January 2004 • Volume 14, Issue 1
January 2004 initiative if its demands aren’t met. Governor Locke says he supports their proposal. • The Rainier Institute proposes to increase spending by $1.7 billion a year. • The Superintendent of Public Instruction has floated the idea of a $1 billion increase in education spending. by Jason Mercier Though many taxpayers are still counting their fiscal blessings this year—namely a balanced state budget and another legislative session gone by without the introduction of a state income tax—vigilance in 2004 will be crucial if we hope to fend off the latest onslaught of tax hike proposals and keep government accountable for the dollars already being spent. The good news is that state budget analysts predict a possible budget surplus of $380 million by 2009. The bad news? The surplus is contingent on fiscal discipline, and the state doesn’t have a great track record. What we do have this year is Governor Locke’s new priority-based budget model, called Priorities of Government (POG). If legislators continue to follow and improve on the principles outlined in POG, resisting the temptation to remove the few protections left in I-601 (state spending limit), we may see the surplus. On the flipside, the same budget analysts predict a deficit of $3.1 billion in that time period if Washington fails to prioritize programs and continues to make caseload and spending increases. Never mind that I-601 will be history, with spending limits exceeded by $1.4 billion if we reach that point. Legislators are already facing the usual army of advocates for increased spending. The most vocal are those calling for more education dollars. Numerous groups are crafting plans to increase spending by billions of dollars. • The League of Education Voters is demanding a $1 billion increase in K-12 spending, and threatens to run an
• Former Governor Dan Evans is lobbying for hundreds of millions of dollars in increased funding for higher education. • And finally, we can expect the Washington Education Association to jump on one or more of these bandwagons with both feet. But wait. Education spending has increased every year for the last decade, yet close to one-third of all Washington high school students today drop out before graduation. Of the students who do graduate, more than half must take remedial math and writing courses at the community college level. And fewer high school graduates in our state are aiming at math and science degrees. Advocates of higher spending blame these problems on lack of funding. It’s been the same story for years. So how much is enough? With no standards in place to measure the effectiveness of each dollar spent in the system, this is an impossible question to answer. On top of these education spending plans, some groups are also hoping to increase transportation spending by roughly one billion dollars. Discussions about raising the gas tax again are underway. And of course there’s the issue of costof-living salary increases for teachers and state employees; the revamping of the state’s pension system; and the new collective bargaining power of public employee unions. What’s a hard-working citizen to do? After all, there is no government money tree, as some seem to imagine. Those dollars will come out of our wallets, and they will be funneled Continued on page 8
A publication of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation
Letter from Lynn
By Lynn Harsh
For the New Year:
A Literary Legacy
do not know how to live without books. When I was nine years old, my school teacher father earned some extra money by cleaning out a house that had been flooded. He had permission to bring home anything he wanted that had not been ruined by the angry water. I remember nothing that came out of the back of our station wagon when he got home except for the books: dozens of books that would never look or smell quite right, but that contained the grandest adventures in parts of the world of which I had not yet heard. During that particular year, we lived in our garage while my parents contemplated building an attached house. Miles and miles from town, with no television or electronic toys to woo us into catatonia, we read—and read—and read. I am unspeakably grateful for that legacy. My parents may not have been able to pull
together temporal creature comforts for us, but they fed our mind and sharpened our curiosity. Those are qualities that last. It was then that I read Little Women, where I fiercely identified with Jo in wondering how I was ever to tame my spirit, my hair, and my tomboy ways. Reading Rudyard Kipling was like finding a concealed door where magical words and phrases would lead me from one secret stairway to another. Then there was Madame Curie, a book published about Marie Curie, who had died 20 years before my birth. That book changed many things in my life. My eyes scoured our globe to find Poland, the birthplace of this brilliant woman born Manya Sklodovski. How to pronounce these difficult names, I wondered? Curiosity dogged me about her motherland and the country named Russia that had oppressed and devastated Poland. My fingers found Russia, and I wondered about this giant country and the darkness that seemed to hang over the people it cruelly ruled.
