Washington Policy Center
|Motto||Improving lives through market solutions|
|Mission||To promote sound public policy based on free-market solutions|
|President||Daniel Mead Smith|
|Formerly called||Washington Institute Foundation|
The Washington Policy Center (WPC) is a free market think tank based in the state of Washington. The organization's stated mission is "to promote sound public policy based on free-market solutions." The mission and philosophy of the organization is also described as: "To promote limited government and free market solutions for state and local issues" As is common on Wikipedia pages, these descriptions accurately reflect only what the organization claims for itself, and not what it actually does or supports. It has a statewide staff of 21 and offices in Seattle, Olympia, Spokane, and Richland. The organization is divided into seven research centers: Agriculture, Education, Environment, Government Reform, Health Care, Small Business and Transportation, with a research center director that leads research efforts in each area.
WPC operates a free public-service website, WashingtonVotes.org, which tracks what bills state legislators introduce and support. WashingtonVotes.org provides a roll call service to state media outlets while the legislature is in session.
Washington Policy Center comprises seven research centers: Education, Environment, Government Reform, Health Care, Small Business, Transportation, and Agriculture. The research centers were funded and opened as part of a $4.1 million capital campaign.
Center for Education
WPC's Center for Education "conducts objective research and makes practical policy recommendations to improve Washington state's ability to carry out its paramount duty to educate every child within its borders." The center is a strong advocate for school choice and is a leading proponent of charter schools in Washington state.
In 2008, the center published Education Reform Plan: 8 Practical Ways to Improve Public Education in Washington State. The recommendations include:
- Put the principal in charge
- Give parents choice among public schools
- Let teachers teach
- Double teacher pay
- Replace the WASL with another standard
- Create no-excuses schools
- Transparency - put school budgets and teacher qualifications online
- Make the Superintendent of Public Instruction an appointed office
Initiative on Agriculture
WPC’s Initiative on Agriculture, its newest research arm, puts the knowledge and experience of those who work the land at the center of agriculture policy by using free-market incentives and local solutions. This new Initiative encourages policymakers to reduce the burden of excessive and unproductive regulation on family farmers and taxpayers.
Center for Environment
WPC's Center for the Environment - led by noted author and Wall Street Journal columnist Todd Myers - "brings balance to the environmental debate by promoting the idea that human progress and prosperity work in a free economy to protect the environment."
Center for Government Reform
WPC's Center for Government Reform's mission is to "partner with stakeholders and citizens to work toward a government focused on its core functions while improving its transparency, accountability, performance, and effectiveness for taxpayers." One of the Northwest's leading budget experts, Jason Mercier, leads WPC's efforts in Government Reform.
Center for Health Care
WPC's Center for Health Care is led by retired heart surgeon Dr. Roger Stark. The center develops "patient-centered solutions to reduce costs and improve the availability and quality of health care for businesses and individuals, providing the only detailed, independent critique of health care issues available in the Northwest."
Center for Transportation
WPC's Center for Transportation "researches and analyzes the best practices for relieving traffic congestion by recapturing a vision of a system based on freedom of movement."
Center for Small Business
WPC's Center for Small Business "focuses on improving Washington's small business climate by working closely with business owners and policymakers. The Center provides accurate information and analysis on the state's regulatory climate, tax structure, health insurance systems, and more."
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