Local economies still struggling to rebound from the downturn risk losing their skilled workforce or filing for bankruptcy. But, with some strategizing, they may be able to avoid such lasting consequences and extreme remedies. We turned to a panel of leading experts for advice on what policymakers, businesses and citizens can focus on in order to achieve recovery. Featuring comments by Marilyn Watkins, EOI's Policy Director.
Supporters and opponents of an unprecedented income tax initiative in Olympia are working hard to spread their message to voters ahead of the Nov. 8 general election. But are both campaigns sticking to the facts?
Jobs are coming back and incomes are improving across Washington state, but families still are struggling to pay for the basics, according to a new report. Study author Marilyn Watkins, policy director for the Economic Opportunity Institute, believes voters should pass Initiative 1433 this November and raise the minimum wage for workers.
Initiative 1 calls for creating a public college tuition fund that would be funded by a 1.5 percent tax on all household income within Olympia city limits that exceeds $200,000 a year. The Economic Opportunity Institute of Seattle drew up the blueprint for Initiative 1 and has been a driving force behind the initiative.
If the gender pay gap continues to close at its current rate, women will reach pay equity with men in 2059, according to a new report from the American Association of University Women. Called The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap, the report finds full-time working women are slowly closing the disparity, making about 80 percent nationally of what their male counterparts make. Marilyn Watkins, policy director at the Economic Opportunity Institute, said the issue isn't just that women are paid less for the same job title. Often, as in the technology field, they are shuffled into lower-paying positions.
The Evergreen State has room for improvement when it comes to protecting working families, according to a new report. The National Partnership for Women and Families gave Washington a "B-minus" grade in a recent study assessing states’ workplace policies to protect expectant and new parents - including paid family leave and workplace accommodations for pregnant women.
A new proposal calls for creating a 1.5% tax on household income in excess of $200,000 in Olympia, WA. If it passes, every public high school graduate and GED recipient living inside city boundaries would be eligible for money to pay for the first year of tuition at any community college, or an equivalent amount can be applied to tuition at any public university in Washington.
“This bill doesn’t say bosses must share everyone’s pay with everyone else, it’s just giving women the opportunity to ask if they are being paid less,” Rachel Senn said. “When I grow up, I don’t want to live in a world where women are paid less, and I really don’t want to live in a world where women don’t know if they are paid less, and they can get fired for exercising their first-amendment right of free speech.”
Changes in a bill to ensure equitable pay actually happens are contested, as Legal Voice and the Economic Opportunity Institute, both advocacy organizations with interests in pay-inequity matters, say the revised version does too much to negate it.
Jobs for college-educated workers are growing at a faster pace than for those without higher education, a trend also evident in the Seattle area. But nationally, nearly one-third of all workers now are in temporary, part-time or freelance jobs. Marilyn Watkins, policy director for the Economic Opportunity Institute, said that's a real concern.
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