I was fascinated by the way Marie Curie was educated. In spite of poverty, burnedout schools, and other circumstances we would find intolerable today, she and her siblings were well-educated. Then there was Paris, the place where she met and married her equally brilliant husband, who she described as her beloved companion. Where was Paris, I wondered? Again, I searched our globe to discover it. And the marvel of scientific discovery, and the process that led the Curies to unfold the existence and usefulness of radium! At nine years of age, I certainly did not understand the complex language of the laboratory, but I instinctively grasped the awe and drive that propelled men and women to satisfy curiosity, and thus provide a service to all mankind. I imagined the topography, the dress of the people, and the food they ate. I learned to use maps and practice foreign languages and appreciate the wisdom of others. I learned about good and bad governments. And I learned to embrace the curiosity that sometimes threatened to overwhelm my nine-year-old brain and frame.
Recommended Reading (for starters)
The Republic, Plato
Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville
The Conservative Mind, Russell Kirk
Benjamin Franklin: An American Life, Walter Isaacson
The Law, Frederic Bastiat
Reflections on the Revolution in France, Edmund Burke
The Road to Serfdom, Friedrich Hayek
The American Cause, Russell Kirk
Economics in One Lesson, Henry Hazlitt
Free to Choose, Milton Friedman
The Federalist Papers, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay
The Bible (forms the foundation for JudeoChristian thought)
Never Give In: The Best of Winston Churchill’s Speeches,Winston Churchill History of the American People, Phillip Johnson (probably my favorite classic, history of America)
January 2004 • Volume 14, Issue 1
What a gift of freedom and exploration my parents gave me when they and my teacher Mrs. Flowers taught me to read. They did not teach me to memorize pictures as prompts for words, or as a substitute for words. I was not given lists of idioms to learn. Instead they taught me the rudiments of our language so I could explore by myself, and so I could understand directly what an author was saying, rather than needing someone else to interpret it for me. Not one person ever told me I was educationally disadvantaged or “at-risk” because I lived in a garage and didn’t eat breakfast. How deeply I appreciate my parents and teachers ignoring the obstacles to zero-in on the possibilities instead. Continued on page 10
Evergreen Freedom Foundation PO Box 552 Olympia, WA 98507 (360) 956-3482 Fax (360) 352-1874 firstname.lastname@example.org • www.effwa.org Living Liberty is a publication of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation.
Editors: Lynn Harsh Marsha Richards
Publisher: Joel Sorrell EFF’s mission is to advance individual liberty, personal responsibility, and limited and accountable government.
Contents 4 Free-market pow wow A meeting of free-market think tanks from around the nation is always colorful and interesting, and a recent trip to Washington, D.C. for a policy conference was no exception.
5 School board faces facts in Marysville Teachers kept students out of class as they marched the picket line for 51 days in Marysville this year, convinced by union officials that the school board was greedily trying to deny the large raises they demanded.
6 Career patients? Between 1998 and 2002, employees in five state agencies reported 36 cases of “influenza”, for which they collected $400,059.55 in workers’ compensation from the state. That’s an average of $11,112.75 for each case of the flu.The amount is shocking, of course, but so is the fact that an employee can collect workers’ compensation for an illness as common as the flu.
7 Budgeting wisely in the New Year The new model rejects what has become conventional thinking, which says budget deficits must be addressed with higher taxes or fewer essential services. Governor Locke’s model changes the rules and focuses on identifying and achieving the core purposes of government.
8 UI reforms When do legislative reforms cease to be reforms? Simple: When a state agency decides it can quietly misinterpret them to advance its own agenda, or when they don’t make it past the governor’s veto pen.
9 Doing Toto’s Work Washington Education Association officials operate much like the Wizard of Oz— thundering with a voice of power, unanimity and moral authority. Lawmakers, school directors, journalists and teachers cower before the phony facade. And that is why we have been working to expose the real face behind the curtain of the teachers’ union.
Nothing in this publication should be construed as an attempt to aid or hinder the passage of any legislation.
A publication of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation
Bob on the road O
ur fearless leader, Bob Williams, is spending more and more time on the road these days. Recently, over a two-week period, he traveled north to Marysville, south to Vancouver, east to Tri-Cities, and out of the state to San Francisco and Jackson, Mississippi. During that time he delivered a total of 18 speeches and presentations, including a keynote address to a luncheon full of Mississippi legislators. His mission? To explain the importance of responsible state budgeting and share a budget model that makes limited, accountable government possible. As this is being written, he is in San Diego, where he has several meetings planned with key opinion- and policy-makers. Then it’s back home to gear up for the 2004 Legislative Session!
