Lens News Archive

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...
manufacturing worker in shop

Closing the manufacturing skills gap

Washington-based manufacturing business have a problem: they are short on skilled workers that can quickly adapt to ever-changing machinery and technology. Skagit Valley College...

“What’s happening to the beer companies is, they are losing all their craft beer...

Jon Taffer, host of Paramount Network’s “Bar Rescue.”
Fish and Wildlife approve proposed budget

Fish and Wildlife approve proposed budget

Revised plan includes funding for hatchery
EPA reconsiders Washington’s water quality standards

EPA reconsiders Washington’s water quality standards

New rule imposed stricter standards
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...
Farm worker

Growers suggest guest workers help pay living costs

Washington farmers are asking for minor changes to the H-2A guest worker program…
Harvested apples in box

Washington growers: Remove the tariffs

Washington’s agricultural stakeholders continue asking the Trump administration to resolve problems stemming from the current trade war between the U.S. and other major trading...
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...

Tesla might go private

Fox News reports that Tesla CEO and founder Elon Musk announced Tuesday on social media that is considering taking the company private. Board members...
Basket of apples

Washington apples face threat of tariffs from India

Washington apple growers may face challenges if India decides to place tariffs on American imports…
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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Lens Video: Dick’s Drive In- Growing alongside Seattle

Lens met with Jasmine Donovan, Executive Vice President and CFO of Dick's Drive-In, to learn about how the restaurant got its start and has...
cebook wants user bank data

Facebook wants user bank data

The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook is asking large U.S. banks to share their customer financial information such as checking account balance and...
Created by Welcomia - Freepik.com

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...
Dick's Drive-In sign

Business Profile: Dick’s Drive-In, then and now

When looking for a burger in the Seattle area, the spinning Dick’s Drive-In (DDI) sign may be hard to pass up for many Washingtonians....

U.S. hiring drops slightly

Jobless rate 3.9 percent
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...
Wheat Field

Washington state industries hit hard by trade war

The ongoing trade war is especially harming Washington-based businesses…
Inslee declares wildfire state of emergency

Inslee declares wildfire state of emergency

Proclamation cites “abnormally dry conditions”
Will State Supreme Court review Seattle’s income tax?

Will State Supreme Court review Seattle’s income tax?

With a King County Superior Court ruling last year against Seattle’s progressive income tax ordinance, the city is appealing in hopes that the State...
Cross-laminated timber as forest-management strategy

Cross-laminated timber as forest-management strategy

The state legislature earlier this year called on the Washington State Building Code Council (WSBCC) to adopt rules for cross-laminated timber (CLT) use when...
Extra costs for KeyArena renovation won’t hit taxpayers

Extra costs for KeyArena renovation won’t hit taxpayers

$100 million cost increase

“I’ve been in this business for 40 years and we need to acknowledge when...

Washington State Department of Transportation Secretary Roger Millar
Fulfillment Center

The “Amazon Effect” on Spokane’s business community

Although Spokane was not chosen as the location for Amazon’s HQ2, the city’s efforts were not in vain. The company has announced it would...

Sound Transit light-rail line project costs increase by $460 million

The Seattle Times reports that Sound Transit is now projecting their light-rail line from Angle Lake to Federal Way will cost $2.55 billion, a...
Paving the way for driverless vehicles with 5G

Paving the way for driverless vehicles with 5G

As ongoing development of autonomous vehicle (AV) technology continues, state legislators and industry members are working on strategies to effectively integrate those vehicles with...
Does Washington’s tax structure need fixing?

Does Washington’s tax structure need fixing?

A series of public meetings hosted by a state House work group highlighted the frustrations residents and businesses have with Washington’s tax structure. However,...
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Lens Video: Apprenticeships- The path to a stable career

Lens visited the Puget Sound Electrical Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (PSEJATC) school in Renton and interviewed Kevin Trinh, a fifth year apprentice, and...
GM braces for higher steel, aluminum prices

GM braces for higher steel, aluminum prices

New tariffs to impact profits
Why Washington outdoor enthusiasts may get a fee hike

Why Washington outdoor enthusiasts may get a fee hike

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) needs around $30 million to cover a shortfall for the 2019-21 biennium, and recreational enthusiasts who...
Migrant workers in field

H-2A housing plans prove controversial

More and more farmers are looking to hire temporary workers to fill needed jobs, however they are finding it hard to agree with the local community on where to house those people...

“It’s surreal. I guess it will seem real when we get the first bills...

Pike Place Fish Market Manager Samuel Samson referring to the recent purchase of the  Seattle business by long-time employees.
JetBlue founder to form new airline

JetBlue founder to form new airline

Investor group to buy from Airbus
Preparing for Washington’s air cargo growth

Preparing for Washington’s air cargo growth

Washington’s airports in 2015 handled $47.6 billion in freight – 10.5 percent of the state’s total gross domestic product for that year. That cargo...
Electrical apprentices in class

Local trade school offers secure career path

Over 2,000 Washingtonians are choosing to pursue trade-related careers in the electrical field through registered apprenticeships, a choice which often leaves them with a...
Wildfire grows to 58,000 acres

Wildfire grows to 58,000 acres

Parts of I-90 closed again due to flames
Officials contemplate affordable housing strategy

Officials contemplate affordable housing strategy

The job tax unanimously approved by the Seattle City Council in May was purportedly intended to fund affordable housing efforts. Although the tax has...
Flying car concept

Rolls-Royce joins aerial taxi race

Rolls-Royce has announced plans for an aerial taxi which would be finished in the early 2020s….

Seattle is the crane capital, again

Increase in construction activity after brief lull
Washington's 2018 wildfire seasonvideo

Video: Washington’s 2018 wildfire season

Lens looks at several wildfires that Washington firefighters have fought so far this season, including the Ryegrass Coulee Fire and the Little Camas Fire.
townhouses

Housing density: coming soon to your small town?

The pressure on the Central Puget Sound housing market is as intense as it may have ever been. Driven by a hot employment market...
Raspberries

Increased raspberry imports harm Whatcom County farmers

The U.S. has upped its imports on frozen raspberries, which places a strain on local farmers trying to sell their fruit during the harvest…
Washington’s firefighters face flames near and far

Washington’s firefighters face flames near and far

Washington firefighters in the past week were able to successfully combat several wildfires, including one that threatened the small community of Vantage near the...
Seattle housing

Housing inventory woes may ease

It’s no surprise that Seattle and King County have problems with expensive housing prices and inventory shortages, Seattle was ranked 2nd on Forbes’ list...

“It’s an above-average amount of money to spend on a campaign of this kind.”

Independent political consultant Aaron Pickus on the fundraising efforts to repeal Seattle’s job tax.
Airbus CEO optimistic about rivalry with Boeing

Airbus CEO optimistic about rivalry with Boeing

CEO reflects on company before retirement
Industry leaders decry Seattle’s priorities

Industry leaders decry Seattle’s priorities

While the death of the Seattle job tax following a City Council vote in June could be attributed to several causes – including its...
Justice Departments appeals ruling on corporate merger

Justice Department appeals ruling on corporate merger

AT&T cites need to compete with tech companies
Construction workers

Tariffs prove costly for construction sector, consumers

Trade negotiations between the U.S. and countries including China, Canada and Mexico continue, leaving many sectors, including construction, to absorb the increased costs to...
Foresters weigh in on fish barrier removal

Foresters weigh in on fish barrier removal

A recent split decision by the U.S. Supreme Court calls on Washington state to remove thousands of fish barriers impeding salmon passage by 2030. Forest landowners say...
Workers in the office

U.S. job market leading more employees to quit

A higher portion of U.S. workers are quitting their jobs…

Microsoft announces more layoffs

Job loss within international sales force
Wildfires hit Washington communities

Wildfires hit Washington communities

In less than a month, two wildfires have threatened a small Central Washington community and prompted level three evacuations for all residents as 250...
Washington cherries in boxes

Washington’s stake in farm bills’ trade provisions

Both the U.S. House and Senate and have passed their respective versions of the farm bill which would make changes to major U.S. Department...
laptop and shopping bag

Supreme Court upholds tax fairness for retailers

Retailers across the nation have won a hard-earned victory with the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on sales tax fairness. After a 5-4 vote last...
Starbucks Coffee

Starbucks going strawless

In a move consistent with the recent Seattle plastic straw and utensil ban, Starbucks vows to remove plastic straws from all of its stores within two years…
The future of right to work in Washington state

The future of right to work in Washington state

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s Janus decision overturning required union dues for government workers, the Washington-based Freedom Foundation has filed a class-action lawsuit on...

“Any business that tried to charge customers without their permission would have the state...

Freedom Foundation labor expert Maxford Nelson on a new lawsuit by Washington state workers to recover money from forced unionism.
City Light could raise rates by 30 percent

City Light could raise rates by 30 percent

Rate increase despite lower spending plan
Straw in strawberry milkshake

Seattle goes strawless: no more plastic pointy things…

Seattle has become the largest metropolitan city to forbid the use of plastic straws and utensils as part of the plastic utensil and straw...

