If Olympia won’t take action, Seattle should lead the way on education, housing, more

Photo: Bryan Jones via Flickr Creative Commons

John Burbank | May 18, 2017

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 121 years ago that racial segregation was legal. Its decision, in Plessy vs. Ferguson, became the law of the land, embedding Jim Crow laws and habits in the South and the North, disenfranchising blacks, creating separate and inferior public facilities from schools to train cars to

Just planting a tree can do a world of good

Photo: Edmond Chung via Flickr Creative Commons

John Burbank | May 3, 2017

My friend called me last week and invited me to the Climate March that Saturday in Seattle. I decided not to go. Maybe I just had enough marching, with the Women’s March the day after the presidential inauguration, and the March for Science earlier in April. These were good marches, protests and political cel

Sound Transit 3 car tab rollback threatens light rail to Everett

Image courtesy of Seattle Bike Blog

John Burbank | April 20, 2017

The Legislature is wrapped up in discussions about how to fund (or not) K-12 education. But if you look under the covers, you will see that these very same elected representatives and senators are intent on defunding Sound Transit 3. Instead of simply abiding by the voters’ approval of the tax increases neces

What are we getting out of Boeing’s tax breaks?

Boeing jobs are on the wing from Washington - despite huge tax breaks

John Burbank | April 6, 2017

As a young girl, my daughter had a fear of flying. She overcame this through a thorough study of airplanes and landed on the 737 as her preferred means of transportation in the air. So naturally, she asked for a Boeing T-shirt for a present. It says, “If it’s not Boeing, I’m not going!” So let’s talk about Bo

Mounting evidence shows minimum wage increase actually boosts jobs

Image courtesy of the Economic Policy Institute

John Burbank | March 22, 2017

Last November voters overwhelmingly approved Initiative 1433 to increase the minimum wage and establish a statewide standard for paid sick days. Initiative 1433 raised the minimum wage to $11 an hour on Jan. 1, 2017. That was an increase of $1.53 from what it was on Dec. 31, 2016. That’s a 16 percent raise. I

Paid family leave at Starbucks: The headlines vs. the reality

The author, Starbucks barista Kristen Picciolo, had a baby last year. She says the company's paid leave policy, which offers corporate employees more time off than baristas, is inequitable. Photo courtesy of Kristin Piccolo

Economic Opportunity Institute | March 17, 2017

Starbucks got headlines for announcing a new employee family leave policy. But as this story shows, a splashy press release can mask real inequities in company policy. That’s why Washington state needs a paid family and medical leave program that people can count on, no matter where they work: “My name is Kri

Democracy is a participatory process

Photo: Ravenhart via Flickr Creative Commons

Marilyn Watkins | March 16, 2017

Washington’s Legislature is more than halfway through its 2017 session and a lot of good bills have gone to the chopping block. The issues that have made it this far in the process are still alive because individuals and organizations spoke up, identified real life problems, and urged legislators to make the

Citizen University TV: Re-rigging the rules on economic opportunity and income inequality

citizen tv rerig thumb

Economic Opportunity Institute | March 10, 2017

The rules of power are often rigged in favor of monopolies and winner-take-all systems. On Citizen University TV, host Eric Liu explores ways citizens can overcome a system stacked against them. He calls this strategy “re-rigging the rules.” But what if you’re an ex-con? Does this strategy still work? For the

BREAKING: One working family bill moves on to the Senate… one still left to go

Photo: Rachel Samanyi/Flickr Creative Commons

Economic Opportunity Institute | March 9, 2017

BIG news! Yesterday, Washington’s House of Representatives has passed this year’s equal pay bill on a bipartisan vote, which will help us address the pay and opportunity gaps between working men and women in Washington. (And what a perfect way to recognize International Women’s Day!) This is a HUGE victory, a

In praise of Nordic skiing and immigrants who brought it here

Photo: Laurel F via Flickr Creative Commons

Economic Opportunity Institute | March 8, 2017

Spring may be around the corner, although winter seems to be hanging on around Puget Sound. So, while the Mariners are in spring training in Arizona, and high school basketball has wrapped up, we still have time to look up to the mountains and, if we have the resources, go skiing. When people think of skiing,

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