Free-market pow-wow by Marsha Richards
meeting of free-market think tanks from around the nation is always colorful and interesting, and my recent trip to Washington, D.C. for a policy conference was no exception. The meeting was arranged by the very resourceful State Policy Network, and attracted policy representatives from Hawaii to Maine and most of the states in between.
First, we enjoyed a breakfast meeting hosted by the National Federation of Independent Business, where we discussed ways to reintroduce the principles of free enterprise (and just plain common sense) into state policies governing unemployment insurance, worker safety, taxation, health insurance, etc. We know from experience here in Washington that businesses (and jobs) cannot survive when the state’s policies are all but sucking them dry. (Go figure.) From there we headed over to the offices of Americans for Tax Reform, where we were special guests at ATR President Grover Norquist’s “Wednesday Meeting.” That’s
where many conservative leaders and activists gather for two hours each week to share news of their work and suggest ways to “divide and conquer” from multiple fronts. I was pleased to share an update on EFF’s work to promote priority-based state budgeting, and highlights from our battle with the teachers’ union. The meeting was followed by a discussion with Steve Moore of the Club for Growth (CFG), which centered around how to punish and reward, respectively, the CFGbacked candidates who voted for and against the massive new Medicare entitlement bill. Perhaps the most important statement made was a reminder that good policy is Continued on next page
January 2004 • Volume 14, Issue 1
not defined by a party name, but by the right ideas and principles. There is widespread disappointment among conservatives nationally in President Bush’s decision to promote the Medicare bill, and in the strong-arm tactics used within the Republican party to secure the votes. We were briefed next by staff from President Bush’s reelection campaign, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE), and the U.S. Department of Treasury. Conservatives are in an uproar about the increases in federal spending under the President’s watch. Many are seriously concerned about the rift between “big-spending Republicans” and “small-government advocates.” Federal spending has increased more than 15 percent since January 2000, and families today are, on average, paying more than $20,000 per household to cover the cost—the highest level since the Second World War. In education, the federal government seems eager to enforce the No Child Left Behind Act. While we at EFF are not pleased to see more federal control over local schools, we have analyzed the law to figure out how it can be leveraged to help improve schools in our state. There are a few bright spots. When I mentioned that many schools are not accurately informing parents of their alternatives when their child’s school fails, the DOE representative made it clear that if we inform them of the problem and the school, they will take corrective action. The following day was filled with several speakers hosted by the pharmaceutical industry, during which we discussed many current health care issues like drug importation and reimportation, rising health care costs, the new Medicare bill, etc. The conference ended with a three-hour briefing on telecommunications regulations. I must humbly admit, in the words of a fellow attendee: “I don’t think I understand nearly as much as I now know about the issue.” What I can say is that it boiled down to a simple fact: Property rights and free enterprise are struggling under the weight of a huge regulatory burden, and something must be done to alleviate it. Perhaps the most important and inspiring news I can give you from my trip, though, is the knowledge that there are a great many freedom-fighting groups like EFF, supported by folks like you, forging a path toward liberty in every state in our nation. I expect we’ll win. Marsha Richards (email@example.com) is EFF’s Communications Director.
Union-backed board members face facts in Marysville
eachers kept students out of class as they marched the picket line for 51 days in Marysville this year, convinced by union officials that the school board was greedily trying to deny the large raises they demanded. The community, angered and frustrated by the strike, replaced three of the district’s board members with unionbacked candidates in the November election. What have those new members discovered now that they’re in office? They’ve discovered the district wasn’t fibbing: there isn’t much money to play with. In fact, they’re facing a $2 million shortfall resulting from the loss of 500 students who, understandably, chose not to wait out the strike. In the enlightened words of new board member Michael Kundu: “We need to find a way to whittle down this budget.” Board members are looking at proposed cuts in equipment, textbooks, field trips, materials, supplies, and teachers’ aides—all of which directly impact student learning. The district had a 5.1 percent ($4.1 million) reserve at the beginning of the school year, with experts recommending a 4 to 8 percent cushion at all times. The district’s finance director projects a year-end balance of $1.53 million under the current budget, assuming no raises are given to any employee. “Given the decline in district enrollment, and assuming that other revenue estimates remain stable, expenditures will have to be reduced from the budgeted amounts in order to avoid an unreasonable and financially precarious ending fund balance,” said Keith Lowry, a consultant hired to review the district’s finances. The facts are a far cry from what the union told teachers to convince them to mount a nearly two-month-long illegal strike. Yet who is paying the penalty? Students. But, that’s typical of a union bent on preserving and expanding its own power no matter the cost.
