments in clean air, water, and land, both the House and Senate make damaging cuts, but the Senate cuts to key environmental programs that maintain Washingtonians quality of life are far deeper.
By Kim Justice | Washington Budget & Policy Center
The House– and Senate– passed 2013–15 operating budgets each rely on shaky assumptions on revenues, savings, transfers from the capital budget, and reserves. Legislators’ special session goal must be a budget that doesn’t rely on one-time transfers, increased business costs, unrealizable savings, or drained reserves.
By Washington Research Council Policy Brief
In the coming days, this series, Special Legislative Session: The Big Picture, will look more closely at House and Senate budget proposals in each of the four value areas- economic security, thriving communities, healthy people and environment, and education and opportunity. The House plan clearly does a better job investing in our key values.
By Kim Justice | Washington Budget & Policy Center
What’s the best way to make a case for a carbon pollution tax to conservative audiences? Why not speak their language? Just listen to the outspoken conservatives who favor a tax on carbon pollution.
By Mark Feldman and Anna Fahey | Sightline
SB 5843 is a strong first step towards increased transparency in our revenue system. While much more can and should be done moving forward, the Senate should approve these changes and begin to ensure that our tax code is held to the same level of scrutiny as our state budget.
By Michael Mitchell | Washington Budget & Policy Center
The numbers show that Gov. Gregoire’s policy of greatly increasing state spending on the existing K–12 monopoly system failed to significantly improve learning outcomes for children. Expressed in simple terms, spending more money did not improve student learning in public schools.
By Liv Finne | Washington Policy Center
So, in terms of the spending change over 2011-13, the House increases education spending by $399.4 million more than the Senate, and the House increases spending by $764.6 million more than the Senate on everything else.
By Washington Research Council
These are the remarks of Jeff Johnson, President of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, at Tuesday’s Workers Memorial Day event. “It’s time, perhaps long past time, for us to roll up our sleeves as labor, business, injured workers and their families, and government and shift our priorities towards focusing on prevention.”
By WSLC Stand
Most Prius drivers will spend Earth Day opposing the free-market policies that created the car they are so proud of. Rather than forcing behavior change, conservatives promote technological solutions that respect the freedom of individuals while reducing environmental impact.
By Todd Myers | Washington Policy Center
A labor-backed ballot initiative in the city of SeaTac would give airport workers and those in nearby hotels and car-rental companies the highest minimum wage in the country by nearly $5 an hour, the latest move in an effort to set the rules at North America’s 17th-busiest airport. It hasn’t made the ballot yet, but already it is causing yelps of pain from business groups. And it is looking like this local initiative might be one of the hottest items on the November ballot, anywhere in Washington state.
It was slam-bang action in the House and Senate Monday as gavels fell to open the first special session of 2013 — not that anybody was really paying much attention. There’s really nothing cooking under the Dome. Even the much-touted drunk-driving bill, if it passes this year, won’t see a vote until there’s a budget deal, say members of the Majority Coalition in the Senate. If there was any news, it was a subtle shift in the governor’s position on those hard-to-swallow partisan bills. It’s looking like the new special session of the Washington Legislature is off to a mighty slow start.
Remember that case that provoked the big snit between state Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark and former Attorney General Rob McKenna? The one where the Supreme Court said the attorney general’s office had to represent Goldmark, even if the AG thought it was a lousy argument? Well, it may be over. The state Court of Appeals has decided it was a lousy argument.
A new initiative from ballot-measure promoter Tim Eyman seems to be meeting with a roaring silence from business. It raised millions for his two-thirds-for-taxes measures in 2010 and 2012. But now that the Supreme Court has tossed the rule and Eyman has come up with a plan that aims to shame lawmakers into passing a constitutional amendment, there’s no big push. Meanwhile critics denounce an alliance that doesn’t exist.
In this op-ed piece, Jana Carlisle of the Partnership for Learning makes the case for reform legislation to accompany the big new spending in K-12 education that seems all but certain this legislative session. The Supreme Court, with its McCleary decision, has ordered the Legislature to beef up K-12 spending starting in in the 2013-15 budget — perhaps by $1 billion, maybe more. But money isn’t enough, Carlisle argues — big changes in the way schools operate should come with it.
After a disastrous regular legislative session, Gov. Jay Inslee seems to want to turn things around when lawmakers return to town May 13. Let’s not sugar-coat things — the new governor’s first 102 days were nothing to celebrate, and the Legislature basically proved that when there is a vacuum at the top, it is happy to fill it. No bold agenda, no budget, significant policy failures — no wonder the governor seems to be announcing there will be a New Inslee when lawmaking resumes. He’ll have 30 days to make himself a player.
The next election is more than a year away, but that hasn’t stopped the Washington Education Association and the Washington Community Action Network from doorbelling Steve Hobbs’ district and spreading the bad word about the centrist Democratic senator. Hobbs finds himself in the cross-hairs once again. And you might think the stage is being set for a repeat of 2010, when a coalition of progressive groups came close to knocking him off. Hobbs has every right to be worried: When you stand in the middle, you stand alone.
There are plenty of signs that workers’ comp is going to provoke another bruising battle in the upcoming special session, and an online back-and forth between business and labor in recent days offers a sneak preview of the argument. Labor is saying that an uptick in investments held by the state Department of Labor and Industries blows a hole in the case for a reform bill. Business says that has nothing to do with the insurance program’s underlying problems. And the funny thing: When was the last time you heard labor say something nice about Wall Street?