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...

Inslee Seeks Tax Hike For Environment Fund

Governor Jay Inslee in his 2017-19 capital budget is proposing to raise Washington's Hazardous Substances Tax (HST), to bring revenue for the Model Toxics...
Washington Industry Urges Caution With Proposed Data Broker Tax

Washington Industry Urges Caution With Personal Data Sales Tax

Annual sales of personal information in the United States now exceeds $300 billion. Some state lawmakers want to tax those transactions when they involve...
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...
New tax to pay for wildfires?

New tax to pay for wildfires?

Since 2009, the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has spent more than $700 million fighting wildfires. Sen. Kevin Van De Wege (D-24) and...

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...
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...
Seattle's Traffic Woes Require More Focus, Say Major Employers

Seattle’s Traffic Woes Require More Focus, Say Major Employers

Seattle region transit backers last weekend celebrated the extension of Sound Transit's light rail system from downtown north to the University District, and state...

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...
Economic Lubricants Would Get Blow-Dried

Economic Lubricants Would Get Blow-Dried

Where one may see a tax preference, another may construe a tax incentive. Washington retailers, distributors, service providers and financial institutions through current state tax...
New Carbon Tax Proposal Under Fire By Washington Manufacturers

New Carbon Tax Proposal Under Fire By Washington Manufacturers

House Democrats have proposed a new carbon tax they say addresses criticisms leveled against similar proposals that have failed to garner legislative or voter...
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...
Senate passes vape tax

Senate passes vape tax

The Washington Senate on April 23 voted 35-13 in favor of a bill that taxes vaping products, also known as e-cigarettes. SB 5986 has...
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...
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...
Two Starkly Different Visions For K-12

Two Starkly Different Visions For K-12

At a hearing of the Senate Ways and Means Committee Monday, January 30, lawmakers further staked out their ground in what will be protracted...
Sound Transit 3 Blemishes Spotlighted

Sound Transit 3 Benefits Questioned

Sound Transit 3 envisions light rail as the agency's primary transportation mode in the Puget Sound region by 2050. Some policy experts and business...
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...
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,...

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...
Roads: The New Utility

Roads: The New Utility

Washington's gas tax was finally raised again last year by lawmakers as part of a 16-year, $16 billion transportation funding package for roads, transit...
Business owners concerned over income tax proposal

Business owners concerned over income tax proposal

The latest effort this legislative session to enact a capital gains income tax via HB 2156 as part of the House 2019-21 operating budget...
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....
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...
Senate passes $52.2 billion operating budget

Senate passes $52.2 billion operating budget

The Washington Senate on April 4 voted 31-17 to approve a $52.2 billion 2019-21 operating budget. Although state senators approved a version of ESHB...
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...
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....
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...
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...
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...

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...
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...
Tax Climate At Ports: Changes Needed?

Tax Climate At Ports: Changes Needed?

Competition for container ships and their cargo traffic is growing, and the ports of Tacoma and Seattle know they can't stand still. East Asian...
Casting for fish barrier removal funds

Casting for fish barrier removal funds

Now that the legislature has satisfied the State Supreme Court’s McCleary order, it now faces another court order to remove hundreds of fish barriers...
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...
To reform (or not) Washington’s tax system

To reform (or not) Washington’s tax system

If there’s agreement among policy wonks that Washington’s tax code needs to change, there’s equal disagreement over the nuances of that discussion and what...

Stage Set For Two State Budget Battles

The Washington legislature already faces a projected $2.6 billion deficit for the 2019-21 biennial budget, as it digs in this coming January to fashion...
State Pension Fund Merger Gains Eyed

State Pension Fund Merger Gains Eyed

Merging two of Washington State’s eight public employee pension systems could save taxpayers almost $2 billion over the next 25 years, without reducing pension...
Cracking The Code To More K-12 Computer Science In Washington State

Cracking The Code To More K-12 Computer Science In Washington State

Demand for computer science jobs in Washington is three times greater than for all other jobs combined. Average starting pay in the state is...
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...
Bryant, Inslee Differ On Education, Taxes, and Carbon Cap Rule

Bryant, Inslee Differ On Education, Taxes, and Carbon Cap Rule

In a debate hosted by Seattle University this week, Washington Governor Jay Inslee, a Democrat, and Republican challenger Bill Bryant outlined disparate visions for the...
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...
Swapping sales tax exemption for a refund: Will it work?

Swapping sales tax exemption for a refund: Will it work?

An upcoming change to the state sales tax exemption for nonresidents and the reaction by different business entities reflect the diversity of Washington’s economic...
Lawmakers approve tax exemption extension

Lawmakers approve tax exemption extension

While Washington state lawmakers have approved a list of new taxes as part of the 2019-21 operating budget, one industry managed to receive a...
Washington’s economy remains steady

Washington’s economy remains steady

Washington’s economy continues to outperform the nation and pad state coffers – tade disputes between the U.S. and countries like China notwithstanding. The latest...

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...
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....
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...
Stakeholder: Legislative run on banks sends “chilling message”

Stakeholder: Legislative run on banks sends “chilling message”

Now that the state legislature has approved a bill imposing a new tax on financial institutions, Washington bankers are scrambling to find out what’s...

Questions remain with AWC brief

Following the submittal of an amicus brief by the Association of Washington Cities (AWC) defending the city of Seattle’s authority to impose a local...
Should Washington keep aerospace tax incentives?

Should Washington keep aerospace tax incentives?

In 2003, the state legislature approved a package of tax incentives related to the aerospace industry to ensure Boeing would produce its 787 in...

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