Monday, July 28, 2014

WPC agrees with union speaker; "trust us" shouldn't be standard for negotiations

Last week the Washington State Labor Council held its 2014 Constitutional Convention meeting. Among the speakers was Gillian Locascio of the Washington Fair Trade Coalition. Although she was speaking about the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, her concerns and criticism of how those negotiations were occurring are 100% aligned with our concerns about public union contract negotiations . . . READ MORE

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Attorney General's statement on Centralia School District's Medicaid fraud

Last Friday my colleague Liv Finne highlighted a disturbing case of the Centralia School District committing Medicaid fraud. Last night I received this statement from the Attorney General's Office concerning the $372,000 settlement agreement with the school district . . . READ MORE

Thursday, July 17, 2014

WFSE says state compensation contract offer is "totally unacceptable"

Define a "totally unacceptable" compensation contract offer: Is it no raise? A 2% raise? A 6% raise? A 10% raise? Due to the fact the negotiations currently under way between the Governor's office and state employee unions are secret and prohibit public access we have no idea what the union deems to be "totally unacceptable" and neither do union members for that matter. What we do know is the Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE) issued this "urgent" update yesterday (in-part) . . . READ MORE

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Resources for Benton County Proposition 14-5: Public Safety Sales Tax Increase

Ballots are starting to arrive in Benton County for the August 5 primary. One measure voters will be considering is Proposition 14-5, a proposal to increase the local sales tax rate by 0.3 percent and collect approximately $9 million per year for increased public safety spending. Here are the Key Findings of our study reviewing Proposition 14-5 . . . READ MORE

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

State and local pension payments could increase by $1.2 billion for 2015-17

Members of the state Select Committee on Pension Policy met today to approve one of three options concerning assumptions for government pensions in Washington. Instead the committee adopted a consensus proposal to merely forward to the state Pension Funding Council reports by the State Actuary showing a change in life expectancy for public employees and the impact that funding the required actuarial rates would have on the state and local budgets . . . READ MORE

Monday, July 14, 2014

State asks if Court will fine taxpayers for McCleary response

Circle your calendars for September 3. That is the date we'll start to get a feel for if the state is on a crash course for a full-fledged constitutional crisis or if the respective branches of government will respect the separations of power. The first attempt to back off the current dangerous path was filed last Friday when the state submitted its brief arguing against several proposals to hold the state in contempt concerning its response to the McCleary school funding lawsuit . . . READ MORE

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Does separation of powers still matter?

As we kick off our 4th of July festivities it's a good time to reflect on the founding of our country. What better way to do that than to dust off the farewell speech of the first U.S. President George Washington. Given the recent controversies concerning McCleary and separation of powers and President Obama's quote to Congress yesterday ("So sue me"), these comments from Washington are worth reflecting on . . . READ MORE