A publication of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation
by Marsha Richards and Jason Mercier
etween 1998 and 2002, employees in five state agencies reported 36 cases of “influenza”, for which they collected $400,059.55 in workers’ compensation from the state. That’s an average of $11,112.75 for each case of the flu. The amount is shocking, of course, but so is the fact that an employee can collect workers’ compensation for an illness as common as the flu. We recently asked the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) to tell us how many worker injuries are reported by employees in the state’s top five agencies. It seems working for state government may be one of the most dangerous jobs around, if you can trust the information it provides. Department staff sent us a detailed spreadsheet with a rather serious disclaimer The State of Washington Department of Labor & Industries does not warrant the accuracy, reliability, or timeliness of this information, and shall not be held liable for any losses caused by the reliance on the accuracy, reliability, or timeliness of such information. Portions of such information may be incorrect or not current. Any person or entity who relies this [sic] information does so at their own risk.
a rather brutal picture is painted. But whether it’s taxpayers or state workers getting the worst of it is hard to say. The Department reports that between 1998 and 2002, five state agencies were responsible for workers’ compensation claims totaling $132.7 million. Those agencies include the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), the Department of Corrections (DOC), the University of Washington (UW), the Department of Transportation (DOT), and Washington State University (WSU). Going strictly by the number of complaints filed, we’ll rank them starting with the most dangerous: 1. DSHS – 8,789 employee claims; $65 million. 2. UW – 5,783 employee claims; $21.7 million. 3. DOC – 3,889 employee claims; $26.3 million. 4. DOT – 2,155 employee claims; $13.7 million. 5. WSU – 1,335 employee claims; $6 million. The most common injuries reported were sprains, cuts and bruises. Taxpayers forked out nearly $15 million between 1998 and
“That’s an average of $11,112.75 for each case of the flu.”
Can you imagine if we put a disclaimer like that on the information we publish as a policy research organization? We’d be selling balloon animals on street corners right now. If we assume for purposes of this article that the data provided by L&I is accurate,
2002 for 5,890 claims of bruises and cuts sustained on the job. If you do the math, that averages out to about $2,542 per bruise or cut. Here are some other interesting (and expensive) tidbits: • The highest ticket injury in L&I’s data is called “ill-def symp,” but unfortunately we don’t know what that is. The state paid $20,763,586.99 for 2,648 cases. • There were 87 injuries to “teeth” for total claims of $113,054.78.
• There were 38 cases of “contagious,” “tuberculosis” and “other infect” for total claims of $26,416.19. • Ten cases of “umbilical” cost $40,174.73. Whatever that means. • One employee was the victim of “freezing.” $74.00. • There were 692 “scratches” reported for total claims of $299,588.18. • Three people got “boils, etc.” for $5,145.03. • And there are numerous other injuries listed on L&I’s chart. The total includes 21,961 claims and $132,701,085.83 paid out. This kind of data provokes some important questions: Why are taxpayers compensating state workers for common illnesses like the flu? Why are state workers collecting thousands of dollars for seemingly minor and unavoidable mishaps like scratches and bruises? What standards determine a legitimate workplace injury? Who is providing oversight to eliminate fraud and abuse? The workers’ compensation system was not designed to make the normal aches and pains of life a source for supplemental income. Perhaps getting a scratch during work hours should not be tantamount to winning a small-stakes lottery. Ironically, the Department of Labor & Industries “was dismayed to find out a couple of years ago that the agency itself had an employee accident rate that was above average.” In fact, L&I employees filed and received claims totaling $5.4 million between 1998 and 2002, making the Department’s “experience rating” (rate of claims) 65 percent higher than the average business in its employment classification. When Department staff analyzed the injuries, they concluded that “most of them were preventable,” and have since launched a “major safety campaign” to reach a goal of “zero accidents by 2006.” Continued on page 10
January 2004 • Volume 14, Issue 1
Budgeting wisely in the new year by Bob Williams
s a freshman legislator in 1979, I worked to revise the state budget process around core governing principles and plain common sense. I wanted to: 1. Develop a nonpartisan revenue forecast. (This was accomplished in 1982.) 2. Put two percent of the forecasted revenue into a reserve until it grew to five percent, then return the excess collections to taxpayers. (Voters passed the spending limit Initiative 601 in 1993, but the language wasn’t restrictive enough to prevent legislators from eroding the limits.) 3. Build priority-based budgets. 4. Require a 60 percent vote to raise taxes. Significant progress was made toward these goals when former Governor Mike Lowry required all state agencies to develop mission statements, goals and objectives, and performance measures. Then, last year, Governor Gary Locke introduced his new Priorities of Government (POG) budget model. The new model rejects what has become conventional thinking, which says budget deficits must be addressed with higher taxes or fewer essential services. Governor Locke’s model changes the rules and focuses on identifying and achieving the core purposes of government. He asks four key questions: 1. How much money does the state have? 2. What results matter most to citizens? (i.e., What are the priorities of government?)
