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...
Investigating fraud in the workers’ compensation system

Investigating fraud in the workers’ compensation system

Although fraudulent workers’ compensation claims can financially hinder employers and the success of their businesses, officials at Washington state’s Department of Labor and Industries...
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...
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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...
Washington’s agricultural stakeholders voice concerns over NAFTA revamp discussions

Washington’s agricultural stakeholders voice concerns over NAFTA revamp discussions

Discussions to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) begin in one week, and Washington’s agricultural stakeholders are voicing concerns and offering suggestions...
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...

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...

Legislature continues work to address Hirst, capital budget

Even though the legislature adjourned last week without a solution to the 2016 Supreme Court Hirst decision or passage of a capital budget, lawmakers...

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...

Business, Industry Leaders Say Rail Initiative Threatens Washington’s Competitiveness

A controversial Spokane ballot initiative would fine fossil fuel businesses planning to transport their commodity through city limits, which opponents say violates federal law,...
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Lens Video – Millennium Bulk Terminals Project

Millennium Bulk Terminals President and CEO Bill Chapman tells Lens about the importance of the company’s proposed coal export terminal project to the Longview...

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...

Millennium Bulk Terminals Receives First Permit For Coal Export Terminal

After nearly five years and five months in the permitting process, Millennium Bulk Terminals (MBT) has finally received its first permit for the company’s...

Lawmakers Skeptical They Can Agree On A Hirst Fix Before Session Ends

As the Washington state legislature enters the last day of its third special session, lawmakers are doubtful that a Hirst fix will be agreed...

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...
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...

Construction Business Owner Shares His Struggle With Unresolved Workers’ Compensation Claim

A long-standing workers’ compensation claim can be enough to put a company out of business, take away the owner’s ability to stay profitable, or...

Washington State Sweet Cherry Growers Expecting “Heavy Set” Harvest

It should be a bountiful sweet cherry harvest this year, according to recent estimates from the U.S. National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). As cherry...

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...

Locals Divided Over Benefits Of Proposed Vancouver Energy Oil Terminal Project

The proposed Vancouver Energy oil export terminal project is anticipated to create local jobs, lower the state and county’s dependence on foreign oil and...

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...

Enhanced Safety Strategies Protect Workers, Reduce Construction Business Operating Costs

For construction businesses, workplace accidents have ripple effects which extend beyond the initial claim and the worker’s wellbeing – any injury can hold up...
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Lens Video – Vancouver Energy Project

Lens sat down with Vancouver Energy General Manager Jared Larrabee to discuss the proposed project, which is anticipated to create family-wage jobs, bolster energy...

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...

Proposed Vancouver Energy Oil Terminal Would Bring Jobs, Revenue To Local Communities

Final public comment regarding a permit for the proposed Vancouver Energy oil terminal proved lively as local residents, environmental advocates, business stakeholders and members...
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...

Identifying Small Business Challenges In Washington’s Workers’ Compensation System

In the business world, one workers' compensation claim can spell disaster for employers and their ability to stay afloat in a competitive market, and the financial effects...

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...
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...
Statewide Tourism Marketing Authority Awaits Funding Source

Statewide Tourism Marketing Authority Awaits Funding Source

As budgetary negotiations continue this special session, the survival of a bill that would put Washington’s tourism efforts back on the map is dependent...
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...
New “Shot Clock” Law Aims to Curtail Permitting Delays

New “Shot Clock” Law Aims to Curtail Permitting Delays

Last week, Governor Jay Inslee signed a bill into law which would encourage timely completion of state environmental impact statements (EIS) for proposed development projects. Proponents of the...
Department, Businesses Prepare For Mandatory Paid Sick Leave Requirements

Department, Businesses Prepare For Mandatory Paid Sick Leave Requirements

As Washington prepares to implement a mandatory paid sick leave law for businesses, the department of Labor and Industries (L&I) is gauging small business concerns and considering cost mitigation...
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)...
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...
New Law “First Step” In Regulatory Relief for Washington Small Businesses

New Law “First Step” In Regulatory Relief for Washington Small Businesses

In a move proponents say will reduce confusion and better equip employers, Governor Jay Inslee signed into law this week legislation that soon will...
Labor, Business Leaders Ask Governor to Support Energy Projects

Labor, Business Leaders Ask Governor to Support Energy Projects

Numerous Washington state labor leaders are urging Governor Jay Inslee to endorse two economic development projects bogged down in the state’s permitting process, highlighting the regional energy security, expanded...
Business, Industry Leaders Warn “Unprecedented” Environmental Recommendation Will Harm Washington’s Economic Vitality

Business, Industry Leaders Warn “Unprecedented” Environmental Recommendation Will Harm Washington’s Economic Vitality

As Cowlitz County and the Washington Department of Ecology (DOE) release the final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) regarding the Millennium Bulk Terminals (MBT) coal...
How To Restore Washington Forests: Increase Timber Demand

How To Restore Washington Forests: Increase Timber Demand

One way to improve the wildfire resiliency of public forestland managed by the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and United States Forest Service...
Business, Industry Leaders Say Aerospace Tax Incentives Would Harm Competitiveness

Business, Industry Leaders Say Aerospace Tax Incentives Would Harm Competitiveness

Following the announced layoffs of hundreds of Boeing workers, state lawmakers are considering two bills during the special session that would link job quotas...
As Well Permit Woes Persist, Local Governments Navigate Challenging Waters

As Well Permit Woes Persist, Local Governments Navigate Challenging Waters

As both chambers of the Washington State Legislature fail to agree on an acceptable solution to the ongoing permit-exempt well use and rural development...
As Budget Talks Stall, Members Resort to Political Theater

As Budget Talks Stall, Members Resort to Political Theater

With budget negotiations at a standstill, Washington state lawmakers are resorting to creative methods to continue discussions. After forcing a symbolic vote April 21...
Governor’s Veto Creates Challenges in School Siting Decisions

Governor’s Veto Creates Challenges in School Siting Decisions

Governor Jay Inslee this week partially vetoed legislation that would allow school districts to build new facilities for urban students outside of the so-called...
Regular Session Concludes On Symbolic Tax Bill Votes

Regular Session Concludes On Symbolic Tax Bill Votes

The regular legislative session ended for all intents and purposes last week in Olympia with a symbolic vote on two Senate bills seeking to...
Lawmakers Lift Restrictions On School Siting

Lawmakers Lift Restrictions On School Siting

The Washington State Legislature this week approved legislation allowing school districts to build new facilities outside of their county’s “urban growth area” (UGA) under...

Promoting Rural Business Investments

Washington State lawmaker testimony proved lively last week on a bill that would establish a tax credit program to incentivize investment in rural businesses. SB 5208...
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