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TJ Martinell

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TJ Martinell is a native Washingtonian and award-winning journalist. Born and raised in Bellevue, he’s been involved in the news industry since working at his high school newspaper. His investigative reporting for various community newspapers in the Puget Sound region has been recognized by the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association and the Society for Professional Journalists. A graduate of Eastern Washington University, he has a B.A. in journalism and was the news editor of EWU’s student university newspaper.
State revenue projected to climb

State revenue projected to climb

Washington state can expect another two years of increased revenue, according to a new report from the state Economic and Revenue Forecast Council (ERFC)....
Lawsuit challenges “title-only” bills

Lawsuit challenges “title-only” bills

In the last days of this year’s legislative session, state lawmakers – without any prior discussion – introduced and passed a new tax on...
Forest stakeholders: Science should inform water typing rule

Forest stakeholders: Science should inform water typing rule

The state Forest Practices Board for 20 years has been working on a water typing rule that determines where fish habitat protected by state...
: Do Washingtonians “own” their income?

Do Washingtonians “own” their income?

A Washington Supreme Court ruling last week involving a city of Seattle rental ordinance overturned a century of property case law. Now, the city...
Building blocks for new I-5 Bridge

Building blocks for new I-5 Bridge

Talks between Washington and Oregon state lawmakers have finally begun on a replacement or alternative to the Interstate 5 Bridge spanning the Columbia River...
Foresters cry “end run” around harvest plan

Foresters cry “end run” around harvest plan

The Washington Farm Forestry Association (WFFA) for more than four years has been working with the state on its alternative harvest proposal for small...
USMCA could “soften rough edges” on trade

USMCA could “soften rough edges” on trade

President Trump a year ago announced plans to withdraw from the North American Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between Canada and Mexico. Now, Congress is under...
Voters reject new REET tax

Voters reject new REET tax

If the outcome of Nov. 5 election’s advisory votes are any indication, Washington voters have little stomach for new taxes – of the 12...
Washington’s timber sales backlog

Washington’s timber sales backlog

Washington state currently manages 2.1 million acres of working forest state trust land, and that responsibility carries with it a legal mandate to generate...
Stakeholders: Put the brakes on conservation plan

Stakeholders: Put the brakes on conservation plan

As the state Board of Natural Resources (BNR) prepares to vote next month on a habitat conservation plan (HCP) for the endangered marbled murrelet,...
State economy holds steady amid recession talk

State economy holds steady amid recession talk

The latest forecast from the state Economic and Revenue Forecast Council (ERFC) shows that Washington’s economy is holding steady despite increased talk of a...
Bellingham climate action proposal could cost homeowners big

Bellingham climate action proposal could cost homeowners big

The state legislature this year passed a law requiring that Washington utility providers convert to 100 percent carbon-neutral energy by 2035. Now, the city...
“Horror franchise” of income tax efforts lives on

“Horror franchise” of income tax efforts lives on

In an eerily pithy decision, the Court of Appeals rejected without further elaboration a request by plaintiffs to reconsider its decision regarding the city...
EPA to clarify “Waters of the United States”

EPA to clarify “Waters of the United States”

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2015 adopted a rule regarding “Waters of the United States” that determines what bodies of water are subject...
“Politics on steroids”: The fight over water quality standards

“Politics on steroids”: The fight over water quality standards

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last month closed the public comment period for a proposed withdrawal of its water quality standards for Washington state,...
“Complete rewrite” for forest action plan

“Complete rewrite” for forest action plan

Now that the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has assessed the health of eastern Washington forestland, State Forester George Geissler says it’s time...
Puget Sound LCFS could add $.57 to gas prices

Puget Sound LCFS could add $.57 to gas prices

After its failed efforts to impose a low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) across the state  during the last two legislative sessions,  the Puget Sound...
Commission approves driverless car recommendations

Commission approves driverless car recommendations

The Washington State Transportation Commission (WTSC) next month will submit a report to Governor Jay Inslee and the state legislature regarding the testing and...
Sound Transit car tab fee injunction denied

Sound Transit car tab fee injunction denied

A Pierce County Superior Court judge has denied an injunction request preventing Sound Transit from collecting any more of its motor vehicle excise tax...
Labor, trade issues continue to hurt Washington farmers

Labor, trade issues continue to hurt Washington farmers

While trade disputes and labor costs continue to affect Washington agriculture, Wenatchee-based McDougall & Sons, Inc. co-owner Scott McDougall says the situation could get...
Crossroads ahead for road usage charge

Crossroads ahead for road usage charge

The Washington State Transportation Commission (WSTC) in December will deliver a report to the legislature outlining recommendations on a road user charge (RUC) fee....
Local road funds off track

Local road funds off track

Washington State Department of Transportation officials have recently described their $700 million annual funding gap as a “glidepath toward failure.” Now, a Joint Transportation...
Farmers: Flawed EPA study puts family farming at risk

Farmers: Flawed EPA study puts family farming at risk

Washington family dairy farmers are calling on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to conduct a scientific review of its 2013 study claiming dairy farmers...
Tourism: Marketing Washington’s appeal

Tourism: Marketing Washington’s appeal

After seven years as the only state with no tourism agency, the state legislature in 2018 revamped those efforts by creating the Washington Tourism...
Restructured excise tax could harm business, development

Restructured excise tax could harm business, development

In a move that has stakeholders raising red flags about business investment in Washington and housing affordability, the state legislature earlier this year approved...
Tour highlights state’s manufacturing sector