3. How much should the state spend to achieve each result? 4. How can the state best deliver those results? Governor Locke received national attention for his new budget approach. But state Senator Dino Rossi who, as Chair of the Ways and Means Committee, inherited more than $500 million in unfunded programs from the Governor’s first request, managed to prioritize all programs into a state budget that was balanced without general tax increases. Basing the budget on identifiable outcomes closed what would have been a $2.6 billion hole. The jury is still out on whether legislators will build on the new process this year, or revert to simply adding up spending requests and pursuing tax increases. EFF believes hundreds of millions of dollars can be saved if legislators take the priority-based budget model and move it from the general budget level down to specific policy committees (i.e., K-12, Higher Education, Transportation, etc.). By way of example, we recommend that the K-12 committee hold hearings to address the following: • Governor Locke’s goal for K-12, which reads: “Increase student achievement in K-12.” This needs to be more definite. What does it mean to increase student achievement? Increase it from what to what? What are the measurable standards? What is the timeline? • The mission statement for the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). Currently it reads: “The [OSPI], in collaboration with families, local communities, businesses and government partners, leads, supports and oversees K-12 education ensuring the success of all learners.” Again, what does this mean and how will it be measured? We would suggest something more specific, such as: “OSPI is responsible for providing
program leadership for our state’s public education system, to ensure that all students have the opportunity to achieve the state’s public education goals and objectives.” Assuming the state had clear standards, this kind of mission could be tracked and evaluated. • OSPI’s performance indicators. How do lawmakers know if this agency is successfully meeting its goals? This year Superintendent Terry Bergeson had no identified performance measures! When questioned by EFF, she replied that she wasn’t going to make the governor’s budget-writing job easy. Since she is independently elected, the governor has no oversight of her office, so she can get away with ignoring his requests. But the OSPI can’t ignore the legislature. Legislators need to hear from you on these issues. The budget is the most important piece of legislation they vote on, because all policy is based on how dollars are allocated. Many legislators still do not understand how priority-based budgeting works. They continue to create policy without understanding how it will impact state revenue and spending, or what it will look like if it succeeds. The result is a system openly vulnerable to waste, fraud and mismanagement—a system of perverse incentives. This leads to a lack of trust among citizens and a well-founded sense that tax dollars are not being spent efficiently and effectively. We will be working this next session to show legislators how to review the purpose of state agencies with particular questions and criteria in mind: • Is the mission a proper function of government? • If so, is it being performed at the proper level of government? • Do the agency goals relate directly to the mission statement? • Do performance measures focus on outcome and reflect the mission? Continued on page 10
A publication of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation
UI reforms and unaccountable agencies by Jason Mercier
hen do legislative reforms cease to be reforms? Simple: When a state agency decides it can quietly misinterpret them to advance its own agenda, or when they don’t make it past the governor’s veto pen. Such is the fate of two important unemployment insurance (UI) reforms passed by the state legislature last year. Namely, requiring claimants to provide proof of identification and reducing the length of time a claimant can collect benefits from 30 weeks to the standard 26 weeks. The first was vetoed by Governor Locke in the name of “expediency” (apparently it takes too long to ask for identification), and the second is being misinterpreted and misapplied by our state’s Employment Security Department (ESD). In a gesture to labor and an attempt to ease the new reforms in gently, legislators decided the four-week reduction in benefit eligibility would be triggered when the state’s unemployment rate dropped to 6.8 percent or less. Early versions of the process were explained clearly by the Washington State Labor Council for the benefit of its members, despite the union’s opposition to the reforms: New claims filed after Jan. 1, 2004 would be limited to 26 weeks of regular benefits, Budget continued from page 1 . . . into programs and activities that often have no clear mission or goals. That’s why EFF will be stressing some important challenges for legislators to undertake in the coming year. (Read more about them on page 7.) With your continued help and support, great strides can be made toward achieving responsible
down from the current maximum of 30 weeks. This would drop Washington from being one of only two states that allow 30 weeks to being one of the majority of states at 26.