Business offers “crash course” for truck drivers

School to help fill labor shortage
Fixing Puget Sound region’s growing pains

Fixing Puget Sound region’s growing pains

It’s no secret that the Puget Sound region has a housing and traffic problem, but some local and regional lawmakers say regional policy for...
Farmer

Assisting agriculture producers during trade negotiations

After visiting Spokane to talk with local farmers, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture assured the industry that it would not be hit hardest by the trade wars…
Businesses, analysts: carbon initiative will raise gas prices

Businesses, analysts: carbon initiative will raise gas prices

Proponents of a carbon reduction initiative this week filed the necessary signatures with the Secretary of State’s Office to place it on the November...
The road to redevelopment in Yakima

The road to redevelopment in Yakima

The possible transformation of a former lumber mill site located just outside the city of Yakima into a mixed-use development has the potential to...
Cows

Northwest beef sector optimistic despite tariffs

While the Northwest beef sector will face additional tariffs this week, those ranchers say they remain hopeful…
Canada begins imposing tariffs on U.S. goods

Canada begins imposing tariffs on U.S. goods

The Associated Press reports that Canada began Sunday imposing tariffs on $12.6 billion worth of U.S. goods in response to U.S., tariffs on their...

“Technology will decide which country emerges as the world’s dominant economic power in the...

Ruchir Sharma, Morgan Stanley Investment Managemen’s chief global strategist referring to U.S. and China
Wine tasting

A look into Woodinville’s thriving wine industry

When planning a trip to taste Washington wine you don’t have to travel five hours east of Seattle. Woodinville is only 30 minutes from...
Assembling the right public policy for driverless cars

Assembling the right public policy for driverless cars

There may be as many components needed to form Washington’s public policy for driverless cars as the actual vehicles. It’s a challenge the Washington’s...
Sockeye salmon fishing season to open on Columbia River

Sockeye salmon fishing season to open on Columbia River

Chinook salmon must be released

Agricultural businesses may see fee change

Although Ecology has not modified its fee structure for its air quality registration program in six years, the department is proposing a modification of those fees…
How Janus could change Washington’s politics

How Janus could affect Washington state

In a major blow to public sector labor unions, the U.S. Supreme Court has overturned 22 state laws requiring state employees pay them a...
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Lens Video: Woodinville- An unexpected hub for wine

Lens sat down with two Woodinville winemakers to discuss what the city has to offer for starting winemakers, and why it became a hub...
Washington population continues to grow

Washington population continues to grow

Seattle remains by far most populous Washington city
New wildfire strategies paying off

New wildfire strategies paying off

In recent years, Washington’s firefighting agencies have worked to improve the initial response to wildfires as part of an overall strategy toward reducing the...
House being built

Seattle’s increased home prices on 20 month streak

Seattle continues its long trend of home price increases for the 20th month in a row…

“We’re already looking ahead to 2019 as an opportunity. We’ll absolutely try to build...

Markham McIntyre, executive director of the Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy referring to the successful effort to repeal Seattle's head tax.
Container ship pulling into Port of Seattle

Washington’s stake in trade negotiations

Another day, another…tariff? That seems to be the reality for the U.S. and its trade partners as trade wars continue to escalate, leaving American...

Seattle landlords offering move-in perks

High inventory leads to creative incentives

Europe slaps tariffs on American goods

Latest skirmish in trade war
Retailers: Online sales tax ruling levels playing field

Retailers: Online sales tax ruling levels playing field

Last year, the Washington state legislature approved a law mandating that online retailers without a physical location in the state either remit or collect...
student writing in notepad

Our long McCleary nightmare is over. Now, the real work of reforming public education...

Earlier this month, the state Supreme Court gave its blessing to the work of several consecutive legislatures: a grinding political effort to meet the...
Online shopper

States and retailers win in new online shopping ruling

Online shoppers weren’t always required to pay sales tax for online purchases, but a recent Supreme Court decision changes that…
Worries linger over Washington’s economy growth

Worries linger over Washington’s economic growth

The city of Seattle’s short-lived head tax may be dead, but for some state officials a cloud of uncertainty still hangs over the long-term...
video

Lens Video: Head tax- Sending the right message to business

"It's not as if they (the Seattle City Council) had a change of mind, so I worry that we will see some other form of anti-growth, anti-jobs tax that will replace this one" -State Sen. Steve O'Ban (R-28)
Starbuck to close over 100 stores

Starbuck to close over 100 stores

Store sales flatlining
Milking Washington’s small dairy farms…to death

Milking Washington’s small dairy farms…to death

Two feet doesn’t seem that far. Yet, industry members warn it’s a distance enough to threaten the survival of many Western Washington dairy farms...
Wheat field

An update on Washington’s winter wheat harvest

Recent USDA numbers predict that Washington will experience a winter wheat harvest similar to last year’s…

“Too many Seattleites don’t know how good we have it”

Seattle Times economic columnist Jon Talton  
A strong economy reduces food stamp participants

A strong economy reduces food stamp participants

Lowest enrollment since 2010
Students in class

Paving the way to postsecondary success

“The credential is essential in Washington state.” That is what a recently published Washington Roundtable report states in its analysis of what the state needs...
Bellevue's solution to traffic: driverless cars

Bellevue’s solution to traffic: driverless cars

Fleet of automated vehicles planned for vanpools.
Navigating a post-McCleary classroom

Navigating a post-McCleary classroom

After six years and $9.5 billion in new spending, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled last week that the state legislature was finally in...
townhouse

Homeownership: Time to tap unused tools

June is National Homeownership Month, which was established to promote the many benefits of owning a home. Homeownership provides stability for individuals and families,...
Seattle City Council

Seattle City Council shifts head tax blame

Not only did the Seattle City Council repeal its head tax proposal not even a full month after unanimously approving it, they also pointed the finger at anyone but themselves for its failure…
Is ST3 car tab tax unconstitutional?

Is ST3 car tab tax unconstitutional?

A class action lawsuit recently filed against Sound Transit and Washington state by seven plaintiffs could answer the question already asked by some lawmakers...
Army Corps of Engineers gives Seattle harbor project green light

Army Corps of Engineers gives Seattle harbor project green light

Harbor would become nation’s deepest
Seattle businesses decapitate head tax

Seattle businesses decapitate head tax

Following a rowdy public comment period and unruly attendees, the Seattle City Council voted at a Tuesday special meeting to repeal the ordinance that...
Container ship

Trade wars: dangerous for U.S. business

The benefit of President Donald Trump’s business tax cuts may become overshadowed by the negative effects that levies have on the business community…
Supreme Court sides with tribes in culvert ruling

Supreme Court sides with tribes in culvert ruling

In a split decision, the United States Supreme Court has upheld a lower court ruling ordering Washington state to remove fish barriers that local...
Net neutrality officially repealed

Net neutrality officially repealed

Washington remains only state to reinstate policy…

“We really are as far from single-family residences as we can possibly get in...

Lynnwood Councilman Ian Cotton referring to a planned 18-story mixed-use development that will include 349 apartments.
buildings seattle skyline

Washington state’s future depends on saving Seattle from itself

By now, most Seattleites should realize that some of the goo-goo-eyed infatuation the outside world has had for the city is fading.  That is...
Crate of apples

Trade war bites Washington apple industry

Washington state may be losing its largest market for apples given Mexico’s new retaliatory tariffs on U.S. imports. Agricultural stakeholders say they are disappointed...
Students in classroom

Washington State ruled in compliance with McCleary decision

Washington state was found to have fully implemented its school funding plan, ending the McCleary case…

“The idea of levying a tax on job creators seems so obviously counterproductive that...

-Kris Johnson, President of the Association of Washington Business, on the Seattle head tax.
Container ship

U.S. trade deficit continues to shrink

The U.S. has stepped up its export efforts in the past two months, but trade stakeholders say more progress should be made…
21 Acres Market

Giving local farms a boost

One of the hardest challenges for a small, local farm is spreading awareness of its products and pushing its goods into market. In Woodinville,...
Grocery store checkout line

Grocers embrace new tech to stay afloat

Grocery stores across Washington are stepping up their efforts to modernize and reformat their stores to better highlight what online shopping can never quite...
Construction Workers

U.S. has more job openings than people looking for jobs

Looking for a job? The good news is there are more openings than those looking in the U.S. for the first time in 18 years…

“It’s giving us a black eye…It certainly makes the state look like we’re dominated...

-State Rep. Jim Walsh (R-19) on Seattle’s head tax.
Amazon Biosphere

Amazon HQ2 search and effect on potential host cities

As cities fight for Amazon’s HQ2 spot, experts warn they might be trying a little too hard to become a tech hub…
Container ship

China: No trade deal if U.S. tariffs proceed

The latest in the U.S. and China trade war: The U.S. must drop its tariff plan or China will abandon any trade benefits negotiated thus far…
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Lens Video: Connecting farm products to local communities

Lens met with Liesl McWhorter, Farm & Market Manager for 21 Acres, to discuss how the farmers market and educational outreach programs are helping...
Boeing machinists in South Carolina vote to unionize

Boeing machinists in South Carolina vote to unionize

Vote comes after failed effort at Boeing 787 plant….
Rendering of U District Target

What’s up with retail downsizing?

Several large retailers are thinking small when it comes to expanding their businesses and promoting sales efficiency, especially within urban neighborhoods. Target has announced that...
Customer shopping for clothes

Whatcom County experiences record retail sales year

Consumers in Whatcom County contributed over nine percent more retail sales in 2017 than the year before…
Will Seattle job tax affect state economy?

Will Seattle job tax affect state economy?

