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).
Given the peculiarities of Washington’s system, benefits paid is the best metric for comparison. The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services ranks premium rates among the states, but, as we have written extensively,
By Emily Makings | Washington Research Council
Washington gets mixed reviews from CEOs of the Roundtable, generally scoring well on quality-of-life issues and not so well on business cost issues. With workers’ compensation the CEOs have very deliberately chosen the National Academy for Social Insurance’s benefits-paid ranking, rather than a business-cost ranking.
By DAVID GROVES | WSLC Stand
Every public school principal is painfully familiar with being forced to send children to a classroom where she knows the teacher there is not the best fit, but the teacher’s placement has been forced on the school by higher-ups at the central district.
By Liv Finne | Washington Policy Center
The Senate is failing at this. Instead of raising the additional revenue it would take to meet public needs, the Senate relies on over $600 million in “funny money,” hidden cuts, and other actions that weaken the whole structure.
By Kim Justice and Mike Mitchell | Washington Budget & Policy Center
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
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.
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.
As the “war on loopholes” enters its zillionth year in the Legislature, seeming pretty much like a debate about the weather – people talk and talk, but nobody ever seems to do anything about it – the rumblings about an initiative from the state’s progressive community seem to be getting louder. Steve Zemke, a former chairman of the King County Democratic Party, says he’s tired of watching progressives talk the issue to death, and he is planning a ballot measure that would require the Legislature to re-pass more than 400 tax breaks every two years.