Stakeholders warn against GMA amendments, “tone deaf” reform process

Stakeholders warn against GMA amendments, “tone deaf” reform process

For years, a variety of stakeholders including builders, housing organizations, and local government advocates have emphasized the need for changes to the state Growth...
Cybersecurity for the 2021 legislative session

Cybersecurity for the 2021 legislative session

Plans to convene the 2021 legislation session remotely raise not only issues regarding transparency and government accountability but also the risks of hacking and...
Grocers grapple with shopper’ frustration over restrictions

Grocers grapple with shopper frustration over restrictions

Although independent grocers have been deemed essential and allowed to remain open throughout Governor Jay Inslee’s statewide restrictions that have been in place for...
State revenue remains historically high amid shutdown

State revenue remains historically high amid shutdown

While many Washington businesses struggle to remain financially afloat amid newly imposed restrictions by Governor Jay Inslee, the state is still expected to receive...
“Chilling effect”: Eviction moratorium strains small landlords

“Chilling effect”: Eviction moratorium strains small landlords

As Governor Jay Inslee contemplates possible changes to his eviction moratorium amid a legal challenge to it, some property rights advocates warn that the...
Fish habitat buffer rule unlikely for 2021

Fish habitat buffer rule unlikely for 2021

For almost 20 years the state has used an interim rule created after the 1999 Forests and Fish Law to establish fish habitat buffers...
Organizations see opportunity with virtual conferences

Organizations see opportunity with virtual conferences

Although the concept of online meetings and conferences isn’t new, the COVID-19 restrictions imposed in Washington since late March have forced state organizations and...
Capital gains tax, LCFS within reach next session

Capital gains tax, LCFS within reach next session

Democrat lawmakers and Governor Jay Inslee for years have sought to enact a variety of tax and regulatory proposals that have failed due to...
Washington’s mixed economy recovery

Washington’s mixed economy recovery

Washington’s economy continues to recover from historically high unemployment and revenue decreases earlier this year, though that recovery is inconsistent across industry sectors. The...
Landlords sue over eviction ban

Landlords sue over eviction ban

Under Governor Jay Inslee’s eviction moratorium that was extended last month through the remainder of 2020, landlords are prohibited from evicting tenants for failure...
Work group examines feasibility of universal health care

Work group examines feasibility of universal health care

The state Health Care Exchange last month approved new “Cascade Care” health plans under a state law approved last year that sought to address...
Aerospace stakeholders contemplate path to recovery

Aerospace stakeholders contemplate path to recovery

Washington state’s aerospace industry has certainly seen better years than 2020. In addition to the economic shutdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic all...
New WPC study challenges Cascadia high-speed rail feasibility

New WPC study challenges Cascadia high-speed rail feasibility

Proponents of a proposed public-private partnership (P3) Cascadia high-speed rail line from Vancouver, B.C. to Portland, Ore. contend that the project could improve regional...
Commission may push for small airport loan extension

Commission may push for small airport loan extension

The state Commercial Aviation Coordinating Commission (CACC) created by the state legislature in 2019 is tasked with developing a plan to meet Washington’s freight...
The economic shutdown and transportation revenue

The economic shutdown and transportation revenue

Prior to its defeat via a State Supreme Court decision, Initiative 976 would have reduced Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) revenue by $421...
How GMA could help – or hurt – housing crisis

How GMA could help – or hurt – housing crisis

After decades of planning under the state Growth Management Act (GMA), a significant number of builders, housing advocates, and state lawmakers believe the law...
bus stop

Existing sales tax revenue sufficient for Metro bus service

If Seattle voters want to preserve bus service and believe a sales tax hike is needed to do that, they should take a moment...
Historic Seattle rail bridge will remain, with repairs

Historic Seattle rail bridge will remain, with repairs

Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) has announced it will repair the Salmon Bay Rail Bridge near the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks in Seattle’s Ballard...
I-976 struck down as panel mulls new transportation taxes

I-976 struck down as panel mulls new transportation taxes

The release of the Washington State Supreme Court decision striking down Initiative 976 that was approved by voters last November seems appropriately timed –...
Unemployment tax hike will harm already struggling businesses

Unemployment tax hike will harm already struggling businesses

After a year of historic layoffs and unemployment claims that threatened to bankrupt the state Unemployment Trust Fund, businesses that managed to survive could...
Work group may favor “gradual” approach to single-payer health care

Work group may favor “gradual” approach to single-payer health care

The state Universal Health Care Work Group is working on a new report update for the state legislature outlining end goals to pursue, ultimately...
COVID-19 and the role of telehealth

COVID-19 and the role of telehealth

The state legislature since 2015 has explored the concept of telemedicine – i part to improve healthcare access for rural communities. With the onset...
Tourism industry could take years to recover from shutdown

Tourism industry could take years to recover from shutdown

Washington’s tourism industry continues to struggle amid the state’s economic shutdown in response to COVID-19, with the effects felt in both urban and rural...
Whatcom County may restart Cherry Point regulatory work

Whatcom County may restart Cherry Point regulatory work

For more than four years the Whatcom County Council has explored reregulating the Cherry Point industrial area, already one of the most regulated and...
Transparency, civic engagement, logistics considerations as Legislature goes virtual

Implications for public safety, business community in 5th District Senate race

Discussions in recent months regarding law enforcement funding have also highlighted the role public safety professionals play in fostering and protecting a healthy business...
Housing as “critical infrastructure”

Housing as “critical infrastructure”

The state Growth Management Act (GMA) remains a primary focus for stakeholders who are trying to address Washington state’s housing shortage and lack of...
Will future RUC revenue be protected?