If Seattle’s recently approved job tax survives a voter initiative backed by the local business community and possible legislative action, its direct impact on...
Inslee opposes Canadian oil pipeline expansion

Inslee opposes Canadian oil pipeline expansion

Another major project opposed by Inslee on environmental grounds…

Preserving Washington’s prosperity

Eight years since Washington voters overwhelmingly rejected Initiative 1098 that would have created a progressive income tax, state revenue has grown from approximately $29...
DIck's Drive-In restaurant

Head tax opposition continues

Several opponents of the head tax have been out gathering signatures needed to qualify the referendum on the tax for the fall ballot…
The new ‘battle for Seattle’

The new ‘battle for Seattle’

It’s a fight where the battlefields are drawn by political jurisdictions, casualties are measured by lost economic output, and victories are determined by new...
Seattle's Original Starbucks

Head tax shows Seattle is “hostile” to business

The Seattle City Council’s unanimous passage of a business head tax sent ripples throughout the business community and economic development organizations who are sounding...
Seattle ripe for ‘cottage’ industry

Seattle to streamline cottage building process

My Northwest reports that Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan has announced plans to streamline the process for building cottages, also known as a detached accessory...
'Right to work’ ruling could change public sector landscape

‘Right to work’ ruling could change public sector landscape

The state of Illinois is in a financial mess; every resident owes $11,000 for $150 billion in unfunded public pension liabilities. The state’s credit...
Seattle view from the water

Seattle becomes this decade’s fastest-growing big U.S. city

The Seattle freeze can’t keep away new residents- the city is now ranked first for fastest population growth out of U.S. cities this decade.
video

Lens Video: Challenges for Washington’s small, local farmers

Lens traveled to Kent-based Windy Acre Farm to ask owner Chris Sechrist about any obstacles to his farm's success while operating within King County...
video

Lens Video: Washington prepares for wildfire season

Lens was on site at a controlled burn May 16 outside of Yakima as part of the state Department of Natural Resources' interagency wildfire...
Silicon Valley cities mull Seattle-style job tax

Silicon Valley cities mull Seattle-style job tax

The Puget Sound Business Journal reports that several Silicon Valley cities are contemplating a job tax similar to one recently approved by the Seattle...
Seattle storefront

Opposition to head tax raises $300,000

Crosscut reports that members from the business community and economic development organizations have already pledged more than $300,000 to repeal the head tax…
Trump calls for truce in trade war with China

Trump calls for truce in trade war with China

The Associated Press reports that President Donald Trump has called for a temporary truce with China on trade after previously calling for increased tarrifs....

“I firmly believe it undermines our international and national reputation.”

– former Governor Christine Gregoire on Seattle’s head tax.
video

Lens Video: Seattle head tax-not just an Amazon tax

Lens asked Jan Gee, President and CEO of the Washington Food Industry Association (WFIA), her opinion of the Seattle City Council voting unanimously to...
BNSF Railway Train

BNSF Railway proposes bridge project to ease congestion

BNSF Railway has proposed to build a second rail line that would run over Lake Pend Oreille in Sandpoint, Idaho to help prevent congestion...
Trial by fire: State prepares for wildfire season

Trial by fire: State prepares for wildfire season

In recent years, prescribed burning has regained popularity as a one way for state and federal agencies to restore the millions of acres of...
Seattle homes rental rate declines

Slowed growth for Seattle homes rental increases

The Puget Sound Business Journal reports that rent increases for single-family homes in the Puget Sound area has slowed to less than 1 percent...
Honeycrisp apples

Washington introduces a new apple: The Cosmic Crisp

Enter stage left, Washington state unveils the “Cosmic Crisp” apple variety thanks to a former Washington State University professor of apple breeding.
Employees helping at a grocery store check out line

Head tax passes despite business outcry

The Seattle City Council has unanimously approved its head tax proposal that will impose a significant penalty on Seattle’s largest businesses in the name...
City of Seattle

Amazon moves forward with construction, but hesitant  

Amazon will continue construction on one of its downtown towers, however the company will proceed with caution in the wake of the Seattle City Council's approval of its business head tax plan...
Right to work for public employees?

Right to work for public employees?

A case currently before the United States Supreme Court may soon determine whether public employees throughout the country have to pay union dues –...
Trump to help revitalize Chinese smartphone company

Trump recruits help for Chinese smartphone company

After announcing his plans for increased tariffs on Chinese-imported goods, President Trump is now asking the State Department of Commerce to help a Chinese telecom and smartphone company...

“Taxing jobs is ‘counterproductive”

King County Executive Dow Constantine on Seattle’s proposed head tax.
video

Lens Video: Labor weighs in on proposed head tax

Lens attended the Seattle City Council's Finance and Neighborhoods public hearing and asked Chris McClain, Business Manager for Iron Workers Local Union 86, his...
Lens Retrospect: Washington’s Arrested Development

Lens Reflections: Washington’s Arrested Development  

In recent years, major development efforts in Washington state have floundered due to environmental regulations that in the past would have stymied major infrastructure...
Welder at work

National associations join MBT lawsuit

National trade and resource associations and several states are joining Millennium Bulk Terminals’ (MBT) lawsuit against Governor Jay Inslee and his administration for obstructing...
seattle skyline

131 businesses sign letter opposing head tax

KUOW News reports that big businesses aren’t the only ones speaking out against the Seattle City Council’s proposed business tax plan…
factory worker

Washington must welcome heavy industry to hedge service sector instability

The great recession has greatly receded across much of Washington state. Although rural Washingtonians lag their metropolitan counterparts, the average household is experiencing at...
Closing the lid on soda tax

Closing the lid on soda tax

As Seattle’s business community pushes back against a proposed head tax, a coalition of employers and workers unions wants to quarantine the city’s soda...
gas pump

Oil prices highest in four years

Feeling a squeeze at the pump? ABC News reports that oil prices have risen above $70 per barrel this week...
Congress may decide fate of the lower Snake River dams

Congress may decide fate of the lower Snake River dams

A U.S. House resolution backed by three Washington Republican lawmakers protecting the lower Snake River dams from breaching to improve endangered salmon species populations...
City of Seattle at night

Head tax “last nail in the coffin”

In the latest development in the controversy surrounding the Seattle City Council’s proposed business tax plan, or “head tax,” Amazon has stopped development in...
Digital world solutions to physical world problems

Digital world solutions to physical world problems

New technology can bring uncertainty about its impact on society. As companies such as Waymo begin rolling out self-driving vehicles, safety concerns have led...
First GMA appeal under new Hirst law

First GMA appeal under new Hirst law

Earlier this year state lawmakers and Governor Jay Inslee approved a law addressing rural growth restrictions imposed by the State Supreme Court’s 2016 Hirst...
Wheat farmer standing in field

U.S. wheat industry: No Chinese tariffs

While China still negotiates potential tariffs on American imports, the U.S. wheat industry hopes the country will abandon the plan. If the tariffs are...
High stakes in fish barrier ruling

High stakes in fish barrier ruling

Under consideration by the U.S. Supreme Court is a case between Washington state and Native American tribes concerning treaty fishing rights and the removal...
Carbon tax initiative raises numerous questions

Carbon tax initiative raises numerous questions

Although efforts in the state legislature earlier this year to enact a carbon tax were unsuccessful despite Democrat control of both chambers, proponents could...
Aerial shot of Seattle

Seattle business leaders: tax scheme punishing to employment sector

On Apr. 21, the Seattle City Council unveiled its proposed business tax plan to raise $75 million for additional  affordable housing options and addressing...
video

Lens Video: Washington’s trade future

Lens sat down with Lori Otto Punke, President of the Washington Council on International Trade, to discuss what Washington state industries reliant on global...
Initiative opens government labor talks to public

Initiative opens government labor talks to public

Governor Jay Inslee’s Office of Financial Management (OFM) next week will begin collective bargaining agreement (CBA) negotiations with public unions in meetings that are...
App demand for road user charge fee

App demand for road user charge fee

One planned feature of the Washington State Transportation Commission’s (WSTC) ongoing road user charge (RUC) pilot program is obtaining frequent participant feedback on their...
video

Lens Video: Promoting Washington’s port competitiveness

Lens sat down with Port of Seattle Commissioner Ryan Calkins to discuss how Washington is responding to the current international trade landscape.

“This is political hypocrisy on the part of Seattle and it’s economic illiteracy on...

Mike Davis, Dallas economist commenting on the city’s proposed head tax.
Residential well

Development picks up with Hirst fix

Three months since Governor Jay Inslee signed Senate Bill 6091, commonly referred to as the Hirst fix, into law, representatives from the Legislature, the...
How safety shapes driverless car technology

How safety shapes driverless car technology

A new state law that takes effect in June creates a state work group that assists the Washington State Transportation Commission on making annual...

Tariff? What Tariff? Chinese sellers still buying Washington apples…

iFIBER ONE News reports that Chinese retailers are still purchasing Washington apples despite the 25 percent tariff recently imposed on them by the Chinese government in response to Trump's substantial new tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.
End of “fire-borrowing” era

End of “fire-borrowing” era

In recent years, the rising cost of fighting wildfires in National Forests has forced the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to pay for fire suppression...
The politics of congestion tolling

The politics of congestion tolling

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan has announced plans to toll certain roads in the city to reduce congestion and carbon emissions. Although the details aren’t...
BNSF Railway train

Washington’s ties to cleaner coal solution

As Millennium Bulk Terminals (MBT) continues to weather six years of permit applications to create an export terminal in Longview, Washington, President and CEO...
The cost of McCleary compliance

The cost of McCleary compliance

With another billion in new basic education spending for teacher salaries included in the 2018 supplemental budget by the state legislature this session, lawmakers...
Milk being poured

Organic milk farmers surviving, not thriving

Although market indicators in the 1990s pointed to organic dairy as the next fad, those farmers today are determining how to stay afloat in...
animal swallowing dollar bills

Business owners: Head tax yet another burden

With small businesses struggling and closing all over Seattle, many business owners feel the City Council is working against them. The latest of these...
How healthy is Washington’s manufacturing industry?

