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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.
Port a catalyst for economic growth in Clark County

Port a catalyst for economic growth in Clark County

As Clark County prepares for further economic development, the Port of Vancouver could prove another strong source of growth in the region. At the moment,...
Creating Clark County jobs for local commuters

Creating Clark County jobs for local commuters

Around a third of Clark County’s workforce – 60,000 residents – commute for work each day across the Columbia River into Oregon. In coming...

Survey: Americans say sales tax “fairest of them all”

Washington state’s sales tax is one of the highest in the nation and has come under fire from progressive tax system advocates who say...

Think tank that helped create Seattle’s progressive income tax wants to defend it

A Seattle think tank that was paid $50,000 by the city for consultant work on its progressive income tax now wants to intervene in...

Note to Seattle: Amazon seeks “stable & business-friendly climate”

Business advocates have warned of backlash to the anti-employer rhetoric emanating from places such as Seattle, which in recent years has approved a variety...

Forest management of Suncadia resort pays dividends during Jolly Mountain Fire

The Jolly Mountain Fire near Roslyn and Cle Elum is one of many ongoing wildfires ravaging central and eastern Washington. So far, the lightning-caused...

How Seattle might defend its progressive income tax

The city of Seattle has invested nearly $400,000 into crafting and legally defending its progressive income tax ordinance against numerous lawsuits. That amount includes...

Wildfire smoke hasn’t tainted this year’s grape harvest – yet

Washington wine lovers will be pleased to know that the wildfire smoke inundating the skies and reducing air quality over much of the state...

Proposed road user charge program faces uphill battle

The Washington State Transportation Commission’s (WSTC) road user charge (RUC) pilot program is scheduled to begin next year. WSTC officials hope to get 2,000...

City of Seattle withholds $50,000 consultant report on progressive income tax ordinance

Update: Shortly after this article was published, the city of Seattle released one of the documents requested by Jason Mercier, who has written a...
Enhanced weather technology proves useful in fighting wildfires

Enhanced weather technology proves useful in fighting wildfires

As this year’s relatively mild wildfire season tapers down, state lawmakers and Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) officials may consider the benefits of...

Lawmakers take second look at possible collective bargain reforms

Some state lawmakers are looking at ways to avoid a repeat of this year’s extended special session – the longest in Washington history. One contributor...
Lawmakers, telecom industry call for greater rural broadband access

Lawmakers, telecom industry call for greater rural broadband access

State lawmakers and the telecom industry are renewing their efforts to expand internet access in Washington after several bills introduced this session failed to...
Experts Stress Washington Tax Stability As Other States Suffer Revenue Drops

Experts stress Washington tax stability as other states suffer revenue drops

State House lawmakers plan to hold public meetings throughout Washington over the next biennium to discuss the state’s taxing system, a roadshow-style tour funded...
Is Washington’s Tax System Really “Regressive”?

Is Washington’s tax system really “regressive”?

Although businesses pay over half the taxes collected by the state and local governments, a frequent claim among some tax reform advocates is that...
video

Lens Video – The Growth Management Act

https://www.facebook.com/thelensnews/videos/1933358896881201/ In an interview with Lens, Sen. Tim Sheldon (D-35) reflects on the 1990 state Growth Management Act. He discusses the law's impact on residential...
Ensuring Washington’s future business competitiveness

Ensuring Washington’s future business competitiveness

Momentum is picking up against the city of Seattle’s progressive income tax as business leaders, former state officials and venture capitalists seek to insulate...
A retrospective look at the Growth Management Act

A retrospective look at the Growth Management Act

The clash among state lawmakers over a possible solution to the State Supreme Court’s Hirst decision last year has brought renewed attention to the...

Washington foresters: Hirst solution worth delay of wildfire-related projects

The failed passage of a capital budget during the legislative session could postpone many forest health restoration projects planned by the Washington Department of...

Increase housing density near transit centers to ease traffic, industry leaders say

Seattle metro’s traffic congestion isn’t a problem that will be rectified soon or with a single fix. However, building and real estate industry members...

Builders: Land-use policy reform would improve traffic congestion

It’s no secret that Seattle traffic is bad. According to the Kirkland-based INRIX Global Traffic Scorecard, the city ranks 10th nationally and 20th worldwide...

Transportation Issues Complicate Wenatchee’s Economic Development Goals

Wenatchee metro is the only region in the state without direct access to an interstate highway, adding a layer of complexity to its economic...

Seattle’s Business Climate and Consequences of a Progressive Income Tax

Even if the Seattle City Council’s local progressive income tax survives a court challenge, the unanimous vote symbolizes an agenda by the city in...
Washington Forestland Needs Greater Mill Infrastructure, Says Wildfire Committee

Washington Forestland Needs Greater Mill Infrastructure, Says Wildfire Committee

Washington needs more lumber mills to restore millions of acres of forestland currently in poor health. It’s an argument made by conservationists and the...
The Debate Over Greater Transparency In Budget Talks

The Debate Over Greater Transparency In Budget Talks

Although the state legislature avoided a government shutdown with the passage of the 2017-19 operating budget June 30, concerns have been raised about transparency...
State Prepares For “New Normal” Wildfire Season

State Prepares For “New Normal” Wildfire Season

This year’s wildfire season in Washington state has commenced on the heels of several interagency training academies hosted by the Washington Department of Natural...
To Privatize (Or Not) Washington’s Electrical Grid

To Privatize (Or Not) Washington’s Electrical Grid

President Trump has proposed selling off the electrical infrastructure in Washington state currently owned and operated by the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) as part...

