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TJ Martinell

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TJ Martinell has five-plus years of news reporting experience, and has worked as an SEO specialist. He is a graduate of Eastern Washington University.
Shell game with carbon tax revenue

Shell game with carbon tax revenue

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

Expanding Washington’s housing supply

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

Iron workers union opposes carbon tax

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

While economy booms, forecasters strike measured tone

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

Whale task force may punt on dams

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

No capital gains tax “selling point” for Washington

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

The hidden cost of K-12 pay raises

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

Treading lightly on tax reform

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

Do carbon taxes work?

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

Utilities warn of “pancaking” carbon proposals

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

Will higher rec fees fly?

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

Blending science, policy on dams

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

Lower temps cool wildfire season

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

Tariffs and Washington’s economic outlook

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

Catching up with growing guest worker demand

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

Orca recovery: More Chinook needed

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

Making schools start on time

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

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

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

Fighting fire with fire

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

Washington’s latest economic outlook

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

Truckers: Carbon tax will raise prices everywhere

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

Driver shortage extends beyond trucking industry

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

Wildfires lead to hazardous air conditions

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

The price of a carbon tax

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

Fish and Wildlife pause on fee hikes

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

Lower Snake River dams eyed in orca recovery

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

Ruling upholds preemptive raid on rainy day fund

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

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

Washington wildfire season intensifies

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

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...
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...
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...
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...

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