How healthy is Washington’s manufacturing industry?

Of recent interest to both state lawmakers and the business community is the health of Washington’s manufacturing industry. Since 2000, the sector has shrunk...
Pacific Salmon population explosion

Pacific Salmon population explosion

As Washington stakeholders and policymakers explore ways to increase the state’s population of certain salmon protected as endangered species under federal law, the Pacific...
Apple harvesting

Washington agriculture and the Chinese trade war

Washington agricultural businesses and producers need to find a new trade partner, and quick. That is what industry stakeholders are saying in response to...
video

Lens Video: Promoting free trade for agriculture

Darigold President and CEO Stan Ryan discusses the importance of free trade for the agricultural industry during the 2018 Washington Council on International Trade...
Washington’s B&O tax ‘injustice’

Washington’s B&O tax ‘injustice’

This year’s legislative session ended without a reduced business and occupation (B&O) rate for manufacturers, a major priority for the state business community. The...
Avoiding a misfire with Cascadia bullet train

Avoiding a misfire with Cascadia bullet train

Proponents of an ultra-high-speed rail line between British Columbia, Seattle and Oregon recently achieved another necessary step toward realizing that vision, while recent nightmare...
Statewide soda tax ban would send an important message: Do policy smarter.

Statewide soda tax ban would send an important message: Do policy smarter.

The Seattle Lab has another magic elixir – a tax on some sweetened beverages like sports drinks and soda – hyped as a much-needed...
Treading lightly on “no man’s land”

Treading lightly on “no man’s land”

The state Wildland Fire Advisory Committee isn’t wasting any time thinking of ways to combat wildfires in areas outside of any jurisdiction, also known...
Treasurer warns of raiding rainy day fund

Treasurer warns of raiding rainy day fund

Washington state is expected to receive billions in unexpected revenue in the 2017-19 biennium, and the legislature’s intent via the 2018 supplemental operating budget...
Running the circuit for electric vehicles

Running the circuit for electric vehicles

A state sales tax exemption for electric vehicle purchases in Washington state is set to expire after reaching a threshold set by the legislature...
city street and people

Finding balance among jobs, housing, environment key to growth planning

The Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) is about to undertake an update of Vision 2040, which sets forth a blueprint for growth in King,...
U.S. lawmakers speak to the future of global trade

Securing Washington’s trade future

During the Washington Council on International Trade (WCIT)’s annual Trade Summit, U.S. lawmakers weighed in on how Washington state could maintain its position in...
Seattle ripe for ‘cottage’ industry

Seattle ripe for ‘cottage’ industry

The city of Seattle has 55,000 ways to add more rentals to the market without developing new land. That’s according to a recent article...
video

Lens Video: Washington’s skilled worker gap

Lens sat down with State Sen. Guy Palumbo (D-1) to discuss how Washington can better prepare for the projected skilled worker gap.
Skilled workers in factory

The ‘Silver Tsunami’ and Washington’s skilled worker gap

As the older generation of workers is aging out of skilled jobs, what some refer to as the “Silver Tsunami”, many open positions are...
Truckers oppose road mileage charge

Truckers oppose road mileage charge

Washington state is conducting a road user charge (RUC) fee pilot program to test different ways drivers might one day track and pay a...
Steel worker welding a plate

Trump tariffs would harm small business

Following President Donald Trump’s announcement of new tariffs on aluminum and steel imports, U.S. lawmakers and business stakeholders are saying that the levies would...
When driverless cars and public policy collide

When driverless cars and public policy collide

A recent deadly accident in Arizona involving a self-driving Uber vehicle and the company’s decision to halt their use on roads indicates the level...
Wildfires in “no man’s land”

Wildfires in “no man’s land”

Outside the jurisdiction of Washington’s 417 fire departments and fire stations are regions of the state known as “no man’s land”; territory where no...
Construction workers discussing plan

Addressing Washington’s skilled worker gap

With an aging workforce and new jobs appearing weekly across the state, one thing is clear: Washington needs to double down on preparing to...
Seasonal worker housing divides small town community

Seasonal worker housing divides small town community

A controversy within a tiny Central Washington community over a proposed housing unit on private land along its Main Street for foreign seasonal workers...
Navigating a road mileage charge

Navigating a road mileage charge

Washington’s road user charge (RUC) fee pilot program is underway with 2,000 volunteer drivers testing out a variety of ways to keep track of...
Raw law export in Longview

Longview: Tenant would feed city’s tech appetite

A company with a focus on powering supercomputers has set its sights on Longview, Washington as its potential location for operations. Both the company...
Roadmap for Sound Transit future

Roadmap for Sound Transit future

Puget Sound drivers who want a reduced ST3 car tab tax may have to get as loud as the Seahawks stadium at gametime if...
Lens LegiTrack Update: May 1, 2017

Lens LegiTrack Update: March 9, 2018

Future of work task force SB 6544 (Chase) would establish the future of work task force. Read More. Under the measure, the task force would...
Supplemental budget tax-free, no B&O relief

Supplemental budget tax-free, no B&O relief

The Washington legislature has agreed to a supplemental operating budget for the 2017-19 biennium that does not include new taxes as originally proposed in...
Doctor talking with patient

Charting a course to private health care coverage

Lawmakers have approved a measure which would guarantee individual market health care coverage in all counties in Washington, regardless of whether or not a...
City bus on street

Sound Transit will never be accountable to taxpayers until we directly elect its board

Washingtonians have a simple expectation of those who make our laws and spend our money: hear our concerns, respond and be accountable. For more than...
The cost of a property tax cut

The cost of a property tax cut

Washingtonians could get a state property tax rate reduction next year, but it may cost them more than they want to pay. After debating the...
Senate fight tables tax relief bill

Senate fight tables tax relief bill

A narrowly split Washington Senate is at an impasse for the moment over a bill that calls for what some say is an illegal...
Central Washington Sceneryvideo

Lens Video: Revitalizing Washington’s tourism program

Lens sat down with State Rep. Cary Condotta (R-12) to discuss the future of tourism in Washington state. Lawmakers are pushing to reopen a...
Ships docked

Modernizing the state’s fishing fleet

Lawmakers and stakeholders are praising a proposal which would help encourage competitiveness of the state’s fishing and seafood processing sectors by establishing a preferential...
The route to driverless cars

The route to driverless cars

Driverless vehicle technology is still under development, but Washington stakeholders aren’t waiting to encourage its inclusion in regional transportation policy. A presentation last year...
Construction workers planning next step

Lawmakers: Future of work proposal “redundant”

State lawmakers disagreed over the need for a bill which would predict changes in Washington industries and work by creating the future of work...
Aviation loan program clears

Aviation loan program clears runway

For the first time in 10 years, Bowerman Airport in the Port of Grays Harbor announced that all of its 28 hangers are leased...
Home caretaker with patient

House divided over individual provider bill

Lawmakers proved unwavering while discussing the passage of SB 6199 during House floor debate. There was a clear divide between Republicans and Democrats, with...
The dark side of carbon tax’s demise

The dark side of carbon tax’s demise

After the election of Sen. Manka Dhingra in the 45th legislative district gave Democrats control of both legislative chambers and the governorship, some wondered...
Lens LegiTrack Update: May 1, 2017

Lens LegiTrack Update: March 2, 2018

Education HB 1600 (Santos) would further work-integrated learning for students in 5th through 12th grade. Read more.  The bill creates the work-integrated learning initiative and requires...
Empire Unmanned's Brock LIpple launching an eBee UAV/drone

Drones on the rise in agriculture

Agriculture’s most helpful tool may be flying over farmers’ heads. The use of drone technology is on the rise in agriculture, which assists the...
The striking cost of “meager” ST3 tax relief

The striking cost of “meager” ST3 tax relief

In the fight to reduce the new ST3 car tab tax for Puget Sound drivers, no matter who wins, Sound Transit still wins. It’s a...
diesel train on tracks

Freight rail must roll on

A new report by the Washington State Department of Transportation offers some pretty high praise for our state’s freight network and the rail lines...
Keeping WA energy affordable

Keeping WA energy affordable

A consortium of legislation introduced this session aims to reduce the state’s carbon emissions, which are already among the lowest in the nation. On...
Legislator: Fear, speculation driving net neutrality action

Legislator: Fear, speculation driving net neutrality action

After a brief but spirited debate, the Washington state Senate approved the first state-level net neutrality legislation in the nation. SHB 2282 imposes several regulations...
How long will Washington’s good times last?

How long will Washington’s good times last?

