ELECTION REFORM: SHORT-SIGHTED 5
EFF JOINS I-601 LAWSUIT 8
A PUBLICATION THE EVERGREEN FOUNDATION UNION OF FIGHTS HARDFREEDOM FOR ITS TURF 101
LIVING LIBERTY JUNE 2005
A PUBLICATION OF THE EVERGREEN FREEDOM FOUNDATION
Where’s the Emergency? State uses emergency clause 98 times.
by Jason Mercier n the recently completed 2005 legislative session, lawmakers enacted 98 bills with emergency clauses attached. Emergency clauses were affixed to even more bills that did not make final passage, and they were stripped from the final version of some bills that did receive approval. An emergency clause serves two purposes: 1) bills adopted take effect immediately, and 2) voters are denied their right of referendum due to the purported emergency addressed by the bill. Article 2, Section 1 of the Washington Constitution grants the people the power of referendum: “…the people reserve to themselves the power to . . . approve or reject at the polls any act, item, section, or part of any bill, act, or law passed by the legislature.” Denial of this constitutional right should be a rare exception. The legislature is allowed an exemption from a people’s referendum only if the bill adopted is “necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health or safety, support of the state government and its existing public institutions.” This phrase is commonly referred to as an “emergency clause.” Limited use of this exemption is necessary to meet the requirements of Article 1, Section 1 which states: “All political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and are established to protect and maintain individual rights.” This includes protecting the people’s right of referendum.
Sample of 2005 “emergencies” It is appropriate to immediately implement bills that address a public health or safety emergency and/or the very function of essential state services and to deny the right of referendum on such bills. But the legislature’s rampant use of “emergency clauses” this session is
deserving of critical review. Consider some of this session’s “emergencies”: • HB 1003 – Allowing off-road vehicles (ORVs) to be used on non-highway roads when authorized and exempting ORVs operating on non-highway roads from vehicle licensing, equipment and lighting requirements. • HB 2221 – Exempting canning, preserving, freezing, processing, or dehydrating fresh fruits and vegetables from business and occupation tax. • SB 5274 – Implementing a state-registered real estate appraiser trainee classification. • SB 5581 – Creating the Life Science Discovery Fund Authority. The Authority can enter into an agreement with the state to receive tobacco settlement funding starting in 2008. • SB 5951 – Exempting certain information held by the Horse Racing Commission from public records disclosure. • SB 5952 – Exempting from vehicle licensing trams used for transporting people to and from parking lots to horse race facilities.
Thwarting a people’s referendum In addition to the non-emergency bills above, the legislature attached emergency clauses to a number of controversial bills—aparently in a direct attempt to prevent voters from reversing their passage: • HB 1397 – Adopting California vehicle emissions standards. The new standards do not go into effect until the 2009 car model year. • HB 2255 – Rolling back some of the unemployment insurance reforms adopted two years ago. • SB 5034 – Amending Initiative 134 to allow unions and corporations to make campaign contributions in excess of original limits adopted. • SB 6078 – Amending Initiative 601 to suspend the 2/3 vote threshold mandated to raise taxes, allowing a legislative simple majority vote instead. It is effective immediately and until June 2007. • SB 6096 – Amending Initiative 402 to create a standalone death (estate) tax. • SB 6103 – Increasing transportation taxes/fees, with gas tax increases occurring on July 1, 2005-2008. The legislature’s abuse of emergency clauses this Continued on page 5
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Appellate Court rules judge’s Boeing public records order now void
GOOD NEWS! ONLY
by Jason Mercier
ast month, Washington’s Court of Appeals overturned a lower court ruling that forced EFF to hire a lawyer and get approval from the attorney general before requesting Boeing-related public records. This is good news, but elements of the decision are still troubling. The Appeals Court said, “…we know of no authority for the trial court to extend its jurisdiction beyond an existing controversy or case before it. Nor do we interpret the trial court’s order to do so. Furthermore, we know of no authority, and counsel would cite none, that vest trial counsel with the ability to waive a client’s statutory right to request documents under the PDA following the conclusion of this litigation….” You may remember that state officials refused to give us access to a complete copy of the multi-billion dollar contract they signed with Boeing. Each time we pressed to get the missing information, the state argued we were asking for new records. The attorney general’s office, under Gregoire, asked the judge for the
separate treatment of EFF for what it termed “case management” purposes. The AG’s office wanted a standing order applied to any information we wanted related to the Boeing contact. The Appellate Court said no, but refused to look at the dishonest argument the state used as its lynchpin argument. State officials said we kept pestering them with new records requests, instead of noting that they had disingenuously withheld information related directly to our first request. This may happen to us or someone else again, and when it does, we will have to pursue it once more. The Legislators could have fixed this issue for all citizens by plugging the holes the bureaucracy has shot in the public records law. They mostly declined to do so. Of course, this is the same majority that tried to shut citizens out of the initiative process as well. To paraphrase a famous California actor-turned governor: We’ll be back!
Would you like additional copies of Living Liberty to distribute to friends, co-workers, members of your church, civic organization or political club? $22.99 per 100 issues covers the cost of printing and shipping. Orders and payments must be received by the 15th of the month. To order additional copies of Living Liberty, contact Joel at email@example.com or 360-956-3482.
