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TJ Martinell

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TJ Martinell has five-plus years of news reporting experience, and has worked as an SEO specialist. He is a graduate of Eastern Washington University.
The push for active forest management

The push for active forest management

As the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) submits its largest firefighting budget request ever, it is also implementing its 20-year forest health plan...
Task force recommends dam removal study

Task force recommends dam removal study

The state Southern Resident Killer Whale Task Force created by Governor Jay Inslee has released a list of 36 recommendations on how to aid...
Breakthrough coming for forest health efforts?

Breakthrough coming for forest health efforts?

As parts of California are being consumed by what has become the state’s worst wildfire season, Washington state lawmakers and private and public stakeholders...
The cost of fish barrier removal

The cost of fish barrier removal

A U.S. Supreme Court decision earlier this year upheld a lower court ruling ordering Washington state to remove hundreds of fish barriers that inhibit...
State treasurer opposes public bank

Treasurer opposes public bank

While a $500,00 state-funded study aims to create a proposal for a public state bank funded by taxes and fees, State Treasurer Duane Davidson...

Questions remain with AWC brief

Following the submittal of an amicus brief by the Association of Washington Cities (AWC) defending the city of Seattle’s authority to impose a local...
Voters reject carbon tax

Voters reject carbon tax

Washingtonians overwhelming rejected a proposed carbon tax via Initiative 1631 during Tuesday’s election – by a 56-44 percent margin. Despite numerous failed efforts to enact...
State revenue good, tariff impacts uncertain

State revenue good, tariff impacts uncertain

Washington state continues to receive surplus revenue, while the impact of new retaliatory tariffs on exports remains uncertain. That was the takeaway from the...
Decreased bus ridership along future light rail route

Decreased bus ridership along future light rail route

Sound Transit this week will hold a public hearing on proposed changes to bus services to be implemented next March. Among them is the...
Little margin for error with carbon tax

Little margin for error with carbon tax

If Initiative 1631 is approved by voters next week as part of an effort to reduce Washington’s already low carbon emissions, there would be...
Voters approve local food tax ban

I-1634’s fight against local grocery taxes

For some backers of Initiative 1634, the measure is meant to prohibit local government from enacting soda taxes out of fear that ordinances like...
Experts propose state laws for driverless cars

Experts propose state laws for driverless cars

One of the challenges for a state work group tasked with looking at the emergence of driverless vehicles is how to incorporate the technology...
High court upholds charter schools

High court upholds charter schools

After three years of legal wrangling, the Washington State Supreme Court has ruled that charter schools do not violate the state constitution and can...
Building the workforce of tomorrow

Building the workforce of tomorrow

Automation is expected to radically change the makeup of the U.S. workforce, and experts say Washington state should help the next generation of workers...
AWC defends Seattle’s income tax

AWC defends Seattle’s income tax

In a surprise move, the Association of Washington Cities (AWC) has filed an amicus brief to the State Supreme Court in defense of the...
Reevaluating prevailing wage

Reevaluating prevailing wage

State lawmakers are signaling they may reevaluate a bill they approved earlier this year that was intended to streamline the process by which the...
How the state can invest in local growth

How the state can invest in local growth

Before business growth or new developments can occur in a city, port or county, the conditions on the ground have to be right. To...
Manufacturing Day

Manufacturing a new skilled workforce

Half of southwest Washington’s manufacturing 14,000-strong workforce is 45 or older, and regional employers and educators want to ensure there’s a steady supply of...
Study estimates carbon tax costs

Study estimates carbon tax costs

When all’s said and done, a carbon fee proposed under Initiative 1631 would increase total costs for the average Washington household by $440 in...
Expedia’s ‘have job, will travel’ workplace

Expedia’s ‘have job, will travel’ workplace

Expedia Group’s decision to move its headquarters from Bellevue across Lake Washington to Seattle at the 40-acre former Amgen waterfront campus may further solidify...
DNR “spread thin”, calls for robust funding

DNR “spread thin”, calls for robust funding

After another intense wildfire season that involved flames on both sides of the Cascades and poor air quality statewide, Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary...
K-12 budget proposal includes income tax

K-12 budget proposal includes income tax

Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal plans to submit an agency requested bill calling for a capital gains income tax to help pay for...
Shell game with carbon tax revenue

Shell game with carbon tax revenue

Although Initiative 1631 has been pushed by advocates as a $15 per-ton fee on carbon emitters in the state that would reduce emissions and...
Expanding Washington’s housing supply

Expanding Washington’s housing supply

Although Seattle’s real estate market has finally begun to cool, a shortage of available housing remains a statewide problem that has also contributed to...
Iron workers union opposes carbon tax

Iron workers union opposes carbon tax

Fears about the effect of a carbon tax on new job creation has prompted the Iron Workers District Council of the Pacific Northwest to...
While economy booms, forecasters strike measured tone

While economy booms, forecasters strike measured tone

As far as Washington state coffers are concerned, the good times keep on rolling. A new report from the Office of Financial Management (OFM)...
Whale task force may punt on dams