On the surface, Washington appears to be in good economic shape. In only eight months, the state’s Economic and Revenue Forecast Council (ERFC) has added...
Lake Chelan

Revitalizing statewide tourism efforts

Two state lawmakers from central Washington are expressing the need for statewide tourism marketing, as they say Washington is overshadowed by other states’ efforts....
A “report card” for tax cuts

A “report card” for tax breaks

A frequent debate among legislators is whether excluding an industry or business from a state tax is an incentive that brings more jobs and...
semi truck on highway

Low carbon fuel standard a plan for well-intentioned failure

All ideas are not equal; not by a long shot. There are good ideas and bad. There are also good ideas that create bad realities –...
Lens LegiTrack Update: March 20, 2017

Lens LegiTrack Update: February 23, 2018

Harbor maintenance tax reform SJM 8008 (Chase) would ask Congress to reform the Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT) to ensure that U.S. ports are not competitively disadvantaged...
Container ship leaving port

Harbor maintenance tax reform advances with unanimous support

Legislators and representatives from the business and labor communities are showing strong support for the current Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT) reform proposal moving through...
The great rainy day fund raid

The great rainy day fund raid

State property tax relief for Western Washington homeowners has become a major topic in this year’s legislative session after lawmakers passed EHB 2242 to...
Windmill in plains

Utility regulatory change could add flexibility

Utility stakeholders and lawmakers are throwing their support behind a proposal which would allow additional regulatory options for electrical and natural gas companies. Proponents...
House budget includes capital gains tax

House budget includes capital gains tax

The House’s proposed supplement operating budget released Feb. 20 doesn’t spend nearly as much as its companion proposal in the Senate, but it assumes...
: No new taxes in Senate budget proposal

No new taxes in Senate budget proposal

The state legislative session is likely to end on exactly the opposite note as last year’s: on time and without new taxes. That is...
Is your county “rural” enough?

Is your county “rural” enough?

State lawmakers behind a bipartisan proposal to reduce the business and occupation (B&O) tax rate for manufacturers say they want to help rural Washington...
Snoqualmie Falls shot

Tourism bill garners strong support

House lawmakers on Feb. 20 heard public comment on a bill which would establish a statewide tourism agency that proponents say would fill the...
Time for a tax cut?

Time for a tax cut?

Supporters of a capital gains income tax to allow reductions in the state property tax rate advanced a bill doing just that Feb. 19...
Lens LegiTrack Update: May 1, 2017

Lens LegiTrack Update: February 16, 2018

Health care provider model SB 6911 (Cleveland) would update the current system for managing individual health care providers. Read More. The measure would allow the state...
Carbon emission proposal “chasing a phantom”

Carbon emission proposal “chasing a phantom”

House lawmakers narrowly approved legislation Feb. 14 imposing more stringent carbon emission reduction goals for Washington state. ESHB 1144 would revise benchmarks created in a...
Bill would promote broadband access

Bill would promote broadband access

In the ongoing push to extend broadband across Washington, all of the state’s 75 port districts will be able to build and operate high-speed...
computers, cameras and cell phones

State energy savings bill would discourage progress

Makers and sellers of consumer electronics are voicing their opposition to a bill before the state Legislature that aims to establish new minimum energy...
Students creating models

Education bill adds flexibility for students, schools

Lawmakers in Olympia are hearing from stakeholders who say that SB 6133 will expand opportunities for students as they pursue careers, along with giving school...
Helping cross-laminated timber go mainstream

Helping cross-laminated timber go mainstream

Cross-laminated timber (CLT) isn’t a silver bullet for Washington’s rural economy and public forestland health, but it may be as close as it gets. The...
couple in front of house

A housing crisis that affects us all

There is a housing crisis looming and, if left unaddressed, will come home to roost in all sectors of the housing market. Despite the compassionate...
Senate approves rural broadband pilot program

Senate approves rural broadband pilot program

Senate lawmakers overwhelming approved legislation on Monday that supporters hope will create further momentum for full high-speed internet deployment in Washington state. ESSB 6034 creates...
Construction workers discuss safety

Prevailing wage bill clears the Senate

The Washington state Senate has approved a bill which would specify how prevailing wages must be set. Although the majority of lawmakers are supportive...
Net neutrality bill could face legal “throttling”

Net neutrality bill could face legal “throttling”

The Washington House overwhelmingly approved bipartisan legislation February 9 imposing net neutrality policy that proponents say will protect Internet consumers and small business owners,...
A top-up for beer, wine growler enthusiasts

A top-up for beer, wine growler enthusiasts

Washingtonians who want to take home a growler of their favorite local beer, wine, cider or mead from their local farmers market may get...
Nurse spending time with patient

Individual provider bill controversial

Lawmakers opposed to SB 6911 are arguing the bill would take away the freedom of choice for individual home care providers when considering whether...
Employer helps intern with equipment

Career readiness bill aims to fill skill gaps

Academic representatives and employers alike are praising a proposal they say would help prepare more of Washington’s youth for the workforce and fill skilled...
Lens LegiTrack Update: May 1, 2017

Lens LegiTrack Update: February 9, 2018

Career and College Readiness HB 1600 (Santos) would increase career and college readiness for public school students. Read more. The measure would create a...
Committee passes renewable energy bill

Committee passes renewable energy bill

Roughly 75 percent of Washington’s energy production is carbon-free. Proponents of SSB 6253 want to set up a timeline for utility providers to reduce...
Putting the freeze on id theft prevention costs

Putting the freeze on ID theft prevention costs

Last year, a cybersecurity breach of the consumer reporting agency Equifax exposed the personal information of 143 million American consumers. That included credit card...
Doctor checking up on patient

Adopting a national model for insurance companies

Under a new bill, insurance companies would be required to follow a national framework for managing and reporting their business activity. Proponents of SB 5069...
Senate committee advances Sound Transit car tab bill

Senate committee advances Sound Transit car tab bill

A Senate bill providing modest tax relief for Puget Sound drivers paying the new ST3 motor vehicle excise tax (MVET) has cleared the Transportation...
Low carbon fuel standard proposal advances

Low carbon fuel standard proposal advances

A bill calling for a low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) program in Washington has cleared the House Transportation Committee and is on its way...
Hair stylist with customer

A big break for small businesses

Smaller businesses may be in for larger tax breaks via a recent proposal by state lawmakers.  Legislators have introduced a bill to modernize portions of...
City bus

Legislature shouldn’t squander opportunity to correct Sound Transit’s excesses

Fact: Sound Transit’s (ST) 2015 bid for a massive $54 billion expansion, mostly for light rail, was approved by a large majority of voters...
Proposal looks to lower cost, boost development

Proposal looks to lower cost, boost development

It appears that rapid growth in the Puget Sound region is posing some math story problems at the state level. Back in 2016, the state...
Critics call carbon tax “Do Not Enter” sign

Critics call carbon tax “Do Not Enter” sign

The Senate Energy, Environment & Technology has voted to advance a modified version of Governor Jay Inslee’s carbon tax proposal, giving SB 6203 a...
Lens LegiTrack Update: March 20, 2017

Lens LegiTrack Update: February 2, 2018

Grocery and Restaurant Training HB 2830 (Eslick) would expand employment opportunity training programs for restaurants and grocery stores. Read More. The measure would authorize the Director...
Manufacturing employee working with a fire stove

Addressing manufacturing job loss

Two new, bipartisan bills are making their way through the Legislature, with the goal of addressing changes that are affecting Washington’s manufacturing sector. The bills’...
prescribed-burn-resources

“Burn bosses” would turn up the heat

It’s an idea befitting a scene in a sequel to Planes: Fire & Rescue – a program to train prescribed burn project managers, a.k.a:...

Net neutrality bills advance

As House lawmakers consider two similar net neutrality bills, another proposal has been introduced in the Senate that would apply the two-year federal policy...
Washington and the new “space race”

Washington and the new “space race”

Washington state is considered by many to be the “Silicon Valley of Space” due to its large cluster of cutting-edge spacecraft employers, and a...
People preparing to hike up Mount Rainier

Stakeholders say tourism bill needs another lead authority

Tourism agency representatives are finding fault with the lead agency listed in a House bill that would establish a statewide agency for managing tourism...
semi truck highway

Low carbon fuel standard is bad for your wallet

Washington drivers already pay the second-highest combined state and federal gas tax in the nation – an eye-popping 67.8 cents per gallon – according...
New capital gains income tax proposed

New capital gains income tax proposed

A Democrat House lawmaker has introduced a bill establishing a statewide capital gains income tax while reducing the state property tax burden on certain...
Worker stocking fruit in grocery store

Employers support grocery, restaurant training bill

Business representatives are touting HB 2830 as way to increase training opportunities within restaurants and grocery stores across the state, saying the measure allows...
Tax credit proposed to aid rural broadband

Tax credit proposed to aid rural broadband

One Washington telecom provider wants all state residents to have high-speed internet access by 2028. It’s a goal driven primarily by uneven broadband access,...
Industry urges caution on net neutrality push

Industry urges caution on net neutrality push

Late last year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reversed the Obama-era net neutrality policy that treated Internet Service Providers (ISPs) as utilities.  While a...
Lens LegiTrack Update: May 1, 2017

Lens LegiTrack Update: January 26, 2018

Hirst Bill Becomes Law SB 6091 (Van De Wege) would address negative effects stemming from the 2016 Supreme Court Hirst decision. Read More. The bill...
Fight for ST3 car tab relief continues

Fight for ST3 car tab relief continues

Dominating the Senate Transportation Committee agenda January 24 was a long list of public hearings regarding Sound Transit’s new ST3 motor vehicle excise tax...
Low carbon fuel standard proposal advances

Low carbon fuel standard proposal advances

With a number of climate change proposals introduced this legislative session, Democrats may have to alter or yield on one to gain necessary Republican...
House approves revived Sound Transit car tab bill