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Gr assroots Washington
ACTION ALERT 3 LETTER FROM LYNN A DUTCH TREAT
4 WASTE WATCHERS HANFORD EMPLOYEES REIMBURSED FOR ILLEGITIMATE DEGREES
THROWING MONEY AT EDUCATION WILL NOT LEAD TO REFORM 5 SHORT SIDED MEASURES LEGISLATORS IGNORE ESSENTIAL ELECTION REFORMS John McKay, the current U.S. Attorney for Western Washington, has refused to call a grand jury to investigate the numerous potential cases of election fraud uncovered by EFF and others. McKay’s office has been telling Grassroots WA members that he lacks the authority to convene such a grand jury. This is not true! EFF called the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., and got the specific statute (28 US Code 547 and 9-11-241) that grants him the authority. Please call McKay and politely ask him to call a grand jury to investigate the 2004 election and hold those guilty of committing fraud criminally accountable. Hi number is (206)553-7970. In the meantime, anyone who has any specifics on voter fraud, needs to contact EFF as soon as possible with details. We need specific facts. We will be filing an additional complaint with the FBI. If you have specific information, please contact Jonathan Bechtel at 360.956.3482 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
6 TURN YOUR LIFE INTO YOUR LEGACY 7 WSU GRADS PROTEST FLAWED ELECTION SYSTEM 8 EFF JOINS I-601 REFERENDUM LAWSUIT WA LEGISLATIVE LEADERS FAIL HEALTH CARE SONSUMERS LEGISLATORS ACCROSS THE COUNTRY ENACT TORT REFORM AND INCREASE CONSUMER CHOICE
9 DEMOCRAT BUDGET GUARANTEES FUTURE “DEFICIT” POLITICAL PAYBACK: GREGOIRE STYLE 10 UNION FIGHTS HARD TO DEFEND ITS TURF 11 1 LIFTING TEACHER PERFORMANCE 12 EFF PROFILE: BOB EDELMAN
A PUBLICATION OF THE EVERGREEN FREEDOM FOUNDATION
LetterLET fromTER Lynn FROM LY NN A Dutch Treat
he opportunity to learn to speak gracefully was afforded me early in life. It was usually accompanied by something my father called a Dutch Rub, which is when he would sidle up to me and rub his knuckles hard against my scalp—like he was trying to start a fire on my head. It was his way of getting my attention immediately and quietly when we were in public. It worked. I can’t discuss the most notable memory I have of these quiet corrections, but the second most notable was when I answered my third grade teacher’s inquiry during a parent-teacher conference about how to solve my boredom problem in her class. She asked something related to how I thought she could make her classroom presentations more appealing. I told her she could shave her legs. (Who knows why I cared?) I got a doozy of a Dutch Rub for that one. My father tried to teach me how to better temper directness with grace. Alas, I fear I am a slow learner. That’s why I am careful about listening to certain presentations, especially floor speeches at the end of session, when sound travels faster than light here in Olympia. (You just know some of the speakers could give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation by telephone.) This year the death tax speeches were particularly bizarre. Read these snippets for yourself and see if the hair on the back of your neck doesn’t jerk to attention. The first is from Rep. Jim McIntire in his impassioned speech on the fundamental necessity of the death tax: “. . . the estate tax and its use for public education are fundamental— fundamental to our democracy. Shots were fired on the Concord Green to create a country where the common person
is not beholden to the landed gentry that amassed wealth from generation to generation . . . ‘We the people of the United States in order to form a more perfect union….’ I’ve studied this document for most of my life. I have found nowhere in it any indication that there is a right to build up piles of individual wealth from generation to generation. No, the primary mission—the primary mission statement of our constitution, of our system of government—speaks of union; speaks of common opportunities for life, liberty, and happiness. Certainly we have laws and regulations and a legal system, supported by taxes, I might note; designed to define and secure property rights. But the fundamental purpose of our government is to provide a platform for everyone—everyone to build wealth, not just a few. Our forbearers in Washington state, understood that in order to build wealth, it takes a platform of government services making public education for a quality work force the paramount duty of the state . . . .” Whaaaat? How can a sensible person even respond to that paragraph of gruel? I’m especially amazed about the comment that our Founders believed building wealth requires “a platform of government services….” The truth is: If our Founders were here, they would blow up the platform and dump the pieces into Boston Harbor. Rep. Anderson responded to McIntire’s impassioned plea to use the death tax to support our schools with a quip: “Do you really want to say, ‘die now and support our schools?’ I don’t think so.” Rep. Quall, a gentleman to be sure, pleaded with his colleagues to reinstate the death tax in order to fund schools. He said money that is subject to the death tax is “untaxed wealth.” Gentleman or not,
this is a gross misstatement. Money in an estate has already been taxed at least once. Why would the act of dying put our assets in the untaxed category? Rep. Orcutt noted that the death tax was hardly aimed at the “landed gentry.” He argued that it would also affect printers, some restaurant owners, independent telephone companies and, ironically, funeral homes. This was followed by comments from Rep. Kinney asking for the death tax reinstatement “so that we can be assured of a quality education for every single child in Washington state.” Really? If we reinstate the death tax, we can be assured that every child in our state will get a quality education? Hmmm. And then the pièce de résistance. Rep. Nixon rose to his feet and asked for permission to quote the rest of the Preamble to the Constitution, which Rep. McIntire had previously badly mangled. He quoted from memory, pausing to contrast the meaning in the Preamble of “securing the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity” with “securing by theft the property of our posterity” as he suggested the death tax legislation would do. Nixon went on to correctly describe the death tax as progressive rather than uniform as the constitution mandates tax policy. He reminded his colleagues of Thomas Jefferson’s counsel about the purpose of government and Jefferson’s instructions about the citizens’ right to institute a new form of government if they felt thwarted by their lawmakers. Nixon’s presentation was the highlight, and every comment that followed fell under its shadow. Toward the end, it seemed Rep. Kessler thought it was her duty to help rich people get through the Pearly Gates more easily.
She used the Biblical example of it being easier to thread a camel through the eye of the needle than for a rich man to get into heaven, apparently in an attempt to shame legislators into reinstating the death tax. She asked “How much is enough money? How much are you supposed to have?” As if any legislator serving in our constitutional republic has the right to make that decision. I’m not making this stuff up. If you want to hear this exchange for yourself, you can find it at TVW’s website: http: //www.tvw.org/MediaPlayer/Archived/ WME.cfm?EVNum=2005040170B&TYP E=A (02:02:10 in to the audio). It’s no wonder people get upset and turn to the initiative and referendum process. But as you will read in Jason’s article, the inordinate number of emergency clauses attached to legislation this year was an attempt to stop us from using those mechanisms. I’m not a fan of governing by initiative, but it is an important tool when legislators violate or ignore the will of the people who elected them. The number of initiatives and referenda filed annually should serve as a gauge for how we citizens view the condition of our government. The increasing number should serve as a warning for lawmakers that people are restless and unhappy. This is as graceful and balanced as I can be about the subject. Perhaps I should send my father and his Dutchrubbing knuckles to the Chambers during the next session. He could remind the people who have power over policy and our pocketbooks to think twice and speak once. Sometimes that would mean the Capitol would have the audio quality of a monastery.
Waste Watchers Hanford employees reimbursed for illegitimate degrees by Sarah Carrico
“Get your degree online!” is a familiar internet headline. Most of us delete the junk e-mails and close the pop-up ads, but not everyone. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), a number of employees at the Hanford nuclear facility hold degrees from illegitimate institutions. Not only did these employees get a salary increase for the degrees they “earned,” they attained their degrees with taxpayer dollars. The Office of the Inspector General for the DOE found through just a sampling of Hanford employees’ reimbursement records that five workers had been reimbursed for courses at unaccredited institutions. In the case of one Hanford contractor, $2,400 was reimbursed for credits applied to Bachelor and Master of Science degrees from Western State University for Professional Studies, an institution which offers degrees for a flat fee and awards degrees based on “life experience”—one of many red flags used in identifying a potential diploma mill.
Diploma mills are substandard or fraudulent “colleges” that offer potential students degrees with little or no work. The audit concluded that “(DOE) is at risk of making educational reimbursements that provide minimal mission benefit and may result in individuals being placed in sensitive positions for which they are not qualified.” Simply put, it’s not worth it to DOE or to taxpayers and may create a serious security threat.
“(DOE) is at risk of making educational reimbursements that provide minimal mission benefit and may result in individuals being placed in sensitive positions for which they are not qualified.”
What is the simplest solution? Rather than wasting energy reporting losses the government has known about for years, it’s high time something was done. Eliminate the reimbursement program. Weed out employees who lied about their education to get better pay, and reverify everyone else.