Will future RUC revenue be protected?

The Washington State Transportation Commission (WSTC) for eight years has studied the concept of a road usage charge (RUC) in which drivers pay a...
Private ferry route may replace WSDOT service

Private ferry route may replace WSDOT service

While King County looks at ferry service across Lake Washington, the state Joint Transportation Committee (JTC) is exploring the idea of a private ferry...
“Uphill” battle remains for single-payer healthcare work

“Uphill” battle remains for single-payer healthcare work

For more than a year a state work group has explored the idea of a universal healthcare system in Washington state with forthcoming recommendations...
Defining “public use” for broadband

Defining “public use” for broadband

The legislature last year enacted a law creating the State Broadband Office (SBO) within the state Department of Commerce to expand access to all...
Analyst says healthcare system “at crossroads”

Analyst says healthcare system “at crossroads”

Within the debate over healthcare reform in the U.S. are conflicting philosophies regarding how the system should operate and who ultimately should make health...
Washington’s budget woes

Washington’s budget woes

State lawmakers since May have been calling for a special session to address a significant operating budget revenue shortfall for the current biennium. Framing...
PSE signs agreement for new Oregon wind farm

PSE signs agreement for new Oregon wind farm

Puget Sound Energy (PSE) has signed a new agreement with Portland-based Avangrid Renewables to build a 28,000 acre wind farm in north central Oregon...
King County GHG goal, policy “disconnect”

King County GHG goal, policy “disconnect”

A criticism often leveled against government environmental efforts is the disconnect between climate goals and what is actually achieved. Washington state and local governments...
The politics of transportation revenue

The politics of transportation revenue

The Statewide Transportation Needs Assessment Advisory Panel is looking at potential new taxes or fees to aid an underfunded system throughout Washington state, and...
GMA’s top-down approach to housing could intensify

GMA’s top-down approach to housing could intensify

Since the early 1990s the state Growth Management Act (GMA) has directed regional and local zoning policy regarding economic development and housing to prevent...
Seattle’s spending priorities matter to businesses large and small

Seattle’s spending priorities matter to businesses large and small

The Seattle City Council last month passed a new payroll tax intended to help plug shortfalls in the city budget, and there’s a strong...
New legal precedent set for public pension policy

New legal precedent set for public pension policy

The Washington Pension Funding Council recently voted to maintain a 7.5 percent assumed rate of growth for pension investments to ease financial pressure on...
Trucking’s future role in RUC program

Trucking’s future role in RUC program

Although the trucking industry isn’t included in Washington state’s ongoing exploration of a road usage charge (RUC) program as an eventual replacement for the...
Budget cuts could undermine hatchery production

Budget cuts could undermine hatchery production

After years of trying to reestablish its pre-Great Recession funding levels, the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is looking at potential...
I-5 Bridge talks remain cautious

I-5 Bridge talks remain cautious

More than two years after the Washington state legislature created an interstate committee to restart the I-5 Bridge replacement process, the political fallout from...
shopping cart

Helping small businesses pivot to digital

As small businesses throughout Washington adjust to the challenges presented by the evolving regulations regarding COVID 19, it has become increasingly clear that in...
Pension council rejects lower growth assumptions

Pension council rejects lower growth assumptions

The Pension Funding Council voted 4-2 at its July 29 meeting to keep a 7.5 percent assumed rate of growth for investments a week...
State tourism branding efforts complicated by pandemic

State tourism branding efforts complicated by pandemic

The state economic shutdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic has only complicated efforts by the Washington Tourism Marketing Authority (WTMA) to promote the...
Could JBLM relocate to accommodate a future airport?

Could JBLM relocate to accommodate a future airport?

The Washington State Department of Transportation’s (WSDOT) Aviation Coordination Commission over the next two years must come up with several potential locations for a...
Unfunded liability drops as committee recommends lower pension rates

Unfunded liability drops as committee recommends lower pension rates

The state Select Committee on Pension Policy has voted to lower the assumed rate of return for the state’s public pension investments from 7.5...
Is single payer health care a nonstarter?

Is single payer health care a nonstarter?

Although Washington state’s Universal Health Care Work Group has yet to make formal recommendations to the state legislature on how to implement a single...
Seattle City Council approves new payroll tax

Seattle City Council approves new payroll tax

Just over two years after passing and repealing a job tax ordinance, the Seattle City Council voted at a July 6 meeting in favor...
High court to decide I-976 fate

High court to decide I-976 fate

The state Supreme Court will decide the fate of Initiative 976 sponsored by Tim Eyman, following oral arguments at a June 30 hearing and...
Study: Rent control would wipe out year’s worth of housing

Study: Rent control would wipe out year’s worth of housing

In recent years, efforts at both the local and state levels have been made to restrict control of rental property by landlords. A proposal...
EPA draft rule could undermine lower Snake River dam operations

EPA draft rule could undermine lower Snake River dam operations

While a new environmental impact statement (EIS) by three government agencies operating the lower Snake River dams opposes breaching them to aid salmon recovery,...

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