This was news to Sen. Honeyford, who says he wishes “ESD would have called for clarification” if they were uncertain of the legislature’s intent.
According to Employment Security estimates, this would save the UI system $160 million over the next four years, or about $40 million a year. In addition, there will be more employer savings associated with this change because as benefit ratios drop, they will be able to drop rate classes faster and thus pay lower taxes.
Sen. Tim Sheldon (D-Potlatch) also made his thoughts and intentions clear: “This is another time when an agency makes the final determination on a law because we’ve (legislators) given them too much flexibility. I thought this bill was pretty straightforward. The reduction was to be permanent at 26 weeks.”
Sen. Jim Honeyford (R-Sunnyside), a sponsor of the legislation, said its “intent was for the maximum number of weeks to be reduced to 26 weeks in a step process— a permanent reduction to 26 weeks.”
He went on: “It’s terribly frustrating for legislators to feel that they’ve negotiated and compromised to pass a law only to find out that it is immediately changed by an agency. Maybe this is something we’ll be able to address in the coming session.”
Instead of complying with the legislature’s intent, ESD officials have decided the reduction is fluid and impermanent. The Department spins it this way: Once the unemployment rate drops to 6.8 percent or less, the maximum claim duration will drop to 26 weeks. If the unemployment rate rises to a rate greater than 6.8 percent, the maximum claim duration will increase to 30 weeks. . . Payment of extended benefits ends and begins depending on fluctuating unemployment rates. In the absence of language expressing the legislature’s intent that this change shall be permanent, the Department will adhere to the statute as written.
budget practices. The alternative is to watch government grow in size and inefficiency until it becomes too much to bear, but by then it will be much more difficult to crawl out from under it.
Unfortunately, when legislators tried to address the problem of out-of-control state agencies this year, they ran up against Governor Locke’s veto pen again. House Bill 1531, approved with overwhelming and bipartisan majorities in both the House and Senate, would have required the governor’s signature on all agency rules and regulations. Fortunately, lawmakers may still have time to rein in ESD officials before final rules and implementation for the UI eligibility requirements are adopted. The Department may also need to be reminded that another of the UI changes legislators made was to strike the directive that UI laws “be liberally construed.” Legislators are making it clear they mean what they say and they expect the law to be enforced and interpreted as written. That is when a reform is truly reform.
Jason Mercier is EFF’s budget research analyst and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 2004 • Volume 14, Issue 1
Doing Toto’s work by Jami Lund
n apt but unflattering analogy for what I do here at EFF can be found in the role of Toto, the mutt in the Wizard of Oz. Toto is remembered for struggling to pull back the curtain on the hidden wizard who has intimidated Dorothy and her friends into submission with smoke, noise and lights. Washington Education Association officials operate much like the Wizard of Oz—thundering with a voice of power, unanimity and moral authority. Lawmakers, school directors, journalists and teachers cower before the phony facade. And that is why we have been working to expose the real face behind the curtain of the teachers’ union.
Consider the facts: January: Reporters nationwide covered a multi-million dollar embezzlement scandal involving officials of the Washington D.C. teachers’ union. Here at home, WEA officials spent more than $1 million to organize and bus 20,000 teachers to Olympia to call for higher wages—only to be soundly ignored by legislators who weren’t willing to raise taxes to pay for it. February: The National Education Association revealed its true nature with a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Labor that seeks to block new rules that would require the union to file annual financial reports that most other unions already file. April: Reporters nationwide unearthed an even more sordid financial scandal in the Dade County, Florida teachers’ union. And back at home, Washington journalists exposed the WEA’s statewide misinformation campaign that claimed teachers were leaving our state in droves to find more liveable wages in California.