Throwing money at education will not lead to reform by Marsha Richards
Originally published in the Seattle Times on April 26, 2005. Reprinted with permission.
t’s almost heretical to question demands for increased public education spending in our state, but that’s what I’m about to do. I’ll even go a step further: If the root of our education crisis is not “inadequate funding” (as I will argue), then our fixation with money is delaying true and necessary reform. Spending more money on a broken system will not fix the problem, it will make it bigger. I’ve spoken with hundreds of people all over the state about education funding issues, and I’ve discovered that many who know we need more money for our K12 public schools can’t answer two simple questions: How much are we spending now? And how much is enough? The fact is, we’re spending almost $9.5 billion a year—an average of $9,688 per student, or roughly $125,944 over the lifetime of one K-12 student. That’s 17 percent more per pupil than we were spending ten years ago, after you adjust for inflation. All things being equal, it amounts to an annual bill of $1,605 for every man, woman and child in our state, and a lifetime cost per household of $229,034. Meanwhile, even as spending has increased, student academic performance has remained stagnant or fallen by almost all measures. (The notable exception is the highly controversial and subjective WASL.) We all know it costs money to provide a quality education, but how we spend that money is just as important as how much. Are we spending current dollars wisely to achieve the results we want? I think the answer is “no.” For starters, the state doesn’t have clear and measurable goals when it comes to education. If we don’t know what we want to achieve (outcomes), how will we know what it takes to achieve it (inputs)? In 2002, when former Governor Gary Locke asked agencies to clearly identify their goals and prioritize activities based on how to most effectively achieve
those goals, our Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) refused to participate. This year, OSPI participated, but not meaningfully. In the agency detail that accompanies state general fund budget proposals, OSPI identified just one “expected result” for some $9 billion in expenditures: “By 2007, develop and implement an improved K-12 education
Even as spending has increased, student academic performance has remained stagnant or fallen by almost all measures.
funding model, in partnership with the Legislature, school districts, and other educational partners.” The focus is on money again, when it should be on student academic success. Do we want our schools to be accountable for ensuring student literacy, or for spending money? It makes a world of difference. OSPI does have a five-year strategic plan spanning 2002-2007, the overarching goal of which is that “all students achieve at high levels, taught by high-quality educators and staff in safe, supportive, and wellmanaged schools.” That sounds pretty good, but what does it mean? What are the results for which our schools will be held accountable? Unfortunately, there is no accountability. In her introduction to the strategic plan, Superintendent Terry Bergeson says it “will be a living document . . . responding to changing conditions.” Thus, students, parents, legislators and taxpayers have no fixed standards by which to evaluate the
efficiency and effectiveness of education programs and expenditures. Worse, there is no guarantee students will benefit even if state education officials achieve their nonbinding goals, since some of those goals are highly questionable. We know, for example, that the most important controllable variable in student achievement is the quality of the teacher in the classroom. Superintendent Bergeson has guidelines for “assessing teacher capacity” on the OSPI website. According to these guidelines, a “below standard” teacher is one whose students “believe there are right and wrong answers to questions and work to determine what those are. [They] come up with immediate responses to questions and move quickly to the next task.” Conversely, an “above standard” teacher is one whose students “know their ability to construct understanding and think reflectively about a problem is more valuable than correct answers.” This mindset has led state officials to invest millions of dollars in teacher development and evaluation programs that do little or nothing to improve student literacy. We could invest billions more in such programs and still not get the results students need. We need to stop blindly assuming the solution to our education crisis is more money. Instead, we need to define meaningful outcomes and implement real solutions, even if we have to do so over the protests of entrenched special interests that have a stake in maintaining the status quo. It’s the least we can do for students and taxpayers.
A PUBLICATION OF THE EVERGREEN FREEDOM FOUNDATION
Short-Sighted Measures: legislators ignore essential election reforms by Jonathan Bechtle
ongratulations to illegal voters in Washington state! Your ability to vote is still safe, courtesy of the legislature. Throughout the 2005 legislative session, EFF called on legislators to enact meaningful election reforms, including: (1) 100 percent
re-registration of all voters who can show proof of citizenship and photo identification, (2) a requirement that voters show photo and signature identification to vote, and (3) enforcement of the existing laws and the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) provisions. Minor improvements were indeed made to the election system. The new legislation, however, completely ignored re-registration, implemented a hollow version of the voter identification requirements, and only partially required the enforcement of current laws. The little progress actually achieved, to quote University of Washington science professor David Olson, is akin to “picking the eyelashes off a gnat.” We must conclude that the fight to restore confidence in the integrity of our elections is far from over. Legislators on both sides of the aisle claimed improvement in the election system, and they are correct. Progress was made: • Provisional ballots will now be required to be “visually distinguishable” (a different color, for example) from regular ballots, and must be made so that they cannot be tabulated by the vote counting machines at polls. This will eliminate the possibility of provisional ballots getting mixed with regular ballots. • Felons must now be informed of their loss of voting rights at the time of their conviction.
to match signatures from absentee ballots to voter registration cards. The Secretary of State is required to publish a statewide guide on how election officials are to do this, but he does not have to publish actual regulations to ensure the system is standardized. This oversight leaves great potential for counties to implement the system using different standards, something that happened far too often in the 2004 elections. Another reform much touted by legislators was voter identification at the polls. It sounds good, but the definition of acceptable identification is so broad it is almost laughable. While a driver’s license or state identification card can be used, so can a utility bill, bank
• Procedures for reconciling mismatched or missing signatures are now standardized. Signatures also cannot be reconciled after a recount begins. • Extensive ballot reconciliation reports must be sent to the Secretary of State at the time of certification by county election officials. • State officials (at the Department of Motor Vehicles, for example) must now ask if a person is a citizen and 18 or older before providing a voter registration form. • The Secretary of State must now conduct quarterly scans of a statewide voter database for duplicate registrations, felons, non-citizens, and similar records. HAVA requires the Secretary of State to enter into agreements with other state agencies that provide information relevant to this scanning of the voter rolls. (Unfortunately the legislation does not appear to provide the Secretary with the tools necessary to perform this accurately. For example, the law requires him to run the database against lists provided by counties of residents who have been purged from jury lists because of ineligibility, but the counties are not specifically required to provide this type of information.) Other reforms appear on the surface to be improvements, but in reality are merely a façade of reform. For example, one bill requires election workers
statement, paycheck, voter card, or other government document. Since these are easily forged, the provision is essentially useless. In fact, the reverse side of King County voter cards state: “This card is NOT VALID PROOF OF CITIZENSHIP OR IDENTIFICATION.” Such surface reforms pale in comparison with what legislators ignored or made worse in our election system. One of the most vital changes, a complete reregistration of voters, was quickly rejected by Democrat leadership. Other failures of the legislature include: • Proof of citizenship is still not required. While state officials are supposed to ask, proof need not be shown. • A person does not have to register to vote in his/her legal name. This will result in many inaccuracies, as the registration may not match marriage or death records. • The practice of allowing the homeless to list a county building as their residence is now changed from an administrative rule to state law. The change no longer requires such voters to provide an address where they receive mail unless they vote absentee. This conflicts with other statutory requirements for verification of registration by mail and with the National Mail Voter Registration form. • The use of absentee (vote-by-mail) ballots was expanded, increasing the opportunity for fraud. Continued on page 11
Emergency clause continued from page 1. . . session to avoid referendums was confirmed by the following exchange between Sen. Jim Honeyford and Sen. Karen Keiser. It occurred at a January 27, Senate Hearing concerning the addition of an emergency clause to SB 5097. This bill requires 15 percent of total labor hours on state public works projects estimated to cost $1 million or more be performed by apprentices. Senator Honeyford: “If it’s already in existence, then what is the emergency? I see nothing here that’s for the public health, safety, peace, support of state government. It’s already in existence, so I think we abuse the emergency clause thing, and I think this is another example.” Senator Keiser: “It’s unfortunate, but the legislative intent has been several times revoked by actions following the legislature’s adjournment through various devices [bold added] that are now available. I think if we don’t have an emergency clause on controversial
bills [bold added] like this, that we will find the same kind of practice being utilized, and I think we need to make, as a legislature, our intent not only clear, but effective.” Senator Honeyford: “With that discussion, it seems like then that this emergency clause is to abrogate, I guess, the rights of citizens to bring some further actions if they’re opposing this, and I think that is wrong when we shut out the citizens from the process.” Discretional “emergencies” EFF has joined a coalition led by the Washington Farm Bureau in filing a lawsuit to challenge the legislature’s use of an emergency clause on SB 6078, which amends I-601. It appears even Governor Gregoire believes the legislature has been too zealous this session in its use of emergency clauses. Gregoire vetoed the emergency clauses for HB 1117 (increasing highway weight limit
for transport of dairy nutrients), HB 1270 (concerning retirement benefits for public employees), HB 1441 (concerning access of health insurance for children) and HB 1463 (requiring schools to provide information on meningococcal immunization). The legislature’s excessive use of emergency clauses this session has left the impression that political expediency is more important to many legislators than fulfilling their oath to uphold the state’s Constitution. The use of an emergency clause should be rare and used only in those cases “necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health or safety, support of the state government and its existing public institutions.” Emergency clauses must never be used for the purposes of denying the people their constitutional right of referendum because an issue is politically “controversial.”
