New in the McCleary case: The AG answers the Supreme Court's questions

The attorney general’s office has responded to the state Supreme Court’s July 14 order in the McCleary case. No big surprises here -- the brief argues the contempt order should be dissolved and the sanctions ended.

Labor demand and the minimum wage

One of the big questions about minimum wage increases is whether and how they will reduce employment. In general, as we discuss in our recent report on I-1433, the preponderance of evidence suggests that employment will decline as the minimum wage increases. But “by how much?” is less settled, as there is not a consensus as to what the labor elasticity of demand is.

Policy Today podcast: The perils of I-1433, the statewide initiative on minimum wage, paid sick leave

This November Washington voters will decide the fate of Initiative 1433, which would raise the minimum wage to $13.50/hour statewide and mandate paid sick leave for all employees regardless of the employer's size. There are no exemptions for parts of the state that are less economically robust than the Puget Sound region.

Details from Seattle’s proposed scheduling ordinance

Yesterday a Seattle City Council committee discussed a proposed “secured scheduling” ordinance. (A summary is available here.) The city council process will continue at least into September.

New report: I-1433: A “Blunt Instrument” Increasing the Minimum Wage and Mandating Paid Sick Leave

Initiative 1433 will be on the ballot in November. We consider the initiative in a new report. Briefly:

How to help rural economies

As Opportunity Washington noted yesterday, while the unemployment rate in the Puget Sound region is low, it is higher in other parts of the state. 

Along those lines, Governing Magazine has an interesting story this month: "Can Counties Fix Rural America's Endless Recession?"

Common Ground Podcast: Slade Gorton on the Presidential Race & Failure of the Two Parties

Have we got a treat for you! Our super-special guest this week is former U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton, who was kind enough to sit down with us and talk extensively about the 2016 presidential campaign and the state of American politics.

Slade, who in June penned an op-ed for the Seattle Times ("Pray for a third-party candidate") blasting both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, covers a wide range of topics, including:

More condos would mean more affordable housing in Seattle

Last month I wrote about how the building boom in Seattle is heavy on apartments and light on condos, noting that that is partially the result of state law that increases legal and insurance costs for condo developers. Yesterday, the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at UW released a report on condo development in Washington (focusing on Seattle). It details some of these problems.

How Seattle’s minimum wage increase to $11 is affecting workers and businesses

A team at the University of Washington has been studying the effects of Seattle’s minimum wage ordinance. In January, the team provided preliminary estimates on the ordinance’s impacts on prices (they suggested “a concentration of price effects in the restaurant industry”).

In scheduling study, more evidence that labor regulations distort the compensation mix

A new study (commissioned by the city of Seattle) looks at how scheduling works in Seattle businesses and considers what regulations might be in order. Opportunity Washington has a good overview of the findings and responses to them.