Tour highlights state’s manufacturing sector

The state of Washington’s manufacturers has gained the renewed attention of state lawmakers and business groups interested in the sector’s long-term health, and the...
Despite mildest wildfire season in years, stakeholders urge caution

Despite mildest wildfire season in years, stakeholders urge caution

Although the final tally has yet to be made, this year’s wildfire season in Washington state is likely to be the mildest in terms...
Plaintiffs target Sound Move car tab

Plaintiffs target Sound Move car tab

Now that Sound Transit has rejected a settlement offer in a lawsuit filed against its ST3 motor vehicle excise tax (MVET), the plaintiffs want...
Pension council rejects lower growth assumptions

Pension council rejects lower growth assumptions

In a 3-3 vote, the state Pension Funding Council rejected a motion at a Sept. 30 meeting to lower the assumed rate of return...
Growth may not signal prosperity, planner cautions

Growth may not signal prosperity, planner cautions

With an economy that continues to outperform the rest of the country, Washington appears to be prospering. According to the latest report by the...
Committee prepares recommendations on “no man’s land”

Committee prepares recommendations on “no man’s land”

The state Wildland Fire Advisory Committee will vote next month on recommendations for the state legislature to consider on how to address “no man’s...
Seattle “all over the place”: Income isn’t money

Seattle “all over the place”: Income isn’t money

Throughout the two-year court fight over Seattle’s income tax ordinance, the city has argued that the tax doesn’t violate the state constitution or state...
Rent control could prompt housing shortage

Rent control could prompt housing shortage

The average monthly rent for an apartment in Seattle is $2,130, a three percent increase from 2018, according to Rent Café. In July 2016,...
Ecology proposes new spill limits for dams

Ecology proposes new spill limits for dams

The state Department of Ecology is proposing to increase the maximum amount of water that can be spilled over the lower Columbia and Snake...
Crafting smart state tax policy

Crafting smart state tax policy

Tax policy analysts featured at the Association of Washington Business 2019 Policy Summit on Sept. 18 agree on one thing: the state tax code...
WSDOT: State transportation system on “glidepath to failure”

WSDOT: State transportation system on “glidepath to failure”

Beginning in the 2021-23 biennium, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) will no longer pave highway ramps or sections of the freeway where...
Chelan PUD voices support for Snake River dams

Chelan PUD voices support for Snake River dams

The Chelan PUD commissioners this week voted unanimously in favor of a resolution opposing the removal of eight dams on the lower Snake River....
Trade war slows freight activity

Trade war slows freight activity

The ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China has put the damper on freight activity – not just for Washington state but across...
Capital gains income tax proposals loom next session

Capital gains income tax proposals loom next session

This year’s legislative session saw several unsuccessful proposals to enact a capital gains income tax. Comments made by lawmakers at a Sept. 13 House...
Plaintiffs warn of "grave financial for Sound Transit," offer settlement

Plaintiffs warn of “grave financial doom for Sound Transit,” offer settlement

Just days after the State Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a lawsuit against Sound Transit’s ST3 motor vehicle excise tax (MVET), the plaintiffs...
Planners should rethink growth strategies, says Strong Towns advocate

Planners should rethink growth strategies, says Strong Towns advocate

By 2040, Washington state is estimated to have a population of almost 9 million residents; that’s an increase of 1.4 million from its current...
Sound Transit fumbles facts with vehicle tax

Sound Transit fumbles facts with vehicle tax

An unexpected wrench has been thrown into the cogs of Sound Transit’s legal defense of its new motor vehicle excise tax (MVET) as part...
Stakeholders to weigh in on Snake River dam removal

Stakeholders to weigh in on Snake River dam removal

As the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USAE), U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) continue work on a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)...
State economy gets clean bill of health

State economy gets clean bill of health

Just weeks after Moody’s Financial Service upgraded Washington’s general bond credit rating to its highest ever, a new report by the state Economic and...
County in “unchartered territory” with collective bargaining ruling

County in “uncharted territory” with collective bargaining ruling

The Lincoln County Commissioners in 2016 voted to open collective bargaining negotiations with union leaders to the public. Three years later, the county is...
Auditor: Inspections delinquent for thousands of elevators

Auditor: Inspections delinquent for thousands of elevators

A new report by State Auditor Pat McCarthy has revealed that the state Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) is years behind on thousands...
Legislature sues Inslee over one-sentence veto

Legislature sues Inslee over one-sentence veto

This legislative session Governor Jay Inslee vetoed a single sentence in the 2019-21 transportation budget related to transit grant funding and appropriated $175 million...
Court asked to reconsider income tax ruling

Court asked to reconsider income tax ruling

The Washington State Division 1 of the Court of Appeals issued a ruling on the city of Seattle’s income tax ordinance that declared the...
The ingredients for a severe wildfire season

The ingredients for a severe wildfire season

While Washington’s wildfire season is far from over, so far it has proved to be considerably less severe than in recent years. As of...
Washington gets historic credit rating bump

Washington gets historic credit rating bump

Moody’s Investor Service has announced that it has raised the rating of Washington state's outstanding obligation bonds from an AA1 to a AAA in...
Japanese legislators hear from Washington foresters

Japanese legislators hear from Washington foresters

Looking to improve their country’s struggling forestry industry, congressmen from Hyogo Prefectural Assembly’s Forestry Development Committee in Japan have turned to Washington foresters such...

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