TURN YOUR LIFE
INTO YOUR LEGACY by Lynn Harsh O.K. YOU’VE UNDERTAKEN ROUTINE ESTATE PLANNING TO PROTECT YOUR ASSETS FROM HIGHER THAN NECESSARY TAXES.
MAYBE YOU HAVEN’T DONE THIS YET, BUT IT’S UNDERLINED ON YOUR TO-DO LIST.
HERE’S SOMETHING TO CONSIDER . MOST TR ADITIONAL ESTATE PLANNING MODELS ONLY ADDRESS PLANNING FOR OUR EVENTUAL DEATH, NOT FOR WHAT HAPPENS BETWEEN NOW AND THEN.
FEW TR ADITIONAL
PLANS ADDRESS IMPORTANT QUESTIONS SUCH AS :
ARE YOUR VALUES, AND HOW CAN YOU USE THE ASSETS YOU HAVE ACCUMULATED TO
ADVANCE YOUR VALUES AND BELIEFS NOW?
HOW CAN YOU PROTECT YOUR ASSETS FROM IMPROPER USE BY OTHERS WHEN YOU ARE GONE? HOW CAN YOU AND YOUR FAMILY WORK ON LEGACY PLANNING TOGETHER?
o help answer these questions and many others, the Evergreen Freedom Foundation staff and Trustees are sponsoring our fifth Legacy Planning Seminar. This time we’re in Spokane, on June 14, and Duane Alton and Alexandra Ockey, both EFF Trustees, are the hosts. The seminar is free, and no products or services are sold. Alan Pratt, from Pratt Legacy Advisors, leads the seminars. We refer to him as the “architect” who helps people develop a plan to fit their particular value system and life situation. In many cases, Alan helps redraft plans that have already been created, but which may not cover all the needs and desires adequately. The execution of a person’s Legacy Plan is up to them and the professionals they choose. We sponsor these events for a very simple reason. Many people in this country have worked hard and have reaped the benefits of our free-enterprise system. Most of these people have strong beliefs of some kind, but they do not know how to use their assets both now and in the future to advance their beliefs, while still properly and generously providing for their families. This is why it is called “life planning” not “death planning.” But when we do pass away, without an alternative plan of action, up to 40 percent of our assets will be sent to the IRS. This is money we have already paid taxes on at least once. Alternative planning must begin well in advance of that day, if we want to avoid this scenario. People who are charitably minded usually remember the organizations they think are worth
supporting both while they are here and when they are gone. Sometimes we are one of those organizations, and for that we are grateful. But sometimes we’re not. We do not think we are the only game in town. Many organizations support the same values and ideals we hold dear here at the Evergreen Freedom Foundation. The greater causes of supporting freedom and our American heritage are advanced when our assets are wisely stewarded for our families and in our communities. Most people who have already crafted an estate plan think they are well prepared, but few actually are. Without exception, the people who have talked with us after a seminar, who have already crafted a plan, go back to the drawing board with their financial professionals. This is because most estate plans are centered around IRS issues and our eventual death, rather than personal values and our current life. A person need not be a member of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation to attend this seminar. Attendance is limited to less than 20 people, however, so we will give preference to EFF members. The attendance limitation is necessary so people have the opportunity to ask questions. Alan has agreed to stay for the afternoon if individuals decide they want to talk with him privately. He will not charge for brief private meetings during the afternoon of the 14th. Information you choose to discuss with him that
day or at any time in the future is confidential and is never disclosed to us. If you live in the Spokane area, you may receive an invitation to this event. If you do not, it’s because we don’t know you are interested. Just give us a call, drop a note or send us an email and tell us you would like to attend. If you are already working with professional advisors, they may accompany you to the seminar. Please call or write if you have questions.
A PUBLICATION OF THE EVERGREEN FREEDOM FOUNDATION
WSU grads protest flawed election system without sacrificing class by Booker Stallworth
yndicated columnist and Fox News Channel contributor Michelle Malkin called it the “best graduation prank ever.” As Malkin put it on her popular blog: “In Washington state, home of the never-ending gubernatorial election where every bogus vote counts, some Washington State University accounting grads sent a message to commencement speaker Democrat Gov. Christine Gregoire.” Several graduates from the Accounting Department of WSU’s College of Business filed into the room like their fellow students, except for one difference: They had “Accounting” spelled out on their mortarboards, one letter per hat. According to reports, once Governor Gregoire took the stage, the group quickly rearranged their mortarboards (making sure to convert a “c” to an “a”), so that “accounting” was converted into “Count Again.” Now compare this act of political protest with some of the antics of left-wing college students. For years,
campus left-wing activists have disrupted conservative speakers When students allow a speaker to complete their words by screaming obscenities and accusations, chanting over uninterrupted, but still manage to voice their opposition speakers, or even rushing the (as the Accounting majors at WSU demonstrated), they podium. not only exercise their free speech rights, but recognize Their latest fad attack tactic: those same rights for others. They do another thing: the pie-in-the-face. demonstrate a measure of class. This spring, William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard, was attacked with a pie during his speech at Earlham College. (as the Accounting majors at WSU demonstrated), That was followed by an attack on David Horowitz they not only exercise their free speech rights, but at Butler University and Pat Buchanan at Western recognize those same rights for others. They do Michigan University. To add a bit of flair, Buchanan’s another thing: demonstrate a measure of class. attacker used salad dressing. Conservative author and radio personality Ann Coulter managed to duck a pie that had her name written all over it. When students allow a speaker to complete their words uninterrupted, but still manage to voice their opposition
EFF joins I-601 referendum lawsuit by Jason Mercier
t seems legislators were not content with merely ignoring the intent of the people’s tax limit initiative (I-601) this session. They also claimed changing the law was an “emergency.” Their use of an “emergency clause” denies the people their right of referendum to undo the legislative gutting of I-601. The Washington Farm Bureau tried to file a referendum on the legislature’s I-601, changes but the Secretary of State’s Office refused to accept the referendum because of the attached bill’s “emergency clause.” Since we believe use of an emergency clause violates the Constitution’s intended use, we joined the Washington Farm Bureau, Washington State Grange, National Federation of Independent Business and Building Industry Association of Washington in filing a lawsuit to have the emergency clause ruled invalid. This would allow the Farm Bureau’s referendum to proceed. Gutting and gaming I-601 Democrats resorted to “suspending” the requirement. Democrats also changed the fiscal growth factor taxpayers approved in adopting I-601 to a more generous calculation that allows state spending to grow at a faster rate than currently authorized (beginning in 2007). Rep. Jim McIntire (D) didn’t see why the change was a big deal. In fact, At a March 23 House Hearing he asked supporters of the two-thirds requirement: “. . .You oppose the removal of the supermajority requirement [for tax increases]. Can you name a time when we [legislators] have actually not just set it aside by majority vote? I mean, this is in many respects a procedural motion that has no bearing. It’s a statutory constraint that cannot constrain any legislature that chooses as a majority to set it aside . . . have we ever used a supermajority [to raise taxes]?”