House approves revived Sound Transit car tab bill

House lawmakers approved a Democrat-sponsored bill Wednesday reintroduced from last year’s session that reforms Sound Transit’s ST3 motor vehicle excise tax (MVET) calculation on...
Patient giving blood

Business stakeholders wary of reinsurance bill

Business representatives are voicing concerns that a new bill related to health care reinsurance would mean yet another cost burden on small businesses and...
Industry: Carbon free by 2045 costly, unattainable

Industry: Carbon free by 2045 costly, unattainable

In a session dominated by climate change-related proposals, a Senate bill has been introduced calling for Washington state energy production to be carbon-free by...
Well in a garden

Hirst fix update: Water bill becomes law

After 18 months of stakeholder meetings and debate, the Washington State Legislature passed and Governor Jay Inslee signed into law a bill to address...
Recalibrating local growth management plans

Recalibrating local growth management plans

Washington has a growth problem, but the problem differs depending on where you live. In the Puget Sound region, an exploding population has led to...
Top of Granite Mountain

Tourism bill draws strong support

Washington is the only state in the country without a dedicated statewide tourism agency – and this has been the case since 2011. To address...
Lens LegiTrack Update: May 1, 2017

Lens LegiTrack Update: January 19, 2018

Hirst Fix Legislation SB 6091 (Van De Wege) would address negative effects stemming from the 2016 Supreme Court Hirst decision. Under the measure, well owners would...
Senate hearings set for Sound Transit bills

Senate hearings set for Sound Transit bills

As momentum for Sound Transit 3 car tab relief appears to be waning in the state House, efforts are being renewed in the Senate....
Container ship entering port

Legislature asks Congress for harbor maintenance tax reform

Stakeholders from the retail sector, port leadership and labor leaders are voicing strong support for a measure which would request Congress to reform the...
Washington River

House Hirst bill may provide needed clarification

State lawmakers are hearing from building industry representatives and other stakeholders on a bill which aims to address the ongoing implications of the 2016...
Bumpy road possible for road user charge

Bumpy road possible for road user charge

With Washington’s road user charge fee (RUC) pilot program scheduled to start this year, some anticipate a possible decision by the legislature about whether...
Industry members urge restraint with carbon tax

Industry members urge restraint with carbon tax

Governor Jay Inslee’s efforts during recent legislative sessions to impose a statewide carbon tax have been unsuccessful, but with Democrats now controlling both chambers,...
Revitalizing Washington’s manufacturing industry with tax cut

Revitalizing Washington’s manufacturing industry with tax cut

During last year’s legislative session, the longest in state history, lawmakers approved a 2017-19 operating budget that included a reduced gross receipts tax, or...
Man throwing money

Toxic habit of raiding hazardous site clean-up fund must end before any talk of...

Washingtonians do not like hazardous waste. We really don’t. In poll after poll and through the many other ways that we get the message across...
Apprentice works on machinery

New grant to bolster employment efforts

Washington state youth and adults will now have access to new grant funding for job opportunities under the Career Connect Washington Initiative that begins...
Semi truck on highway

Electronic monitoring levels economic playing field

A recent Congressional mandate has instituted the use of electronic devices to ensure truckers throughout the country comply with rules that regulate the hours...
Lens LegiTrack Update: May 1, 2017

Lens LegiTrack Update: January 12, 2018

The following article was compiled by the Lens staff. Each week the Lens staff puts together a compilation of bills important to the business community...
What constitutes Sound Transit car tab “relief”?

What constitutes Sound Transit car tab “relief”?

The 2018 legislative session began with key Democrat lawmakers vowing to implement tax relief for Puget Sound drivers paying a new motor vehicle excise...
Loading forestry truck

Employers support high-demand jobs bill

Washington state lawmakers heard from rural employers this week who support a pending proposal to support students to both earn degrees and succeed in...
House bill would speed cleanup on state lands

House bill would speed cleanup on state lands

Record-setting wildfire seasons in recent years have prompted consensus among state lawmakers to reform public land management practices. A new bipartisan House bill would...
Apprentice changes oil on car

Job training proposal could boost employment

The House Education Committee heard testimony this week on a bill which would create a pilot project to better connect Washington state public school...
State of the State: A house divided

State of the State: A house divided

Governor Jay Inslee’s January 9 State of the State speech mixed celebratory rhetoric for recent bipartisan achievements with renewed calls for climate-change-related proposals that...
Fuel standard proposal may be untenable, stakeholders warn

Stakeholders: Fuel standard proposal may be untenable

Washington state carbon emission reduction is the driving force behind an assortment of proposed legislation this session, with Governor Jay Inslee setting the mood...
condominium under construction

The need for condominium liability reform

One of the most important things we can do to address the Puget Sound Region’s lack of attainable housing is to increase the supply...
Construction workers and equipment

Washington’s housing and transportation disconnect

Washington has spent roughly $12.5 billion on transportation capital projects since 2011-13, yet a lack of cohesion between transportation investments, regional housing and job...
old water well

Hirst bill kicks off session water use talks

As legislators embark on the 2018 session, one of the first committee meetings saw introduction of a proposal to address negative effects stemming from...
Revisiting Sound Transit car tab relief

Revisiting Sound Transit car tab relief

Left unresolved by state lawmakers during last year’s legislative session was how to provide adequate car tab relief for Puget Sound drivers paying new...
Coal trains in terminal

Millennium Bulk Terminals’ parent company sues Inslee administration

Lighthouse Resources, Inc., the parent company of Millennium Bulk Terminals (MBT), this week filed a federal lawsuit against Governor Jay Inslee and members of...
people in front of amazon sign

Analyst: Amazon searching for better business climate

As Amazon looks for candidates for its second headquarters (HQ2), Seattle leadership would like a clean slate in its relationship with the company. One...
Lawmakers: Regional growth plans must acknowledge reality

Lawmakers: Regional growth plans must acknowledge reality

As the central Puget Sound region continues to struggle with explosive growth, some state lawmakers say certain provisions in the state’s Growth Management Act...
raiding-money

Raiding Washington’s toxic cleanup fund

A state Department of Ecology account intended to fund the cleanup of orphan hazardous sites in Washington is projected to have a $69 million...
Higher tolls could improve I-405 travel times, WSDOT study says

Higher tolls could improve I-405 travel times, WSDOT study says

The fate of dynamic tolling of 17-miles of high occupancy (HOV) lanes on Interstate 405 between Bellevue and Lynnwood could have long-term implications for...
Outside shot of Key Arena

KeyArena Renovation: potential boon for local economy

Seattle city leaders have approved a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Los Angeles-based Oak View Group (OVG) to renovate KeyArena with the hope of...
Court says Ecology overreached with Clean Air Rule

Court says Ecology overreached with Clean Air Rule

A Thurston County Superior Court judge ruling on Friday invalidated the state Department of Ecology’s Clean Air Rule due to a lack of statutory...
Construction workers on site

Employers call for better workplace safety citation process

Washington business owners are reporting that it is difficult to stay informed when receiving workplace safety inspection penalties given out by the Department of...
State Treasurer warns against use of emergency funds in budget proposal

State Treasurer warns against use of emergency funds in budget proposal

Governor Jay Inslee’s proposed 2018 supplemental budget released Thursday brought forth mixed tidings of discomfort and joy. His operating budget would add $1 billion...
Ultra high-speed rail could work, study finds

Ultra high-speed rail could work, study finds

A high-speed rail line between Vancouver, B.C. through Seattle to Portland, Oregon could potentially provide 1.7-2.1 million annual trips and pay for its own...
Seattle’s vacation rentals industry hit with new rules

Seattle’s vacation rental industry hit with new rules

The Seattle City Council unanimously approved new regulations at a Monday meeting on short-term and vacation rentals that industry members warn will backfire as...
Seattle clothing shop

Licensing, permitting top regulatory burdens for Washington businesses

Washington businesses often struggle to navigate numerous licensing and regulatory requirements while operating in the state, and industry and business leaders are saying these...
Seattle makes “long shot” appeal on income tax

Seattle makes “long shot” appeal on income tax

The city of Seattle is moving forward with its “long shot” appeal to the King County Superior Court ruling on its income tax ordinance....
Washington high court adds doubt to Seattle income tax appeal

Washington high court adds doubt to Seattle income tax appeal

A Washington State Supreme Court ruling issued Thursday may have just added yet another hurdle for any possible appeal by the city of Seattle...
Trains passing through terminal

Millennium Bulk Terminals sues Ecology for withheld records

Millennium Bulk Terminals (MBT) filed a lawsuit this week against the Washington State Department of Ecology for withholding records used as the basis for...
Nearly half a billion spent fighting Washington wildfires since 2010

Nearly half a billion spent fighting Washington wildfires since 2010

Between 2010-2016, the State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Office of the State Fire Marshall spent nearly half a billion responding to...
Preparing Washington for air cargo’s big takeoff

Preparing Washington for air cargo’s big takeoff

Air freight is a popular form of transport for Washington producers exporting their products overseas to the Asia market. The state’s primary gateway for...
Century Link Field With Roof Open

Event spending boosts Seattle economic activity

Traveling events and sporting games are important to Seattle businesses as they lay the groundwork for additional spending in the local area. Some of...
Seattle, think tank income tax arguments are “frivolous,” says plaintiff

