Smarter Government Response to the State of the Union

Buried among the self-congratulatory rhetoric, applause lines, and introductions of heroes in the gallery, President Obama’s state of the union speech included references to several policy positions that could be classified as smarter government, depending on the details.   In his speech the President cracked the door open regarding bipartisan cooperation this year.  Republicans should seize […]

Legislature must fund the education system it defines

The State Supreme Court is causing quite a stir in Olympia, shaking up what Governor Jay Inslee had described last month as a “hold steady” legislative session. Instead, by issuing a court order requiring the legislature to submit, by April 30, a complete plan to achieve full funding of basic education (presumably without the use […]

Invest in more efficient transportation system

Transportation is one of the biggest issues facing the legislature today. Our streets and highways are in need of maintenance and preservation, our Puget Sound roadways are congested, our bridges are aging, and our state’s economy faces serious competitive threats if we don’t invest in freight mobility. We urgently need to complete Highway 167 from […]

The agenda set by the Governor made a bad situation worse in Olympia

Last Tuesday, two key elected officials delivered major speeches regarding where they wanted to lead their governments. The first, by King County Executive, Dow Constantine, was a serious, detailed speech that laid out a specific proposal to address a real issue.  The second was Gov. Jay Inslee’s state of the state address, which in no […]

Supreme Court Throws Education Monkey Wrench Into 2014 Legislative Session

When Republican and Democratic legislative leaders sat down with the Olympia press corps last Thursday morning, their competing messages made it clear that there was no bipartisan agreement to do anything significant during the 2014 legislative session.  A few hours later, however, the state supreme court gave the legislature a mandatory homework assignment regarding education funding […]

Test scores should be used to help evaluate teacher performance

The legislature is not expected to take up a significant number of controversial issues during the 60-day election-year session that begins next week, but one education reform issue will necessarily be debated.  The details are complicated, but the issue is simple:  should student test scores be used to help evaluate the performance of teachers and […]

2013 in Review: Smarter Government Style

The period between Christmas and New Years is filled with “year in review” articles as we place the old in perspective before turning our attention to the new.  In keeping with the season, here is a look back at 2013 from a smarter government perspective. To understand what happened –or, more often, didn’t happen- in […]

Jay Inslee gearing up for tax increases in 2015

Governor Jay Inslee released his proposed 2014 supplemental budget (changes to the two-year budget adopted in June) last week and set the stage for another round in the great Olympia tax debate.  Unfortunately, what he didn’t do was propose a realistic plan for the state to meet its constitutional obligation to fund basic education without […]

Is the budget deal a step forward?

The federal budget agreement that passed the House last Thursday, and is scheduled for a vote in the Senate this week is a small step forward in breaking partisan gridlock and addressing our mounting national debt. Everybody – except the folks on the political fringes – says so. But what if it isn’t? From my perspective, it seems […]

It is a time of waiting

Now that Thanksgiving has passed, and Hanukah has concluded, attention in much of the Western world turns to Christmas, as we move through the season of Advent, or awaiting the coming of Christmas.  For those who care about smarter government, this is also a time of waiting, especially for the Washington State Supreme Court.  The […]