So much for following the will of the people! As if gutting I-601 wasn’t bad enough, consider the games Democrats played in the 2005 supplemental budget in order to artificially bump up the state’s spending limit: • First they transferred $250 million from the “dedicated” Health Services Account to the state general fund.
“SINCE WE BELIEVE USE OF AN EMERGENCY CLAUSE VIOLATES THE
CONSTITUTION’S INTENDED USE, WE JOINED THE WASHINGTON FARM BUREAU, WASHINGTON STATE GRANGE, NATIONAL FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS AND BUILDING INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION OF WASHINGTON IN FILING A LAWSUIT TO HAVE THE EMERGENCY CLAUSE RULED INVALID.
cated” Violence Reduction and Drug Enforcement Account back to the Health Services Account. The goal for this merry-go-round fund shifting: “For transfers in this section to the state general fund, pursuant to RCW 43.135.035(5), the state expenditure limit shall be increased by the amount of the transfer. The increase shall occur in the fiscal year in which the transfer occurs.” Nothing like transparent and accountable budgeting to restore the confidence of the people in their government! Some good news though: The budget shenanigans illustrated above may not have legally enhanced the spending limit as Democrats had hoped (more on that in the near future). Lawsuit As of this writing, the lawsuit to remove the emergency clause on the legislature’s I-601 changes is currently moving through the legal process. It is possible by the time you read this, the court may have reached a decision (check our website for updates). For those unsure of the suit’s chances, consider the basic premise that overturning the voter-approved spending limit and raising taxes was neither an emergency nor necessary. The Democrats’ inability to secure a two-thirds vote for their tax increases may have been a political inconvenience, but it did not rise to the level of a state emergency. The real emergency in this situation is the legislature’s attempt to deny the people the right and opportunity to vote on changes to I-601.
• Then they appropriated $250 million from the general fund to the Violence Reduction and Drug Enforcement Account. • Then they transferred $250 million from the “dedi-
WA legislative leaders fail health care consumers Legislators across the country enact tort reform and increase consumer choice by Cheryl Hymes
hat’s the biggest challenge with health insurance? Cost? Too few plans to choose from? Regulations? Tax policies that favor everyone except the small employer and unsubsidized individuals? A lack of commitment to empowering consumers? At the time of this writing, Governor Christine Gregoire has signed 24 health care bills. One would hope these bills would champion lower premiums for ALL Washingtonians—not just those on state plans. One would think legislators would understand the connection between higher premiums and mandated benefits or regulations. And one would want officials to encourage tax-advantaged health plans. In short, one would want health care policy to provide relief for working people who are struggling to find affordable health insurance. Unfortunately, that was not the case in 2005. If legislators were graded on how well they helped the majority of Washington residents find more affordable private health coverage, the grade would be an “F.” The majority of lawmakers focused on what they believe government programs should do, not on improving private health care options. Out of curiosity, I checked to see what health care legislation is being proposed in other states. Some state legislatures are still in session. Some have not yet posted the final status of bills. But one thing stands out: Attention to consumer-directed health care is greater in other states than in Washington. For example: • Minnesota proposed legislation to give state tax breaks on HSAs (in addition to federal tax advantages). Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty says he is committed to empowering “consumers by expanding and encouraging the use of Health Savings Accounts...”
• Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Louisiana and Maryland lawmakers signed laws in 2004 to encourage Health Savings Accounts. • Georgia’s Governor Sonny Perdue supports HSAs as anoption in the state health plan. Governor Perdue says: “We will add a Health Savings Account option to the State Health Benefit Plan, so that more Georgians can start planning, saving for and controlling their own health care.” • Florida’s state workers can choose Health Savings Accounts. The Florida Legislature approved Health Savings Accounts with the state matching employee contributions. Money in the HSAs will be tax free to employees as long as it is used for health care. (In contrast, Washington’s legislature this session finally denied Washington state workers even the option to set up a Health Savings Account.) • New Hampshire HHS commissioner wants HSAs in Medicaid. HHS Commissioner John Stephen plans to “reform Medicaid by giving low-income families a health savings account for their children’s care,” according to the Nashua Telegraph. He estimates the state would save $13 million over two years and $142 million by 2010. The New Hampshire legislation (HB 0290) gives an HSA option to state, county and public school employees. Another key action item for state legislators across the country is tort reform, which has been succeeding in lowering liability insurance costs in several states. According to a May 1 report from the Heartland Institute: [Since Texas enacted tort reform that included caps on non-economic damages], every insurer, but one, lowered liability premiums for 2005. West Virginia has seen an increase in new physicians and a decline in defense costs for
liability insurance companies since tort reform passed there. Ohio has seen a moderation of premium increases and two new insurers enter the market after torn reform passed. In Texas obstetric groups that had stopped delivering babies have gone back to doing that and Texas Medical Liability Trust, an insurer, cut rates 12 percent last year and 5 percent this year. Another insurer plans to reduce [liability insurance] premiums for 90 percent of its doctors [in Texas]…. California’s medical liability rates have dropped 40 percent since limiting non-economic damage awards. Washington voters will have a tort reform ballot measure (Initiative 330) that is similar to the tort reforms enacted in those states. I-330, however, will be on the ballot at the same time as Initiative 336, sponsored by Washington’s trial lawyers. I-336 does not include litigation reforms like non-economic damage limits, which have proved so successful in other states. The Washington Legislature missed an opportunity this session to enact these crucial reforms for health care consumers. Instead of passing controversial drug importation laws and watered-down flex accounts for state employees, the Washington state legislature should have studied the amazing impact of real reforms to implement consumer-directed health care options. Washingtonians would have been grateful. For more information, about health care-related bills signed into law this session, visit: http:// www.effwa.org/main/page.php?number=33.
A PUBLICATION OF THE EVERGREEN FREEDOM FOUNDATION
Democrat budget guarantees future “deficit” by Jason Mercier
t’s usually a good thing when state officials tell the truth, but Governor Christine Gregoire’s budget declaration earlier this year was an exception. Gregoire proclaimed her budget was “unsustainable.” Perhaps not wanting to undercut the leadership of the governor, legislative Democrats reinforced her proclamation by adopting a record $26 billion budget—all but guaranteeing a future billion dollar budget “deficit.” The Democrats’ $26 billion budget relies on tax increases, raids of dedicated accounts and other onetime budget gimmicks. It totally ignores the intent of the voter-approved I-601 spending limit. The original I-601 spending limit for the 2005-07 budget was $25.1 billion, but Democrats found ways to artificially bump the spending limit up by nearly a billion dollars to satisfy their spending appetite. (Democrats also passed a bill which guts the I-601 spending limits for the next biennium.) This budget also leaves a reserve fund of less than one percent, leaving the state ill-prepared to deal with any unforeseen emergencies, such as another earthquake or incident at Mt. St. Helens. Will of the people? Perhaps one of the more intriguing aspects of the Democrats’ tax-and-spend budget is whether or not it reflects the “will of the people.” As previously mentioned, Democrats were forced to resort to creative budget gimmicks to artificially increase the voter-approved spending limit. In acknowledging the Democrats’ spending limit increase strategy, Rep. Eileen Cody told a House Appropriations hearing on March 24 that the spending limit adjustments were “necessary in order to live within the very narrow constraints of our state expenditure limit.” Rep. Cody went on to say that these spending limit maneuvers were completely legal and should be utilized “until the state has a more meaningful expenditure limit that might be able to accommodate the growth of vital state programs.”
