Builders say construction is “essential activity”

Builders say construction is “essential activity”

Governor Jay Inslee on March 23 issued a “shelter-in-place” order closing all non-essential business activity in the state, including construction work. Builders are now...
TVW marks silver anniversary of “gavel-to-gavel” legislative coverage

TVW marks silver anniversary of “gavel-to-gavel” legislative coverage

During Washington’s 1995 state legislature session, committee meetings and floor debates were broadcast live for the first time by TVW – a “C-SPAN” for...
city bus

Transit agencies should reduce service, promote safer options during COVID-19 outbreak

The global COVID-19 outbreak is an unexpected shock to our way of life. Federal and local governments are implementing strict “social distancing” measures that,...
Panic purchases can create shortage illusion

Panic purchases can create shortage illusion

As is now well recognized in communities throughout the state, the COVID-19 outbreak and response has provoked panic purchases by Washington consumers of items...
Coronavirus hits Washington tourism sector

Coronavirus hits Washington tourism sector

Telling people to stay away is not an appealing prospect for most business organizations and governments that depend on tourist dollars to survive. But that...
Industry responds with resources

Industry responds with resources

In response to the coronavirus causing COVID-19, industry leaders throughout the state are mobilizing communications channels to provide resources and issue guidance for both...
Treasurer asks Inslee to veto state bank study

Treasurer asks Inslee to veto state bank study

The state legislature has spent $650,000 in the past three years studying the concept of a state bank. If signed by Governor Jay Inslee,...
As economic activity shifts, recession questions emerge

As economic activity shifts, recession questions emerge

The recent statewide shift in major economic activity due to the coronavirus causing COVID-19 is raising questions about a possible recession, and events of...
Truckers continue to operate, though struggling

Truckers continue to operate, though struggling

With the statewide temporary closure by Governor Jay Inslee of some stores, restaurants, bars, and recreational facilities, coupled with the telecommuting by employees of...
Amid uncertainty, lawmakers finalize operating budget

Amid uncertainty and despite some objection, lawmakers finalize operating budget

The state legislature voted to approve a final 2020 supplemental budget that adds just under $1 billion in new spending for the 2019-2021 biennium,...
Aerospace tax bill passes legislature

Aerospace tax bill passes legislature

The state legislature has passed SB 6690, a measure that removes aerospace industry tax incentives in order to avoid possible retaliatory tariffs. The bill...
Bill increases state aid to local infrastructure improvement

Bill increases state aid to local infrastructure improvement

The state legislature could pass a bill increasing state contributions to a local government financing program intended to improve infrastructure needed for economic development....
Bill allows sports gambling on tribal lands, excludes card-room casinos

Bill allows sports gambling on tribal lands, excludes card-room casinos

A House bill allowing sports gambling on tribal lands has cleared the legislature after a 2018 U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decision ruled that states...
Drought bill clears legislature

Drought bill clears legislature

A measure to improve the state’s response to drought that was introduced last year has finally cleared the legislature following several work sessions last...
Making Washington airports self-sustaining

Making Washington airports self-sustaining

The state legislature two years ago approved an aviation loan program to improve community airport infrastructure, and now, legislators are taking a second run...
New Clean Air Rule proposal could be costly for consumers

New Clean Air Rule proposal could be costly for consumers

While scores of truckers, loggers and other stakeholders testified this week against ESHB 1110 which would create a low carbon fuel standard (LCFS), its...
New operating budget adds $1.5 billion in new spending

New operating budget adds over $1 billion in new spending

The state legislature swiftly approved the Senate’s proposed 2020 supplemental operating budget just days after both it and the House version were released. SB...
GMA reform: To wait – or not

GMA reform: To wait – or not

Stakeholders are divided over whether state lawmakers should pass HB 2342 sponsored by Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (D-34) or wait until a possible Growth Management...
Tax incentive bill reveals economic ties

Tax incentive bill reveals economic ties

The state legislature in 2003 enacted several tax incentives for aerospace manufacturers such as the Boeing. In a strange turn of events, the company...
Washington’s future in “final frontier” economy

Washington’s future in “final frontier” economy

State lawmakers in recent years have monitored the emerging private space economy developing in Washington state, and while previous proposals have struggled to take...
Lawmakers and LCFS: ‘Let’s make a deal’

Lawmakers and LCFS: ‘Let’s make a deal’

In the ongoing push to implement a low carbon fuel standard (LCFS), more than 30 House Democrats last week cosigned a letter stating that...
No additional tax increases – or cuts – in budget proposals

No additional tax increases – or cuts – in budget proposals

The state House and Senate operating budget proposals released Feb. 24 call for no additional taxes outside of the business and occupation tax increase...
Some emotions run high with new climate proposal

Some emotions run high with new climate proposal

The emotional temperature in Olympia ran high in some quarters during and after a public hearing of the Senate Environment, Energy & Technology Committee...
How electric cars could affect state grid

How electric cars could affect state grid

A bill introduced this session would require all new cars sold starting in 2030 to be electric vehicles (EV). Although the legislation failed to...
houses

You can’t make housing more affordable by making it more expensive

I’ve been a builder for 17 years and have seen many changes in our industry, good, bad, and those with unintended consequences; one of...
Angling for LCFS policy continues