“Praise from newspaper editors must be a powerful intoxicant, the effect of which WEA appears unlikely to ever experience directly.”
Years of work and research are paying off, and 2003 has been rough for the union—a year plagued by scandal, political defeat and public rebuke.
May: Baffled news outlets tried to figure out how WEA’s partnership with special interest groups seeking an expansion of gambling and new taxes was really “for the kids.” July: The nation learned that the NEA elected to its board a teacher whose credentials had been suspended for sexual impropriety.
October: WEA staged a record-breaking 51day strike in Marysville, and argued in court that parents of students had no “standing” to seek a court order requiring teachers to end the illegal strike and return to the classroom.
–Charles Hasse, WEA
More than thirty editorials and columns critical of WEA were written by newspapers in our state this year! This caused union president Charles Hasse to lament that: “Praise from newspaper editors must be a powerful intoxicant, the effect of which WEA appears unlikely to ever experience directly.” Folks are beginning to realize that the “wizard” is really a coterie of extremely well-paid union officials who collect mandatory dues and refuse to be accountable to teachers. We are pleased to see the fruit of our efforts to shed light on the activities and agenda of the National Education
November: News broke that the NEA is being audited by the IRS after reporting “zero” political expenditures on its tax forms. December: WEA officials sued the state legislature to block salary increases for beginning teachers, claiming the provision interferes with “local control.” In another case, the state Supreme Court threw out WEA’s lawsuit against the Public Disclosure Commission, which recently wrote guidelines to clarify that union officials cannot use school mailboxes and e-mail systems to distribute political materials. Association and the Washington Education Association. Teachers, journalists and policymakers are beginning to agree that the union’s “business as usual” is no longer tolerable.
The day when teachers are allowed a choice about whether or not they will fund union politics cannot be far away. Jami Lund manages EFF’s Teachers’ Paycheck Protection project. He can be reached at email@example.com.
A publication of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation
Oh dear, oops again! We’re not sure how we flubbed this one, but in our November article we printed what we thought was Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation. Turns out we were partly right, but mostly wrong. All but the last paragraph of our Career Patients continued. . . excerpt is actually part of Lincoln’s Funny, we thought the whole purpose of Proclamation Appointing a National L&I’s existence was to promote worker Fast Day in March of 1863. The last safety. Suddenly this new internal camparagraph comes from Lincoln’s paign for worker safety doesn’t seem like Thanksgiving Proclamation, given later such an innovative thing after all. that year. We’re very sorry about our mistake, and very grateful to the sharp readers who caught it!
In the meantime, L&I just increased workers’ compensation rates for state businesses by 9.8 percent, which comes on top of a 29 percent increase earlier
Letter from Lynn continued . . .
Budgeting continued . . .
For the most part, my own children have been reared in “normal” houses, where breakfast is mandatory. And though they are distracted by modern electronic gadgets, it delights me to see them build their own libraries and attempt to satiate their own curiosity through books old and new.
• What have the results been during the previous biennium?
Lots of ways exist to help change the lives of our fellow human beings. This year, try teaching a child to read. Or begin building a library for your own children or grandchildren. Read out loud to children as long as they will let you, and then press for a little more. If your household has more televisions than books, I implore you to get about the business of changing that situation. You might try paying your grandchildren to read books that will improve a lackluster understanding of personal character, government and economics. I know several people who are successfully doing this.
• Does the requested budget accurately reflect the three categories as well?
Not all books are worth reading. Some would be better placed in an outhouse than on a bookshelf. But thousands of extraordinary books await the person who will sit still long enough to turn a few pages. From me to you: Happy New Year and happy reading, too!
• Do all activities relate to the mission and goals, and do they accurately reflect the required three-tiered system in Washington state of high, medium and low priorities?