A “meaningful” expenditure limit? She must have meant to say one that “won’t get in legislators’ way.” Incidentally, the increase in the voter-approved spending limit was deemed necessary to allow Democrats to fund the requirements of another voterapproved initiative, this one reducing class sizes. Known as I-728, the class size reduction measure was approved by voters in 2000 based on promises made by former Governor Gary Locke (D) that “I-728 does not raise taxes. I-728 maintains ample reserves and funding for other state services.” Unfortunately for taxpayers and supporters of I-728, the state’s billon dollar surplus disappeared in 2001. With I-728’s $800 million drain on the state budget, Democrats decided to dedicate portions of an increased cigarette tax and death (estate) tax to fund part of the cost. Overriding the voter-approved spending limit to fund I-728, however, was totally unnecessary. Democrats were not prevented from raising taxes and spending at any level they wanted, but, under the law, voters must approve expenditures in excess of the spending limit. By playing budget games, the Democrats simply denied the people their right to reaffirm that the budget actually reflects their priorities. Democrats also failed to adopt the most obvious solution to their I-728 funding crunch. Rather than resort to budget gimmicks to thwart the will of the people, Democrats should have referred the full costs of the “free” education initiative to a vote of the people with a corresponding revenue source. Unfortunately, Democrats didn’t exercise this common sense option. Last year’s failure of Initiative 884, which would have increased the state’s sales tax by a billion dollars a year to fund the provisions of I-728, along with other education proposals, may explain why. Besides artificially increasing the voter-approved spending limit, Democrats approved a bill that all but guts I-601’s remaining taxpayer protections. Approved by the House on April 15, of all days, SB 6078 removed
the two-thirds vote requirement for the legislature to raise taxes during the 2005-07 biennium and redefines the spending limit growth factor to allow state spending to grow at a faster pace than previously authorized. This allowed Democrats to raise taxes with a simple majority vote and without any Republican support. Fiscal watchdogs bark Along with the concerns we’ve expressed, Washington’s other watchdogs have also weighed in on the Democrats’ record $26 billion budget. “It is outrageous the legislature raised taxes in adopting its unsustainable budget. We do not have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem,” said Jamie Daniels of Freedom Works. “There is no need for higher taxes; there is a need to curtail spending, prioritize, and invest in targeted programs that work. The voters overwhelmingly rejected new taxes with the defeat of I-884 on the November ballot, and nothing has been done since then to restore their confidence in state spending accountability.” Dann Mead Smith, president of the Washington Policy Center, agreed: “Simply taking more tax money from citizens won’t help, but thorough budget reform, like spending limits, competitive bidding for government services, and legal safeguards against tax increases, would finally ease the chronic sense of crisis in state finances.” Conclusion Ignoring the voter-approved spending limit and adopting tax increases was totally unnecessary. Had Democrats instead focused on core functions of government and priority-based budgeting to build their plan, Washington taxpayers would not be facing the prospect of additional tax increases to address the future budget “deficit” this spending plan has created.
Political Payback: Gregoire Style by S. Alex Bohler
tate workers in Washington will be receiving a cost of living increase this year. At least some of them. Members of the state employees’ union, the Washington Federation of State Employees (a staunch ally of Governor Gregoire’s political machine in Olympia) are set to get pay raises two months before their coworkers who don’t belong to the union. Since they will also get an increase next year two months sooner, they will get a total of four months of raises that their nonunion counterparts will not receive over the next two years. The preferential treatment for union members was originally touted by legislators as a means to save $9.5 million. Recent newspaper reports in both Olympia and Seattle newspapers, however, revealed that this discrimination against non-union workers will cost taxpayers in Washington between $8 and $10 million dollars. How? It will cost millions for the state to update the 30-yearold payroll computer software currently used by the Department of Personnel to accommodate the staggered pay increases. While the Office of Financial Management says it notified state legislators of the cost, Representative Helen Sommers now denies ever being “aware” of this taxpayer boondoggle.
So, Democrat legislators “save” $9.6 million, by delaying the pay increase. Then they spend $8-10 million to enforce the discrimination? This defies both human logic and fiscal sanity. Most importantly, it reinforces to both state employees and the voting public how arrogant the political “ruling class” in Olympia has become. Instead of practicing the pluralism and tolerance they preach, pro-union legislators are once again practicing the art of political payback. This time, the targets are state workers who are not members of the Federation of State Employees. The “collateral damage” of this absurd policy is, as usual, borne by taxpayers. Many state employees disagree with the Leftleaning political organizing of union officials. Union officials regularly spend members’ dues on politicking in the name of “organizing” or “education and outreach.” Yet union security clauses (more aptly termed monopoly bargaining powers) and insufficient accountability measures force these members to subsidize union politicking. These independent workers often endure
harassment and discrimination in the workplace because they reject this coercive union orthodoxy. This most recent slap in the face to non-union state workers by the legislature is just a public example of the long string of payoffs to the WFSE hierarchy. Even Governor Gregoire has expressed surprise and displeasure that the pay raises of her own employees in the Departments of Revenue and Personnel will be delayed. Speaker Frank Chopp doesn’t seem to care that nonunion workers will lose their pay increases for a total of 120 days over the next two years. “No one should read anything into this…it doesn’t hurt that much.” What arrogance! This is exactly the kin of out-of-touch attitude that most sensible Washingtonians reject. According to WFSE’s own figures, a non-union state worker earning $48,000 per year would lose approximately $1,000 over the course of the next two years due to the delayed pay raise scheme. In today’s economy, $1,000 is serious money, enough to pay a family’s groceries for a few months, or pay for new clothes for school-age children, or make a month’s mortgage. And it’s not just the money, it’s the message such an official insult sends to independent state workers. It is unwise and disrespectful to discriminate against non-union state workers, even if only for four months over two years. To spend $10 million taxpayer dollars to do it is fiscal insanity, pure and simple.