Seattle, think tank income tax arguments are “frivolous,” says plaintiff

The plaintiffs challenging the city of Seattle’s income tax have succeeded so far, with a November 22 ruling in King County Superior Court overturning...
Loading Crane at Port of Vancouver

Energy council recommends governor deny Vancouver Energy project

The Washington State Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC) voted unanimously this week to send Governor Jay Inslee a recommendation to deny the proposed...
Study findings may discourage legislators’ budget tinkering

Study findings may discourage legislators’ budget tinkering

Washington benefits from one of the more stable revenue streams in the nation, and the best among the West Coast states. That’s according to...
BNSF Railcar on tracks

Voters reject Spokane rail prop; stakeholders relieved

Spokane voters have rejected a ballot proposition that would have placed fees on the shipment of certain fossil fuels through city limits. Business stakeholders...
More GMA fine-tuning needed for rural counties, say lawmakers

More GMA fine-tuning needed for rural counties, say lawmakers

As Washington continues to grow, rural counties throughout the state are struggling to attract new businesses and jobs for their residents. Some state and...
King County court smacks down Seattle income tax

King County court smacks down Seattle income tax

If the city of Seattle’s message to residents was “you can leave if you don't like our income tax,” King County Superior Court perhaps...
cargo ship

Harbor Maintenance Tax: A competitive challenge

The Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT) is just one reason why Washington ports have been losing business to competition in Canada or other West Coast ports....
Apples in barrels at an orchard

Washington apple growers may regain Indonesia trade access

U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer this month reaffirmed that Indonesian import licensing regulations for horticultural and animal products violated World Trade Organization (WTO)...
Seattle: Don’t like our income tax? Move to Bellevue

Seattle: Don’t like our income tax? Move to Bellevue

If you don’t like Seattle’s income tax, then you can get out. It’s a sentiment perhaps more appropriate for an episode of South Park, but...
Lighthouse at the San Juan Islands

Washington tourism agencies prepare for the winter decline

As the winter months approach, Washington tourism agencies are implementing different campaigns and marketing strategies to keep travelers coming to visit state attractions. Strategies...
Washington high court still unsatisfied with education spending

Washington high court still unsatisfied with education spending

When asked how much money is enough, industrialist John Rockefeller replied: "Just a little bit more." That seemed to be the Washington State Supreme...
Camas mill closure the “canary in the coal mine”?

Camas mill closure the “canary in the coal mine”?

An Atlanta-based pulp and paper company announced this week its plans to close a Southwest Washington pulp mill that has operated since before Washington’s...
Dock extending into Columbia River

Stakeholders say Millennium permit denial endangers business climate

The Cowlitz County Hearings Examiner this week denied Millennium Bulk Terminals its Shoreline Permit for its proposed export terminal in Longview. Labor and business...
Lawmakers look back to the future for rural broadband access in Washington state

Lawmakers look back to the future for rural broadband access in Washington state

State lawmakers are renewing the push for greater rural broadband access in Washington communities. Proponents of a Senate bill introduced during this year’s session...
Airplane at Grant County International Airport

13th District lawmakers visit Japan to market Washington’s strengths

Washington’s 13th District lawmakers recently embarked on a trade mission to Japan to foster mutually beneficial relationships and encourage new development within the state....
Does Washington Need A “Climate Change” For Manufacturers?

Does Washington need a “climate change” for manufacturers?

Washington manufacturers currently make up roughly nine percent of the state’s workforce. This represents a three percent drop since 2000, according to a new...
Washingtonians overwhelmingly oppose new state taxes in advisory votes

Washingtonians overwhelmingly oppose new state taxes in advisory votes

Washington voters soundly rejected in non-binding advisory votes three tax measures approved by the state legislature this session. But it remains to be seen...
Wendy Hutchinson speaks to benefit of Millennium Bulk Terminals project

Hearings on Millennium Bulk Terminals permits conclude with strong support

Hearings concluded this week on Millennium Bulk Terminals’ (MBT) Shoreline Substantial Development and Conditional Use Permits for its proposed export terminal in Longview. The...
The bottom-up strategy to reform collective bargaining

The bottom-up strategy to reform collective bargaining

Progressive income tax advocates have hoped to use local governments to push for statewide implementation of that tax. While that stratagem may soon get...
Finding compromise on Seattle’s short-term rental rules

Finding compromise on Seattle’s short-term rental rules

Less than one percent of Seattle’s housing is used for short-term rentals. Nevertheless, the Seattle City Council aims to impose a new tax on...
Engineer working on equipment

Washington technical school to partner with Oregon, British Columbia to fill workforce gaps

There will be an estimated 740,000 job openings in Washington state over the next five years and analysts are projecting a lack of qualified...
View over Seattle

The proposed Seattle head count tax: yet another business burden

Members of the Seattle City Council recently proposed a new head count tax on large businesses in Seattle to help fund homelessness programs and...
State Auditor’s budget request "bombshell"

State Auditor’s budget request “bombshell”

The State Auditor’s Office (SAO) hasn’t performed an accountability audit on 55 state agencies for more than four years, and four new state agencies...
Combine Harvesting Wheat

Washington wheat growers weigh in on NAFTA, South Korean trade agreement

As North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations continue, the Washington wheat industry is sharing its concerns and hopes for a revamped contract. The...
Killing affordable micro-housing has complicated Seattle housing landscape

Killing affordable micro-housing has complicated Seattle housing landscape

One stated objective of the city of Seattle’s hotly contested income tax proposal is to address the regional housing affordability crisis. Not only has...

Housing affordability crisis requires bold action

One of the biggest challenges facing our region is a lack of attainable housing, especially near job centers. Continued growth is driving the demand...
Rideshare car

Establishing a level playing field for ride-hailing companies in Spokane

As the city of Spokane proceeds with a temporary contract for ridesharing businesses such as Uber or Lyft, one city councilmember and taxi cab...
DNR releases 20-year forest health plan

DNR releases 20-year forest health plan

If Washingtonians think wildfires are bad now, things could get even worse for future generations. According to predictions, the Pacific Northwest could lose four...

Washington Policy Center to expand, focus on labor issues

The Washington Policy Center (WPC) has announced it will expand its research at the start of 2018, opening a center to focus on labor...
Lawmakers say Sound Transit misled voters, propose key reform measures

Lawmakers say Sound Transit misled voters, propose key reform measures

Following two work sessions investigating Sound Transit, top-ranking Republican lawmakers on the Senate Law and Justice Committee say the results prove the regional transit...
Seattle’s income tax could lead to even higher home, rental prices, industry leaders say

Seattle’s income tax could lead to even higher home, rental prices, industry leaders say

One of the justifications cited in the city ordinance for Seattle’s income tax is to address the “affordable housing crisis.” However, real estate industry...

Millennium Bulk Terminals appeals Ecology denial of key permit

Yesterday, Millennium Bulk Terminals (MBT) appealed the Washington State Department of Ecology’s denial of its water quality permit for the proposed export facility in...

Spokane rail measure bad for trade-dependent Washington

There is no question Washington is seeing increasing activism by those who are opposed to industrial projects, especially when fossil fuels are involved. While...
Puget Sound’s home price conundrum

Puget Sound’s home price conundrum

The Puget Sound region has always had an edge related to other parts of Washington state when it comes to the real estate market....

Building a sustainable housing future

The Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties (MBAKS) hosted builders, developers, realtors and other housing stakeholders for its fourth annual housing summit,...

Secretary of Education DeVos urges school choice in K-12

At Washington Policy Center’s (WPC) annual dinner, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos addressed nearly 1,500 business leaders, elected officials and young professionals about the power...

Japan eyes Millennium Bulk Terminals to fulfill energy needs

More than six years after the Fukushima Nuclear Power Facility disaster, Japan is looking to the United States as a viable option for a...

Labor urges passage of Millennium Bulk Terminals permit to boost economy, create jobs

Members of the labor community have taken a strong interest in urging Cowlitz County to approve shoreline permits for the proposed export terminal project...

Employers: Reduced 2018 workers’ compensation rates appreciated, could be lower

Even as the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) projects a 2.5-percent decrease in workers’ compensation premiums paid by Washington employers for 2018, members...
Stakeholders: MBT water permit denial threatens jobs, future investment

Stakeholders: MBT water permit denial threatens jobs, future investment

Millennium Bulk Terminals’ proposed export facility in Longview has been denied its water quality permit by the state Department of Ecology (DOE), prompting members...
Lawmakers investigate Sound Transit 3

Lawmakers investigate Sound Transit 3

Months following a strong public backlash to Sound Transit’s new motor vehicle excise (MVET) tax for ST3, state lawmakers this week commenced formal investigations...
Why small builders could become an endangered species in Seattle

Why small builders could become an endangered species in Seattle

Even as building industry leaders in the Seattle metro area are highlighting the need for land-use reform to reduce housing costs, many small builders...
Northwest dairy shares its unique stake in NAFTA

Northwest dairy shares its unique stake in NAFTA

As the U.S., Canada and Mexico prepare to enter the third round of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) discussions at the end...

Hirst impact study reveals troubling tax implications

A recent economic impact study found that the 2016 Washington Supreme Court decision in Whatcom County v. Eric Hirst will likely increase real estate taxes...
Judge allows think tank to intervene in Seattle’s income tax lawsuit

Judge allows think tank to intervene in Seattle’s income tax lawsuit

A King County Superior Court judge has granted a think tank’s request to help defend the city of Seattle’s progressive income tax that it...
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,...

