December 15, 2014
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Inslee to propose budget, $1 billion in tax increases

Gov. Jay Inslee will begin a four-day rollout of his proposed budget this evening, unveiling a plan that would raise taxes to increase spending by $1 billion.

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Congress moves forward on $1 trillion government funding measure, avoids shutdown

The U.S. House of Representatives voted Thursday for a $1.01 trillion government funding bill, despite opposition from both conservative and liberal representatives. The stopgap measure funds most federal governmental operations through next September. Read more »

'Agonizing slog' continues at ports as economy feels the pain of work slowdown

The work slowdown at West Coast ports is affecting every part of the economy, especially agriculture. Without a full strike or a lockout, however, the president won't intervene. Meanwhile, business at British Columbia ports is booming -- and the work might never return to the U.S. Read more »

Video Rewind: Holiday Kids' Tree lighting ceremony

Were you there under the Capitol dome for the lighting of the state's holiday tree? If not, AWB and TVW have video from the event now available to view online. Read more »


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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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