Morning Fizz

Morning Fizz: Linked and Seconded

Caffeinated News & Gossip.

By Morning Fizz July 9, 2013


1. A new University of Washington report commissioned by the Seattle city auditor on the first few months of the city's mandatory paid sick-leave law takes a look at Seattle employers' experiences under the new ordinance, including whether employees come in to work sick, whether part-time employees get sick leave, how many employers are complying, and how many workplaces are actually impacted by the law.

Those last two numbers are smaller than you might expect; according to the report, just over 37 percent of companies licensed to do business in Seattle were subject to the paid sick leave law; the rest were exempt because they have fewer than five employees in Seattle.

Additionally, "only a minority" of Seattle employers who are supposed to be providing paid sick leave were doing so when the survey was taken, shortly after the law went into effect last September; the rest were either only providing sick leave to full-time employees or not providing sick leave at all.

Food-service companies were the most likely to offer paid sick leave; the arts, entertainment, and recreation industry were the least likely to do so. 

Four out of ten employers said their employees work while sick; paradoxically, employers that offer paid sick leave were more likely to say their workers come in sick. Four out of ten employers had not heard of the paid sick leave law. 

2. One weird thing we've noted about the legislative session that finally wrapped up Olympia last month is that the Republicans killed the transportation funding package, something that their most recent candidate for governor, Rob McKenna, actually campaigned for.

Another thing McKenna campaigned for was the "levy swap"—a way to make the state responsible for at least $1 billion more in K-12 education money by having the state take over local property taxes that currently backfill school funding.

That idea was taken off the table by Gov. Jay Inslee after he defeated McKenna.

Now that people are beginning to worry about the instability of the $1 billion (much of it came from sweeping the capital budget) that the legislature put toward K-12 funding to meet the State Supreme Court's mandate (they probably needed about $1.4 billion more, by the way, according to legislative staff estimates), the levy swap idea is rearing its head again.

Rep. Ross Hunter (D-48, Medina), an early advocate of the levy swap, who was told by his party to stand down after Inslee denounced it, promptly linked and seconded a Tacoma News Tribune editorial this morning calling the idea "critical" to education funding.

And Hunter chimed in: "This is one of the obvious moves for the 2015-17 budget, and we will start looking at something like it over the interim."

3. Our Mayoral Movies series at Northwest Film Forum wrapped up last night with former City Council member Peter Steinbrueck's choice—Buddy: The Rise and Fall of America's Most Notorious Mayor, a documentary about former Providence Rhode Island mayor Buddy Cianci, who was convicted by the feds on corruption charges. 

Steinbrueck used the Q&A afterward to sound the main theme of his campaign, slowing what he called "the development drive," which, he said. comes at the expense of neighborhoods.

For example, he criticized the recent upzone in South Lake Union, saying it was pricing out lower-income residents. "What you got was a small trickle of incentives that does a little for those at the bottom, nothing for those in the middle, and then a bunch of high rises."

And criticizing those who see upzones and density as the solution to Seattle's problems, he added:

"Some will say it's simple supply and demand—ratchet up the supply. It just doesn't work that way. There have to be interventions."

The irony, of course, is that the "interventions" he calls for include the very types of "incentives" that the council passed in South Lake Union. And in fact, he sounded a bit like Mike O'Brien, a frequent McGinn ally, who, along with Steinbrueck's old council ally Nick Licata, amended McGinn's incentive program to make it tougher on developers.

Today's Morning Fizz sponsored by Our Schools Coalition.



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