Goals for the Economy
Our first priority is to restore our economic health. The Washington legislature, however, clings to obsolete ideas about labor and growth. State government has failed to progress alongside our innovative private sector, thereby guaranteeing a sick economy. To invigorate our business sector, we need to make small businesses and entrepreneurs the stakeholders in growth — rather than relying on debt-financed stimulus programs. Such moves require the legislature to change its view on taxes and regulations as a way to manage the private sector. Reducing Washington’s actual unemployment rate of 17.4 percent is the key. This would end economic uncertainty and stop the real estate slide in value.
Review state regulations for effectiveness. If it makes sense to regularly reconsider tax levels and public spending, then it makes sense to review regulations as well.
- Make Washington more welcoming to businesses by lowering the cost of operating and increasing the ability and attractiveness of our workforce.
Goals for Government Reform
Our public-sector leadership needs to reset priorities and focus resources toward delivering results. Leaders need to re-examine Washington’s constitution to set a new direction. They must also heed the clear message of voters to stop relying on tax increases as a way to fix budget shortfalls.
- Bring in leaders who listen and empower state employees with high expectations and clear accountability. Establish a system that rewards performance over tenure.
- Introduce competition for would-be providers of certain government services, with the goal of increasing service quality and saving money.
- Change the culture at state agencies to one of partnership with the private sector instead of viewing the private economy as something to manage.
- Increase the difficulty of amending voter-approved initiatives.
- End golden parachute and double-dipping retirement by state employees.
Goals for Education
Washington’s rating for quality of education falls among the bottom 10 states. We must resist blaming the failures of public education on teachers, inadequate resources or a child’s inability to learn. Instead we need to realize that the root of underachievement lies with the education system’s bureaucracies. Washington needs to heed the call of President Obama and others to lift backward-looking limits on charter schools. We need to raise standards for new teachers and pay them for their effectiveness. We must also create an educational environment that fosters teachers and leaders who are truly enthusiastic about teaching. Such an environment can only improve the results we see in our children.
- Cut the dropout rate from its current one-third to less than 10 percent within 10 years. The Renton and Everett school districts have shown this is possible.
- Prepare high school graduates to succeed in college, vocational training or the workforce by reducing the number of college freshman who require remedial math or English courses to less than 10 percent.
- Permit and encourage highly innovative charter schools, drawing from successful models that actually teach kids and close the achievement gap.
- Require that schools deliver at least 70 percent of budgets to the classroom, including special education. The top-rated Issaquah School District has done this with amazing success.
- Acknowledge the findings in the landmark Adverse Childhood Experiences study (ACEs) as it applies to education.