Angling for LCFS policy continues

Although a low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) bill reintroduced from last session and passed by the state House appears to be going nowhere in...
Hefty bank tax stands as judge upholds title-only bills

Hefty bank tax stands as judge upholds title-only bills

This legislative session three bills proposing to end the use of title-only legislation failed to clear their original committees prior to the cutoff date....
High court upholds ST3 car tab tax

High court upholds ST3 car tab tax

The Washington State Supreme Court ruled this week in a 7-2 decision that a provision in a 2015 state law authorizing the ST3 motor...
Bill proposes driverless car regulations

Bill proposes driverless car regulations

A bill to implement some recommendations made last year by the Washington State Transportation Commission (WSTC) regarding autonomous vehicles (AV) cleared the House Transportation...
Bill requires all new cars sold be electric by 2030

Bill requires all new cars sold be electric by 2030

With a state law mandating that Washington utilities provide 100 percent carbon-neutral energy by 2035, a House bill sponsored by Rep. Nicole Macri (D-43)...
Is a measure of car tab relief on its way?

Is a measure of car tab relief on its way?

The Senate Transportation Committee has cleared a bill backed by key Senate Democrat leaders that would alter the way Sound Transit calculates its motor...
RUC bill clears Transportation Committee

RUC bill clears Transportation Committee

SB 6586, a measure sponsored by Senate Transportation Vice Chair Rebecca Saldaña (D-37) that creates a road usage charge (RUC) program for electric and...
Amid warnings of hit to business community, B&O tax clears legislature

Amid warnings of hit to business community, B&O tax clears legislature

The state House voted 52-45 on Feb. 6 in favor of SB 6492 creating a new set of business and occupation (B&O) taxes and...
Bill would shorten building permit deadlines

Bill would shorten building permit deadlines

As the debate continues over how best to address the cost of housing, building industry stakeholders say that along with housing impact fees, another...
Pierce County’s ‘Trexit’ from ST3

Pierce County’s ‘Trexit’ from ST3

Pierce County voters in 2016 voted by 55 percent in opposition to the $54 billion ST3 transit and light rail tax package. In November,...
Lawsuit drives I-976 proposals

Lawsuit drives I-976 proposals

Three bills introduced in the state Senate would codify into law most of Initiative 976 approved by 53 percent of voters in November. Driving...
Another run at jobs tax

Another run at jobs tax

Almost two years after opposing a job tax in Seattle that later was rescinded by the City Council with another local business tax possible,...
&O tax shuffle gets mixed reviews

B&O tax shuffle gets mixed reviews

The state legislature last year enacted E2SHB 2158, which imposes the business and occupation (B&O) tax surcharge on certain businesses to pay for higher education...
GMA reform bill lands public hearing

GMA reform bill lands public hearing

One of the ways policymakers have sought to address the state’s housing crisis is by reforming provisions of the state Growth Management Act (GMA)...
Debate continues over road usage charge

Debate continues over road usage charge

Although state gas tax revenue used to fund state highways has remained stable, state lawmakers behind SB 6586 say now is the time to...
LCFS proposal “destroys our competitiveness”

LCFS proposal “destroys our competitiveness”

The state House has voted 52-44 in favor of a low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) program via HB 1110; introduced last year and at...
State bank bill revived

State bank bill revived

In recent legislative sessions Majority Caucus Vice Chair Bob Hasegawa (D-11) has pushed for the creation of a state bank to fund public infrastructure...
houses

It’s time to take another look at GMA

After 30 years it’s long past time to take another look at Washington State’s Growth Management Act (GMA). A recent report by the non-profit...
Bills could restructure housing impact fees

Bills could restructure housing impact fees

Two bills that could affect the structure of local impact fees imposed by cities on new housing construction with the goal of improving  housing...
Legislators plan to tweak urban density law

Legislators plan to tweak urban density law

HB 6334 sponsored by Rep. Jesse Salomon (D-32) and its companion bill HB 2343 introduced by Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (D-34) tweak several provisions in...
Critics warn “just cause” eviction bill will backfire

Critics warn “just cause” eviction bill will backfire

HB 2453 sponsored by Rep. Nicole Macri (D-43) would require that landlords evicting a tenant or refusing to renew a lease agreement do so...
Stakeholders urge caution in proposal to restructure transportation funding

Stakeholders urge caution in proposal to restructure transportation funding

State lawmakers have proposed to grant considerable new powers to the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) regarding highway funding. Under HB 2688 sponsored...
apartment buildings

Just Cause laws put neighbors and rental homes at risk

This week, the House Committee on Civil Rights and Judiciary will consider HB 2354, a bill that would institute “Just Cause” provisions for rental...
Effort underway to restore previous real estate excise tax rate

Effort underway to restore previous real estate excise tax rate

The state legislature last year restructured the state real estate excise tax (REET) from a flat 1.28 percent rate to a graduated rate, with...
Road user charge bill introduced

Road user charge bill introduced

A trio of Senate Democrats have introduced a bill creating an initial road user charge (RUC) program for electric and hybrid vehicles to begin...
Voter restriction bill set for committee vote

Voter restriction bill set for committee vote

A House committee may advance a bill that bars votes on initiatives and referendums during odd-numbered years. The arguments for HB 2529 introduced by...

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