November 16, 2015
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What's ahead for I-1366? Supreme Court review could linger until midst of legislative session

The state Supreme Court said last week that the legality of Tim Eyman's sales tax/constitutional amendment initiative is unclear. In a unanimous opinion released Thursday, the court said the merits of complaints against the initiative can be argued before a lower court judge in King County Superior Court.

The initiative passed this month with 52 percent support. It requires lawmakers to send a constitutional amendment to voters requiring a two-thirds majority vote to raise taxes, or see a cut in state sales taxes in April that would take nearly $1 billion out of the current budget. The Supreme Court noted that it has never before ruled on an initiative with such contingencies, KING 5 reports.

Gov. Jay Inslee urged the high court to rule on the initiative as quickly as possible.

"The ultimate answer to that question (constitutionality) has enormous implications for legislators who will soon be reconvening in Olympia and facing many difficult decisions about how to find the resources to comply with this same court's multi-billion-dollar McCleary decision. I am hopeful the Court has the opportunity to bring finality to this issue as quickly as possible," Governor Jay Inslee said in a statement Thursday afternoon.

The Seattle Times urges the high courtto move quickly to block the initiative: "I-1366 appears mortally wounded, limping forward as it waits for a court to put it out of its misery."

On the other hand, supporters of the initiative have already begun the legislative work to implement it. State Sens. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, and Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane, plan to propose a constitutional amendment requiring a two-thirds majority vote for tax increases.

The Washington Research Council takes a deep look at the complexities surrounding the initiative. The Associated Press also reported on the issue.

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Slowdown Hurt Everyone

Congress Must Act On Ports

By The Editorial Board of The Columbian

Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Yakima, has brought about legislation that would trigger federal involvement in port disputes. In introducing the bill named Ensuring Continued Operations and No Other Major Incidents, Closures or Slowdowns -- ECONOMICS -- Newhouse said, "We must take the lesson of the most recent ports slowdown to heart that two parties cannot hold hostage the nation's economy." Among the co-sponsors are Republican Washington lawmakers Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Dave Reichert.

In February, the International Business Times reported that the slowdown was costing the U.S. economy about $2 billion a day, and others have asserted that it contributed to anemic national economic growth at the end of 2014 and through the early months of 2015. That impact was particularly strong in Washington, the nation's most trade-dependent state, a fact that makes legislative action especially pertinent to the region and calls for the rest of the area's congressional delegation to support the proposed bills.

Click here to read the full editorial in The Columbian
An Educational Monopoly

Is Public Education a 'Natural' Monopoly That Needs to Be Broken Up?

By Sean Gill, research analyst at the University of Washington's Center on Reinventing Public Education

There are many reasons why education does not fit the definition of a natural monopoly. Schools are human-driven enterprises. They are hugely dependent on people -- that is the teachers who are so important to education. Yes, schools have to have buildings and textbooks, but these capital costs don't outweigh the cost of labor.

Further, education is the provision of learning and knowledge -- it is about as far away from the definition of commodity as possible. My neighbors and need exactly the same electrical service -- an electron is an electron. But learning can take an infinite number of forms, based on children's needs and interests.

A top-down, centralized approach isn't going to meet these needs and interests.

Click here to read the full blog post via
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