April 11, 2016
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Tax Freedom Day is April 24

The Tax Foundation has compiled its annual Tax Freedom Day report, which calculates how long Americans have been working to pay taxes. This year’s date for the country as a whole is April 24. American taxpayers will have to work 114 days (excluding Leap Day) to pay their share of the nearly $5 trillion in federal, state and local taxes that will be collected this year.

Americans will collectively spend more on taxes in 2016 than they will on food, clothing and housing put together, according to the Tax Foundation.

Washingtonians will have to wait a few more days to celebrate tax freedom: those of us in the Evergreen State labor longer than residents of 40 other states to pay our taxes. Tax Freedom Day in Washington state comes on April 27.

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Let's Seek Solutions Together

It's time to move forward on charter schools

By Robin Lake, director of the Center on Reinventing Public Education and an affiliate faculty member at the University of Washington Bothell

Charter schools aren't some magic solution. But they are proving themselves a valued component of 21st-century public schooling by demonstrating what's possible when schools are freed from certain rules and regulations in exchange for being held accountable for student outcomes. Far from a distraction, charter schools are here to stay. Far from damaging public education, when ably implemented, charter schools enrich and strengthen the fabric of public education.

It is time to move on and focus on students, not battle lines...
Click here to read the full op-ed in The Seattle Times
Workers Needed for Good Jobs

A job in the trades can bring financial, personal success

By Mike Sotelo, co-founder of the Combined Ethnic Chamber

A four-year apprenticeship program can equal or exceed the earning potential of a postsecondary degree. An apprentice electrician earns $19 an hour, which can be achieved the first year out of high school. By the time an electrician completes a five-year apprenticeship program, he or she could be making close to $100,000 a year.

Unfortunately, every time trade employers need workers, they scratch their heads and do whatever they can to attract and retain employees to fit their business models. Contractors are hiring anyone who can fog a mirror because there aren't enough bodies...

Shop classes are disappearing because schools are losing funding. The deeper challenge is we need to start instilling pride into the traditional trades. Even when I was young, I used to say, "I am just a construction worker." I almost apologized for it. We have to start recognizing that our society would grind to a halt without skilled carpenters, laborers, chefs and hotel managers...
Click here to read the full op-ed in The Seattle Times
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