After review, we will help lawmakers formulate questions/answers to bring about change wherever they deem necessary. We will also: • Encourage and participate in public hearings sponsored by legislators. • Host town hall meetings and visit editorial boards to familiarize citizens and media with the new budget model and encourage involvement and accountability.
this year. Businesses are reeling, and many are asking the legitimate question: If L&I can’t clean up its own house, why is it increasing the burden on private businesses already struggling to stay afloat? The Department “is doing more than [its] share to drive those costs up,” wrote Randy Gold of the Building Industry Association of Washington. Yes, indeed. If the numbers provided by L&I are accurate, jobs in state government are either abnormally hazardous, or clearly vulnerable to fraud. We recommend the legislature get to the bottom of this. way by making the budget process more transparent and accessible. Under a priority-based model, stakeholders have all the tools they need to articulate the need for the addition or elimination of various programs. We also want to see increased information available to legislators, citizens and the media through the development of mission statements, agency goals and priorities, and clearly defined outcomes. This allows meaningful public involvement. In summary, in 2004, EFF will be working to link policy and performance to budgets. Policymakers will have the knowledge and tools to reward good performance and develop corrective action for poor performance. Legislators and citizens can better evaluate the need for more or less taxes.
• Develop recommendations for budget policies that reward performance and improvement and eliminate perverse incentives.
Washington citizens lack confidence in their elected officials. They do not feel their tax dollars are being managed well. The aim of EFF’s budget project is to help restore trust in government by providing transparency in the budget process. Citizens armed with this information and these tools will be empowered to participate.
We would like to help increase the ability of the state legislature to address public concerns in a responsive and responsible
Bob Williams (firstname.lastname@example.org) is EFF’s president.
• Solicit radio, television and print media interviews to broadcast information to a wide audience.
Yes, I want to invest in the Evergreen Freedom Foundation January 2004 • Volume 14, Issue 1
Dear Friend of EFF, While we welcome any gift, our greatest need is reliable monthly income. It is imperative for achieving our goals. Please consider our automatic giving program as a way to invest in the cause of freedom. Our safe, Egiving System’s automatic bank account/bank card payment ensures that more of your contribution goes directly to our work. Cordially, Please mail or fax in this form (fax 360-352-1874) or call 360-956-3482. We will send you a confirmation letter for your records.
Bank Debit/Credit Card Donation Authorization I authorize my bank/credit card company to automatically debit my account below for $ each month until further notice. I understand that I am in full control of my donation, and at any time I can decide to make any changes or discontinue the automatic service by calling 360-956-3482 or writing to EFF. I would like to give a one time gift of $ Signature
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Checking Account–Egiving Systems (Attach a voided check) Savings Account–Egiving Systems (Attach a voided deposit slip) Please indicate your preferred withdrawal date: VISA
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Please mail or fax in this form (fax 360-352-1874) or call 360-956-3482.
Looking for ways
to support EFF’s work?
There are a number of ways you can creatively support EFF’s work, including:
• • • • • • •
Donating appreciated stocks (avoid capitol gains taxes) Making gifts through your will (reduce estate taxes) Setting up a trust fund (reduce your income taxes) Establishing a Chair or Center (i.e. Wilson Budget Chair, Smith Education Chair – tax-deductible) Making in-kind contributions (also tax-deductible) Volunteering at our office (helps to reduce our expenses) Giving cash contributions (an old tax-deductible favorite)
Don’t forget that many companies offer matching contributions for their employees (and sometimes retirees too). Check with your employer to see if they will match your gift to charitable 501(c)(3) organizations like EFF! All checks postmarked on or before December 31, 2003, will count as 2003 contributions! To learn more about these or any other options, please call Juliana McMahan at (360) 956-3482.
A few upcoming events . . . Thursday, January 8 Bob Williams addresses the Lynnwood Rotary regarding the future for Washington state businesses.
Monday, January 12 The 2004 Legislative Session begins.
Address service requested Tuesday, January 20 March for Life rally at the Capitol Campus at noon.
January 22 John Stanton at Discovery Institute Part of Discoveryâ€™s Tech Forum Series Discovery Institute is proud to welcome Western Wireless CEO John Stanton to speak as part of our Technology Forum Series. Mr. Stanton will speak at Discovery Institute on Thursday, January 22, from 4:30 - 6 p.m. More details to follow. Cost for the event is $20 and includes a selection of regional wine & cheese. To register, please contact Janet Markwardt at email@example.com or (206) 292-0401, x111.
Friday, January 30 The Lakewood Rotary is scheduled to host Bob Williams.