Union fights hard to protect its turf by Ryan Bedford
fforts to hold unions accountable to their members and the public are gaining momentum across the country as other states follow the work we have begun in Washington. Paycheck protection in particular is at the forefront of the national scene. These measures are similar to I-132, approved by Washington voters in 1992, to require unions to obtain permission from members before deducting political contributions from their paychecks or spending dues on political projects. Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman endorsed paycheck protection earlier this year and California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger may endorse a paycheck protection initiative that voters in that state will be facing this fall. The threat to the coercive power of the state’s unions has them scrambling for options. The California Teachers’ Association (CTA) alone is hoping to raise dues to fund a $54 million opposition campaign. The California initiative was submitted to the Secretary of State the first week in May. Accompanying the filing were over 600,000 signatures the Coalition for Employee Rights (CER) collected in support of the initiative. While Governor Schwarzenegger has declined to expressly endorse the initiative, the committee managing his initiatives has endorsed the measure. Unions in California and around the nation are preparing to oppose the initiative. To date, the CTA has set aside more than $10 million in its initiative fund, and it wants to supplement the fund by securing a $54 million loan. As collateral for the loan, the CTA hopes to approve a general dues increase of $184 per teacher over the next three years, and mortgage its headquarters. If the CTA follows through with this plan, it will ensure that its members continue to support union officials’ political agenda, even after voters may prohibit the practice. In short, the CTA hopes to take out an insurance policy on coerced dues and immediately cash it in, sticking members with the premiums for the next three years. The National Education Association (NEA) is also involved in the struggle and has promised $2.5 million to help fight the initiative. This is in addition to the $11 million it has given to the CTA to oppose other statewide initiatives since 2000. Union officials commonly oppose paycheck protection measures by arguing that members’ political donations are already voluntary. However, recent developments in Utah have shown this to be false. Until two years ago, the Utah Education Association (UEA) collected around $140,000 a year in political contributions. Today, it collects $40,000 a year. This reflects a drop from 68 percent of UEA’s membership donating two years ago to 6.8 percent donating now. The abrupt change is the result of the Voluntary Contributions Act (VCA), which is similar to one version of the paycheck protection initiative filed in
California. The VCA requires unions to obtain members’ express written permission before making a deduction to a PAC or spending dues on politics. The VCA has been devastating to the UEA’s ability to meet its legislative and political goals. UEA President Pat Rusk admitted that the legislators who implemented the VCA, “got exactly what they wanted.” Other union officials have said the Association will cease to be a major player in Utah politics unless there are significant changes to the level of member contributions. It wasn’t until he was on a red-eye flight from SEATAC to Miami Faced with the prospect of that EFF President Bob Williams finally had an opportunity to returning to their original and read Bringing Justice to the People: The Story of the Freedomlimited purpose, or supporting Based Public Law Movement by Lee Edwards, with a foreword teachers’ workplace conditions, by Attorney General Ed Meese. For months, an EFF member UEA officials are campaigning had been urging Bob to read the book. heavily for PAC donations. At a recent House of Delegates meeting, Rusk asked, “Without money to help our candirecounts the history dates, how can we compete, let alone defeat?” One of Utah’s most active school reform advocates, Education Excellence Utah, is at the heart of the fight and has filed numerous complaints against the UEA’s politicking. [One complaint asserts that the NEA received contributions from members and spent over $250,000 in Utah on initiatives to raise taxes, yet it failed to file as a political action committee as required under state law.] Utah’s Attorney General has found the complaint credible and forwarded it to the NEA for its response. A similar complaint has been filed by the Nevada Policy Research Institute (NPRI) against the NEA in Nevada. In part, the complaint asserts: “For years the National Education Association and its Nevada affiliates have engaged in explicit political activities forbidden to tax-exempt labor organizations.” The comunion increased by more than 400 plaint cites internal records inThis is an exciting time in the labor dicating the NEA has spent more than percent. I2I analyzed the union PAC’s accountability movement. EFF’s Labor $875,000 to influence elections in Ne- yearly finance reports and found that the Policy Center will continue our Teacher vada. The primary goal of the NEA was number of requests for political refunds Paycheck Protection Project. We will to pass initiatives increasing taxes to increased from 179 in 2003 to 972 in leave our doors open for organizations fund education. The NEA did not prop- 2004. This cost the union(s) significantly. and individuals seeking advice on erly report these expenditures, and NPRI In 2003 the union paid out just $4,296 how to advance individual liberty, free filed the complaint in January with the in refund requests. In 2004, refunds enterprise, and responsible government… increased to $23,328. Secretary of State. because freedom matters! Union officials generally pooh-pooh Another event of note was accomplished by the Independence Institute of and even condemn outside organizations Colorado (I2I). The institute conducted for notifying their members of their a small media campaign to inform teach- rights, saying they already inform ers of their right to opt out of the union members of these options. The if they have religious or political objec- overwhelming response of Colorado’s tions. The campaign consisted of two teachers to a few simple emails, however, emails sent to public school teachers and raises the question of whether they were truly informed of their rights by union a few media appearances. The results were astounding: The officials. number of teachers opting out of the
Not to toot our own horn, but…
A PUBLICATION OF THE EVERGREEN FREEDOM FOUNDATION
Lifting Teacher Performance
Short-sighted measures continued from page 11. . .
by Andrew Leigh and Sara Mead Note from EFF: This article is the introduction to a new report titled “Lifting Teacher Performance,” which was published in April 2005 by the Progressive Policy Institute. It is reprinted here with permission from the Institute. We would have been hard-pressed to write about teacher quality and evaluation more articulately, and we encourage anyone who is interested in the issue to download a copy of the full 18-page report from www.ppionline.org. If you would like a print copy, please contact us at the office and we’ll mail one to you.
esearch increasingly demonstrates what common sense has long made apparent to educators and parents: Teacher quality matters—a lot. Teachers’ knowledge and skills are the most vital in-school factors influencing children’s learning. And, for children from disadvantaged backgrounds or troubled home environments, quality teaching is even more important. Unfortunately, the quality of America’s public school teaching force is neither as good as it could be nor as good as it must be to prepare our children for a global economy. Certainly, the nation has thousands of highly skilled, dedicated teachers. But, since the 1960s, the quality of the teaching profession has declined. Even more troubling, there are huge teacher quality disparities between poor and affluent schools. Disadvantaged children—those who most need excellent teachers—are the least likely to have them. It is time for policymakers to realize that the status quo methods of improving teacher quality simply do not work. Many of the old solutions favored by education groups to improve teacher quality—such as raising teacher sala-
ries across the board, improving training, and requiring certification—have not fixed the problem. Indeed, one of the most popular education policy proposals of recent years, cutting class sizes, risks unintentionally lowering teacher quality even further, as affluent districts make up their numbers by poaching the most capable teachers from poorer areas. The trouble is that these status quo solutions do not focus on the real problem driving declines in teacher quality: an outdated preparation and compensation scheme that demands and rewards the wrong things, and that provides too few growth opportunities to attract highly skilled individuals to teaching in sufficient numbers. Without bottom-up reform of the fundamental assumptions of our current teacher preparation and compensation regimes, neither the old policies, nor the promises of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) to place a highly qualified teacher in every classroom, can have much success. There is a better way. Policymakers can draw on the latest performance data and research to craft effective policies that reward and attract highly skilled teachers. Regular testing, as mandated by NCLB, allows researchers and policymakers to track student achievement over time and link results to teachers. By measuring test score gains from one year to the next, researchers and administrators can better determine the characteristics and conditions that lead to effective teaching. That will allow policymakers to reward teachers who do a better job in the classroom, taking into account the composition of their student body. In addition, a new stream of labor market research provides insight into how and why individuals decide to enter or leave the teaching profession and where they choose to teach.
