December 15, 2014
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Legislature to study pay-per-mile fees to possibly replace gas tax

Saying the gasoline tax as a revenue source is essentially running out of gas, the Washington State Transportation Commission is planning a pilot project designed to charge drivers for miles traveled on state roads. Over time the Road Usage Charge would take the place of the gas tax, which is not keeping up with the increased adoption of more fuel-efficient vehicles, including hybrids and electric cars.

The commission wants to give drivers four ways to pay: a flat fee to drive unlimited miles over a time period; a charge based on odometer reading; a charge based on a GPS-type device in the vehicle; and a charge based on miles logged on a smartphone app.

Read more at The Olympian.



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CAN WE AFFORD IT?

Budget 101: State employee pay raises 'financially feasible'?

By Rob McKenna, Smarter Government Washington

Under state law, any collectively bargained pay raises and benefit increases for state employees must be declared "financially feasible for the state" by the Office of Financial Management (OFM). While this review sounds like a good idea, it isn't useful if OFM chooses to willfully ignore reality so that it can give its stamp of approval.

That's the situation the state currently finds itself in. The Governor's Office negotiated pay and benefit hikes with state employee unions, and OFM has declared the new costs to be financially feasible "considering the state's obligations...in combination with the current and forecasted economic and revenue conditions for Washington.

Apparently OFM considers the McCleary education funding case to be mere detail...

READ MORE: Click here for the full commentary at Smarter Government Washington
WHAT WORKS

State can move forward on transportation -- by looking back

By Sen. Curtis King

Amid all the finger-pointing and half-truths regarding the Legislature's alleged failure to pass and fund a transportation plan, a glance back at the 2003 "nickel package" provides the best tutorial on how to successfully get a transportation-revenue package through the Legislature and to the governor's desk. The themes from over a decade ago run startlingly parallel to today.

READ MORE: Click here for the full commentary in Crosscut
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