A moratorium is not the answer to our housing affordability crisis

Over the past 18 months, five King County cities have adopted a building moratorium, temporarily putting the brakes on new home construction. While a moratorium...

Seattle mayoral and city council candidates discuss Seattle housing

Two Seattle mayoral candidates and one city council candidate shared their perspectives this week on hot housing topics in the expanding city, including affordable...
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...

WWU study highlights economic benefits of agribusiness in Whatcom County

As a recent Western Washington University (WWU) study highlights the benefits of agriculture to Whatcom County businesses, one of the study’s authors as well...

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...

Washington’s agricultural industry weighs in on second round of NAFTA reworks

As the second round of discussions regarding changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) wrap up this week, U.S. and Washington representatives...

City of Kenmore downtown development sets example for future Washington municipal projects

As one King County city moves to develop its downtown, developers and city staff are praising the move as a way to attract more...

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...

Spokane rail proposition likely to place taxpayers on hook for legal defense

In July, the majority of the Spokane City Council denied two advisory votes which would have allowed taxpayers to weigh in on how the...
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...

Stakeholders voice concerns over Spokane rail initiative

As the Spokane City Council decides to move a controversial measure to the fall ballot which would fine the transport of certain fossil fuels,...

Public awareness campaign warns voters of Spokane rail proposition

A public awareness campaign has launched to inform Spokane voters of the dangers of approving a proposition to fine rail car owners for transporting...

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...

Workers comp cases need increased state oversight, employers say

After four years of battling a reportedly fraudulent workers’ compensation claim, one Washington construction business has decided to drop the case to avoid further...
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...
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...
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...

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...

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,...
video

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...

Skagit Farmers Relieved Over Clarification of Swinomish Constitutional Amendments

Skagit Valley farmers are praising a recent letter sent by the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) which clarified that amendments to a local...

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 Becomes 5th State to Mandate Paid Family and Medical Leave

10 years after the Washington legislature first approved a framework without a clear plan for implementation, Governor Jay Inslee has signed a bill into...

New Buildable Lands Law Projected to Improve Data, Fill Gaps In State Housing Inventory

Washington homebuilders and realtors are praising a new law that would clarify what land is considered buildable under Growth Management Act (GMA) comprehensive plan...
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...

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...

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...

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...

Homeownership Is Still the Foundation of the American Dream and a Strong Economy

June is National Homeownership Month, which was created with the goal of helping more families achieve the American dream of homeownership. And while buying...

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...
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...
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...
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...
Federal Bill Aims to Energize Agricultural Exports

Federal Bill Aims to Energize Agricultural Exports

In hopes of bolstering American agricultural exports, two U.S. Congressmen this month introduced a bill that would increase market promotion and the ability to...
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...
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...
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...
Lawmakers, Agriculture Community Express Concern Over Findings of Campaign Audit

Lawmakers, Agriculture Community Express Concern Over Findings of Campaign Audit

In the wake of a national audit of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-funded and Washington state-based "What's Upstream” campaign targeting the agriculture community, U.S. lawmakers and state...
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...
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...
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...
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...
Lens LegiTrack Update: May 1, 2017

Lens LegiTrack Update: May 2, 2017

The following article was compiled by the Lens staff. Each week the Lens staff puts together a compilation of bills important to the business community...
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...
Lens LegiTrack Update: May 1, 2017

Lens LegiTrack: April 24, 2017

The following article was compiled by the Lens staff. Each week, the Lens staff puts together a compilation of bills important to the business community...
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...
Potential Inslee Veto Looms Over Green Energy Bill

Potential Inslee Veto Looms Over Green Energy Bill

Washington industry leaders are calling on Governor Jay Inslee to sign a bipartisan bill overwhelmingly approved by the state House and Senate, which they...
Leveling The Playing Field For Manufacturing Businesses

Leveling The Playing Field For Manufacturing Businesses

A new Senate bill would encourage competitiveness and promote job creation for smaller and medium-sized manufacturing businesses by reducing their general business and occupation (B&O) tax rate....
The Fight For Sound Transit Tax Relief

The Fight For Sound Transit Tax Relief

House Democrats have introduced new legislation attempting to address the growing public outcry over new Sound Transit 3 taxes. HB 2148 would allow the...
Bringing Prosperity To All Of Washington

Bringing Prosperity To All Of Washington

The Washington State House on Wednesday, April 12 overwhelming approved a bill allowing counties suffering from economic hardship to sidestep some of the state Growth Management...
Lens LegiTrack Update: May 1, 2017

Lens LegiTrack: April 17, 2017

The following article was compiled by the Lens staff. Each week, the Lens staff puts together a compilation of bills important to the business community...
Connecting Job-Creating Rail Lines

Connecting Job Creators To Shortline Railroads

The Washington state Senate has passed a bipartisan bill that loosens the state Growth Management Act’s (GMA) rural land development restrictions, allowing local governments...
Developing A Small Business Bill Of Rights

Developing A Small Business Bill Of Rights

A bill seeking to equip small business owners with their own bill of rights during state agency inspections has passed both chambers of the Washington...
Clearing the Path To Middle-Skill Careers

Clearing the Path To Middle-Skill Careers

The Washington State House this week approved a measure which would boost recruitment efforts in high-demand industry fields, and fill worker shortages voiced by those...
Restoring Washington State Forestland

Restoring Washington State Forestland

State lawmakers this week unanimously approved two bills directing the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to improve forestland health statewide as part...
Giving Small Businesses Regulatory Relief

Giving Small Businesses Regulatory Relief

Washington State small business employers might soon experience reduced regulatory burdens under a House bill which has now passed both chambers. On Friday, May 7,...
Growing Demand For Sound Transit 3 Tax Reform

Growing Demand For Sound Transit 3 Tax Reform

Intensifying angst among central Puget Sound region drivers over a new motor vehicle excise tax (MVET) to pay for Sound Transit 3 continues to...
Lens LegiTrack Update: May 1, 2017

Lens LegiTrack Update: April 10, 2017

The following article was compiled by the Lens staff. Each week, the Lens staff puts together a compilation of bills important to the business community...
Paving The Way For Top-Notch Physicians

Paving The Way For Top-Notch Physicians

A bill requiring Washington to join an interstate compact offering streamlined physician licenses is well on its way to becoming law. As of Wednesday,...

Fight Over Snake River Dams Continues

Although prospects are bleak for a proposed Senate resolution calling on the federal government to protect the Lower Snake River Dams, the outlook for...
Senate Hirst Bill: It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over

Senate Hirst Bill: It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over

The fight for a potential fix to Hirst isn't over quite yet. Despite SB 5239 failing to receive a vote before the Wednesday, March 29 cutoff for passing...
Luring Major U.S. Export Industry To Washington

Luring Major U.S. Export Industry To Washington

In 2016, the semiconductor manufacturing industry exported $43.1 billion worth of product, making it the third most lucrative U.S. export. A new report by...
Making Washington More Appealing For Manufacturing

Making Washington More Appealing For Manufacturing

A Senate bill making its way through the Washington State Legislature aims to attract more manufacturing companies to move to the state and incentivize those...
House Budget Funding Bill Faces Uncertain Future

House Budget Funding Bill Faces Uncertain Future

With the state House proposed 2017-19 operating budget approved last week, eyes are now fixed on legislation needed to fund it. HB 2186 received...
Creating a Balanced Wildfire Prevention Strategy

Creating a Balanced Wildfire Prevention Strategy

In a legislative session defined by political divisions over tax proposals and funding basic education, Washington state lawmakers have seemingly found agreement in one...
Lens LegiTrack Update: May 1, 2017

Lens LegiTrack Update: April 3, 2017

The following article was compiled by the Lens staff. Each week, the Lens staff puts together a compilation of bills important to the business community,...
Placing Guard Rails On Sound Transit's Budget

Placing Guard Rails On Sound Transit’s Budget

Sound Transit recently found that building the light rail extension from downtown Seattle across on the Interstate 90 Bridge to Bellevue will cost $712...
Opinions Still Clashing Over Hist Decision Bill

Opinions Still Clashing Over Hirst Decision Bill

A proposed legislative fix to the October 2016 Washington State Supreme Court "Hirst" ruling drew attention this week from state bankers, realtors, building sector businesses, and Native American tribe...
Promoting Timely Completion Of Development Projects

Removing Bureaucratic Roadblocks To Economic Development

A Senate bill now making its rounds in the House might finally improve Washington's lengthy permitting process and save project leaders headache. That is according to...

Bi-State Bridge Proposal Spans Political Ravines

Legislation aiming to renew inter-state talks for replacing the Interstate 5 Bridge appears on the cusp of bicameral approval. This week SB 5806 was...
Battle Of The State Budgets Begins

Battle Of The State Budgets Begins

House Democrats have released their proposed 2017-19 operating budget that includes over $7 billion in increased basic education spending over four years and a...
Lens LegiTrack Update: May 1, 2017

Lens LegiTrack Update: March 27, 2017

The following article was compiled by the Lens staff. Each week, the Lens staff puts together a compilation of bills important to the business community,...
Uncovering Natural Resource Sector Career Paths

Uncovering Natural Resource Sector Job Opportunities

This week, the Washington State House Higher Education Committee passed a workforce study bill to better align the state's teachers with the workforce needs...
Lawmakers Seek To Reduce Resident Energy Bills

Lawmakers Seek To Reduce Resident Energy Bills

A bipartisan group of state lawmakers