Revised School Siting Bill Passes, Inslee’s Support Expected

After several failed attempts and a partial veto from Governor Jay Inslee, the Washington state legislature passed on Friday, June 30 a bill that...

Lawmakers Pass Compromise Budget

After three special sessions, the Washington state legislature Friday approved a 2017-19 operating budget signed by Governor Jay Inslee just one hour before midnight...

How A Business-Friendly Climate in Kenmore Gave Rise To “Brew Row”

Washington’s craft brew industry has grown by leaps and bounds since 2006 when the state beer commission was first created by the state legislature....

Seattle’s Fight For $15 Killed 5,000 Jobs

A recent study of Seattle’s $15 minimum wage ordinance suggesting the second phase of the pay hike cost the city 5,000 jobs may give...

Bi-State Bridge Talks To Resume

Taking effect next month is SB 5806, which creates a bi-state legislative action committee to revive discussions on replacing the centenarian I-5 bridge spanning...
Washington Craft Breweries Flourish In The “Home Of The Hops”

Washington Craft Breweries Flourish In The “Home Of The Hops”

Washington craft brewers had more to celebrate last weekend than just the 12th annual Brewers Festival hosted by the Washington Beer Commission. Equally worthy...

Former EPA Regional Director Questioned On Controversial Agency-Funded Campaign, Regulatory Issues

Governor Jay Inslee’s appointee to the Puget Sound Partnership (PSP) Leadership Council, Dennis McLerran, took a shellacking from Senate Republicans during a Wednesday, June...

Fixing School Siting: Round Three

State lawmakers are taking a second crack at a statewide problem school districts face while looking for appropriate sites for new facilities after Governor...
Senate On Track With Revised Short Line Rail Bill

Senate On Track With Revised Short Line Rail Bill

The Washington state Senate this week approved the companion legislation to a House bill loosening rural land development restrictions after it was vetoed last...

Majority of Voters Now Opposed to Sound Transit 3

The backlash against new Sound Transit 3 (ST3) car tab fees by Puget Sound drivers hasn’t let up. A recent survey of likely voters in...
Lens Video - DNR Wildfire Academyvideo

Lens Video – DNR Wildfire Academy

Lens presents its first video on the Washington Department of Natural Resources' wildfire training academy held last month in Yakima. Featured are interviews with...
Debate Continues Over Proposed Property Tax Hikes

Debate Continues Over Proposed Property Tax Hikes

Although state budget negotiations are at a standstill in Olympia, debate over legislative proposals to repeal the state’s property tax restriction on counties has...
A Look At Washington Wildfire Training

A Look At Washington Wildfire Training

While weather conditions such as wind and temperatures may determine the severity of this year’s wildfires season in Washington state, the outcome could also...
Is High-Speed Rail The Region’s “Silver Bullet”?

Is High-Speed Rail The Region’s “Silver Bullet”?

The concept of a high-speed rail line from Vancouver, B.C. through Seattle to Portland, Oregon has acquired an unlikely coalition of supporters among state...
Study: Mentoring Key For New Teachers

Study: Mentoring Key For New Teachers

A new study by the University of Washington has found a link between mentoring programs and higher retention rates for beginning teachers – research...
Inslee Signs Green Energy Bill

Inslee Signs Green Energy Bill

On the heels of a letter from forest-based industry leaders insisting that proposed legislation would keep utility rates low for customers and improve the...
Is The Sky Falling For Our Economy? It Depends On Who You Ask...

Is The Sky Falling For Our Economy? It Depends On Who You Ask…

From all appearances, the U.S. economy seems to be doing well. The Dow Jones is at an all-time high, and the S&P 500 last...
Reforming Public Sector Labor Talks

Reforming Public Sector Labor Talks

While the state Senate this session narrowly approved two bills to end secrecy surrounding the negotiation process for collective bargaining agreements (CBA) between the...
Lawmakers Announce Investigation Into Sound Transit

Lawmakers Announce Investigation Into Sound Transit

With legislation aiming to reform Sound Transit and its taxing formula for ST3 unable to clear the state legislature, lawmakers have now turned to...
Governor’s Veto Derails Popular Short Line Rail Bill

Governor’s Veto Derails Popular Short Line Rail Bill

Governor Jay Inslee this week vetoed a bipartisan bill approved by the state legislature that would have loosened the state Growth Management Act’s (GMA)...
Charging By Gallon Or Mile: Debating The Road User Charge

Charging By Gallon Or Mile: Debating The Road User Charge

Washington drivers may have to decide if they prefer a road user charge (RUC) fee or higher prices at the gas pump every year...
New Law Enhances Access to Firefighting Equipment, Yet Resource Issues Persist

New Law Enhances Access to Firefighting Equipment, Yet Resource Issues Persist

Governor Jay Inslee has signed a bill allowing the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to donate older fire engines to rural fire districts...
War Over Words In Local Income Tax Debate

War Over Words In Local Income Tax Debate

State lawmakers who oppose an income tax and believe taxes should be approved through legislative or voter approval have yet another chance to make...
School Funding Model Pivotal Issue In Budget Debate

School Funding Model Pivotal Issue In Budget Debate

Much of the focus of budget negotiations between state lawmakers that have forced the legislature into a special session are the competing views on...
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