Whale task force may punt on dams

The Southern Resident Killer Whale Recovery Task Force created by Governor Jay Inslee has released a draft report of recommendations on how to aid...
piggy bank

No capital gains tax “selling point” for Washington

Discussions of Washington’s tax structure often include accusations that it is one of the most regressive in the nation. While some tax experts dispute...
The hidden cost of K-12 pay raises

The hidden cost of K-12 pay raises

While local school districts struggle to find ways to pay for recently approved teacher salary increases, the full cost to Washington taxpayers is still...
Treading lightly on tax reform

Treading lightly on tax reform

A state House work group has held public meetings this year to discuss problems with Washington’s tax structure and potential regulatory changes. While those...
Do carbon taxes work?

Do carbon taxes work?

A question some voters might have before voting on Initiative 1631 creating a $15-per-ton tax on carbon is whether it will actually work in...
Utilities warn of “pancaking” carbon proposals

Utilities warn of “pancaking” carbon proposals

Two eastern Washington public utility districts (PUD) have passed resolutions opposing Initiative I-1631 which creats a carbon tax on certain emitters, saying they are...
Will higher rec fees fly?

Will higher rec fees fly?

A proposal by the Fish and Wildlife Commission would raise recreational fees for activities such as fishing and hunting by 15 percent to help...
Blending science, policy on dams

Blending science, policy on dams

Proponents of breaching the four lower Snake River dams to aid the recovery of endangered salmon species know the move would ultimately require Congressional...
Lower temps cool wildfire season

Lower temps cool wildfire season

After weeks of hot temperatures and statewide smoke cover, decreasing temperatures and recent rainfall indicate the worst of this year’s wildfire season is over....
Tariffs and Washington’s economic outlook

Tariffs and Washington’s economic outlook

An ongoing concern among Washington state officials is the potential impact of a trade war between the U.S. and China. However, the latest economic...
Catching up with growing guest worker demand

Catching up with growing guest worker demand

In recent years Washington’s agricultural employers have dramatically increased the use of H-2A visa guest workers to harvest crops; the number of workers requested...
Orca recovery: More Chinook needed

Orca recovery: More Chinook needed

The dependency of Southern Resident killer whales on endangered Chinook salmon for their diet means the recovery efforts for both species are in many...
Making schools start on time

Making schools start on time

The first day of school for the 2018-19  academic year has been marked by numerous teacher strikes throughout the state over proposed raises demanded...
The “burn ‘em” strategy to improve Washington’s forests

The “burn ‘em” strategy to improve Washington’s forests

The apocalyptic-like smokescreen shrouding most of Washington earlier this month may ultimately make the best case on behalf of the state Department of Natural...
Fighting fire with fire

Fighting fire with fire

Washington experienced yet another weekend surge of new wildfires that continue to blanket large portions of the state in wildfire smoke. In central Washington,...
Washington’s latest economic outlook

Washington’s latest economic outlook

The latest update from the state Economic and Revenue Forecast Council (ERFC) reports yet another surge of unanticipated revenue, much of that thanks to...
Truckers: Carbon tax will raise prices everywhere

Truckers: Carbon tax will raise prices everywhere

The proposed $15 per-ton carbon tax via Initiative 1631 is portrayed by supporters as a way to reduce pollution in Washington state by placing...
Driver shortage extends beyond trucking industry

Driver shortage extends beyond trucking industry

A lack of drivers to meet freight demand isn’t a new problem to the trucking industry both nationally or in Washington state, but now...
Wildfires lead to hazardous air conditions

Wildfires lead to hazardous air conditions

Washington’s wildfire season has ramped up with lighting strikes, hot temperatures and significant drought causing dozens of fires over the weekend. The conditions have...
The price of a carbon tax

The price of a carbon tax

As the November election approaches, the state’s business association composed of 7,000 members representing 700,000 employees has come out against a proposed carbon tax...
Fish and Wildlife pause on fee hikes

Fish and Wildlife pause on fee hikes

Fear of backlash by outdoor recreational enthusiasts forced to pay higher fishing and hunting fees led the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission to pause...
Lower Snake River dams eyed in orca recovery

Lower Snake River dams eyed in orca recovery

A new task force created by Governor Jay Inslee is looking at ways to aid Southern Resident killer whale recovery. A recent meeting in...
Ruling upholds preemptive raid on rainy day fund

Ruling upholds preemptive raid on rainy day fund

A two-thirds majority is required under most circumstances for legislators to dip into the state’s budget stabilization account (BSA), a.k.a. the rainy-day fund, which...
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Is Washington’s traffic congestion problem unsolvable?

Washington State Department of Transportation Secretary Roger Millar has come under fire for recent remarks on traffic congestion and WSDOT’s role in managing the...
Washington wildfire season intensifies

Washington wildfire season intensifies

The state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has responded to nearly 900 wildfires so far this season. Already, that is more than the total...
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