This paper analyzes promising new research about teacher quality and the incentives for teachers to do better. We assess current teacher quality approaches and offer recommendations to help policymakers modernize how teachers are prepared, hired, evaluated, and compensated. Among the most promising solutions are: • Carefully designing systems of performance-based teacher pay; • Rewarding teachers who choose to work in the schools that need them most; and • Streamlining or expediting certification requirements to expand the pool of individuals who can be hired as teachers. While the research evidence for modernizing teacher preparation and certification is clear, the politics are more challenging. Established interests with a stake in the status quo arrangements of educating, paying, and assigning teachers oppose reforms that interfere with their established prerogatives. But unless policymakers are willing to tackle these tough politics, we will continue to condemn millions of disadvantaged children to an inadequate education and run the risk of undermining our nation’s future economic competitiveness. Andrew Leigh, Ph.D., is an economist in the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University. Sara Mead is a policy analyst with the Progressive Policy Institute’s 21st Century Schools Project. The Progressive Policy Institute is a research and education institute based in Washington, D.C. The Institute’s work rests on three ideals: equal opportunity, mutual responsibility, and self-governing citizens and communities. Find out more online at www.ppionline.org.
• The ability of political parties to gain access to lists of un-reconciled ballots was not forbidden, allowing vote-shopping to occur again in future elections. • No new requirements for handling absentee ballots were passed, a major source of potential fraud from past elections. • Examination of ballots for voter intent is now codified, meaning county officials are legally protected when they examine a ballot to determine voter intent. This is a constitutionally questionable practice that will now be encouraged as part of state law. • While direct enhancement of ballots is now prohibited, workers can still duplicate ballots that they feel may not be tabulated properly, and have them examined for voter intent. • County election officials are allowed to re-canvass during a recount process, a practice that is of great concern, as it involves the merging of two entirely different steps in the process. This section makes legal the multiple “ballot findings” in King County that gave Christine Gregoire the election. • Citizens judged mentally incompetent are now presumed competent to vote unless a judge declares otherwise. As a result, mentally incompetent people are more likely to be allowed to vote, raising a question of constitutionality and increasing the opportunity for fraud. The blame for the lack of meaningful election reform, however, should not rest entirely on the legislature. During her State of the State Address, Governor Gregoire announced the formation of an Election Task Force, which held five public hearings across the state. The Task Force’s final recommendations included EFF’s three top priorities for reform, clearly showing the will of the people. Governor Gregoire flatly ignored the report, and the legislature never even held a public hearing on the results! Recommendations Major reform is still needed to bring integrity back to our election system. Overall, the changes passed by the legislature this session do little to correct the problems that were revealed in the 2004 elections. Washington citizens should be able to vote with confidence that their ballot will count. Legislators failed to protect this right, so the people must step up. Representatives and Senators need to hear that citizens are disappointed in the weakness of their reforms. Widespread support will be needed for a future initiative to implement major reforms. County auditors must take all steps possible to tighten security for the next election. We urge you to get involved in this process to once again make Washington elections a positive model for the rest of the nation.
EFF PROFILE :
BOB EDELMAN by Kristen Mercier
ob Edelman recently agreed to direct EFF’s Voter Integrity Project and the project manager for various military and space programs, including a few top Grassroots Washington, but he’s been involved in election reform a long secret assignments. Bob’s favorite project was his work on the air launch cruise time, specifically campaign finance reform. After working on several po- missile. He was a program manager for testing and evaluating the missile as it litical campaigns in the early 1990’s, Bob was frustrated. “I had a concern with was being converted from a nuclear to a conventional tactical weapon for the Air the amount of money that had been poured into the election by unions,” he says. Force. At the start of the Gulf War, these missiles were launched from B-52s in “Was this money spent with members’ permission, since this was money taken the first strike on Iraq. He later became Chief Engineer of Boeing’s Electronics Systems Division before his retirement in 1992. from their dues?” He had to do something to change the status quo. When Bob came to work in Seattle forty-seven years ago, he had intended to head He thought about running an initiative to diminish the unions’ influence, but back east after a few years. Experiencing the great Northwest a little research into Washington state law showed him changed his mind. He now lives with his wife of 23 years, that the rules were already there—they just weren’t being Janie, on Lake Sawyer in Black Diamond, WA. They enjoy enforced. “IN 2000, BOB CHALLENGED a variety of community activities, including a neighborhood After researching the unions’ spending habits and gourmet cooking club. Bob also runs a website that is of great finding multiple violations of state law, Bob started A PDC RULE THAT interest to local water sportsmen: www.LakeSawyerWeather. filing complaints with the Public Disclosure Commission ALLOWED MULTIPLE LOCAL com provides all the weather and water conditions skiers and (PDC), asking them to investigate. Many of his complaints swimmers might need, including a panoramic picture of the resulted in large fines against the unions and changes in AFFILIATES OF UNIONS lake updated every five minutes. union policy. AND CORPORATIONS TO Bob’s son got him interested in running the website. (He Bob worked with EFF in its 1998 case against the owns a company that specializes in Internet weather software Washington Education Association. The union had to MAKE MAXIMUM POLITICAL and weather system hardware.) His son’s business, Ambient pay $400,000 in fines, refunds and legal costs for using CONTRIBUTIONS TO Weather located in Phoenix, was named one of the 500 fastest members’ dues for political purposes without individual growing businesses by Inc. Magazine. teacher consent, a violation of state law. CANDIDATES AS SEPARATE Bob has another son who is a teacher, writer and poet living In 2000, Bob challenged a PDC rule that allowed ENTITIES. AFTER FOUR in Seattle. His daughter is a naturopathic physician practicing multiple local affiliates of unions and corporations to in Bellevue, and his stepdaughter is the hospital director of a make maximum political contributions to candidates as YEARS OF LEGAL BATTLES, veterinary clinic. He also has four grandchildren. separate entities. After four years of legal battles, the THE S TATE S UPREME C OURT In years past, Bob was a long distance runner. In 1988, State Supreme Court overturned the rule last year in its he ran in the Vancouver International Marathon. With his Edelman v State of Washington decision. This year, the OVERTURNED THE RULE LAST time of 3 hours and 19 minutes, he qualified for the Boston legislators restored the loophole with an emergency clause, YEAR IN ITS EDELMAN V STATE Marathon. Undeterred by a knee injury, he ran in Boston the demonstrating their urgent need for contributions. following year—a remarkable achievement and experience. So far, Bob’s retirement years have been spent fighting OF WASHINGTON DECISION.” He has since replaced running with other activities, for free and fair elections. “I was going to go back to school including photography and cross-country skiing. Bob and to learn a foreign language. I learned a little Spanish when Janie enjoy traveling and taking pictures along the way. He I lived in Texas, and I was hoping to study more in my meets monthly with a photography club to compare and critique pictures. Bob retirement.” But he’s been too busy in politics to head back to college. As an “Army brat,” Bob had the opportunity to grow up all over the United also owns several handguns, but his guns aren’t covered with dust in a showcase. States. He was born in Maryland and spent his childhood years in Montana, “I like to shoot them, not just collect them.” “I may not be running in the physical sense any longer, but now I am running California, Indiana, Texas and New Jersey. He headed to Georgia Tech as a young adult to earn his bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics, and then ended up in trying to catch up with Bob (Williams),” he joked. With his tenacity and experience, Bob Edelman is the perfect leader for our election reform efforts. Washington state through a job offer at Boeing. Boeing provided him the opportunity to go back to school in the middle of his We’re pleased to have him on board! career to gain a Master of Science degree in management science at MIT. He was
VOLUME 15, Issue 6 Evergreen Freedom Foundation PO Box 552 Olympia, WA 98507 (360) 956-3482 Fax (360) 352-1874 email@example.com • 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.
“Quote” of the month
Then STOP! “Nobody likes to pay taxes, and nobody likes to vote for taxes, not even those of us you’d call ‘tax-and-spend liberals’.” -Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson, D-Seattle in the Spokesman-Review.