Lens News Archive

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...
Inslee signs plastic bag ban despite COVID-19 concerns with reusable bags

Inslee signs plastic bag ban despite COVID-19 concerns with reusable bags

Governor Jay Inslee has signed into law ESSB 5323 which bans the use of plastic bags, even though other states around the country are...
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...

“This is a time like no other for our company, our industry, our communities.”

- Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun in an internal memo to employees.
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...
2020 legislative session roundup

2020 legislative session roundup

Washington’s 60-day 2020 legislative session concluded March 12 after state lawmakers approved a supplemental operating budget amid growing concerns about the coronavirus outbreak’s long-term...
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...
Coronavirus outbreak creating industry uncertainty

Coronavirus outbreak creating industry uncertainty

The outbreak of the coronavirus in Washington state has led to a state of emergency declaration by Governor Jay Inslee, the closure of numerous...
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...
‘McCleary mandate’ for carbon reduction?

‘McCleary mandate’ for carbon reduction?

A House bill that would revise state greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction goals set up in 2008 has cleared the state legislature, though legislators...
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...
Committee to reconsider Tolkienesque name for mountains

Committee to reconsider Tolkienesque name for mountains

The state Board of Natural Resources (BNR) is asking the state Committee on Geographic Names to reconsider a recommendation to name several peaks on...
Plastic bag ban or paper bag tax?

Plastic bag ban or paper bag tax?

A plastic bag ban proposal that cleared the Senate last year but failed in the House might make it out of the legislature this...
Proposal would incentivize hydropower investments

Proposal would incentivize hydropower investments

During the floor debates prior to passage of the Clean Energy Transformation Act (CETA) last year, some legislators called attention to the absence of...
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...
As battle over LCFS continues, stakeholders turn out in force

As battle over LCFS continues, stakeholders turn out in force

Stakeholders who oppose a low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) proposal turned out in full force to share their perspectives in Olympia during a critical...
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...
New EIS opposes Snake River dam removal

New EIS opposes Snake River dam removal

A U.S. District Court judge in 2016 issued a ruling mandating that a new draft environmental impact statement (EIS) conducted by the three federal...
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...

“It’s so important that we reduce the risk of punishing tariffs that have already...

– McGregor Company Chairman Alex McGregor testifying on SB 6690 eliminating Boeing’s preferential B&O tax rate.  
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...
Stakeholders: Wildfire premobilization bill need adjustment

Stakeholders: Wildfire premobilization bill need adjustment

A bill that would allow premobilization of state resources to local wildfire incidents cleared the state House unanimously on Feb. 18. Now, some stakeholders...
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...

“We see the passage of a clean fuel standard as a precondition to the...

- a letter to House Transportation Chair Jake Fey and Senate Transportation Chair Steve Hobbs signed by more than 30 House Democrat legislators.
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...
A move to regulate drinks for kids clears state Senate

A move to regulate drinks for kids clears state Senate

The Feb. 13 Senate floor debate over a bill restricting what default beverages a restaurant can offer on its kids’ menu transformed into a...
‘Last ditch’ effort for harvest plan consensus

‘Last ditch’ effort for harvest plan consensus

It’s been five years since the Washington Farm Forestry Association (WFFA) first submitted its alternative harvest plan to the Forest Practices Board (FPB) as...
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...
Foresters highlight need to fund existing support programs

Foresters highlight need to fund existing support programs

A new proposal in the state legislature to promote urban forestry has some foresters vocalizing the need to fund existing support programs before any...
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...
Clean Air Rule bill advances

Clean Air Rule bill advances

A revised HB 289 granting the state Department of Ecology the broad authority to regulate “indirect” carbon emission as part of its Clean Air...
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,...
Stakeholders warn expanding DOE authority could jeopardize business

Stakeholders warn expanding DOE authority could jeopardize business

The Washington State Supreme Court last year invalidated parts of the state Department of Ecology’s (DOE) Clean Air Rule due to a lack of...
&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...
Stakeholders question need to rework water rights

Stakeholders question need to rework water rights

House lawmakers have introduced a proposal that would place some restrictions on water rights transfers in order to address concerns over public interest with...
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...
Bill would boost salmon production

Bill would boost salmon production

The House Committee on Rural Development, Agriculture, & Natural Resources is scheduled to vote today on a bill seeking to improve Southern Resident killer...
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...
Property rights v. “public interest”

Property rights v. “public interest”

State lawmakers have introduced SB 6301 that would allow the state Department of Ecology the authority to decide if a water rights transfer is...
Bill to reduce driving would hamper economic growth, stakeholders warn

Bill to reduce driving would hamper economic growth, stakeholders warn

A Senate bill aims to reduce the amount of miles Washingtonians drive through amendments to the state Growth Management Act (GMA). SB 6335 introduced...
Possible changes in store for clean energy law

Possible changes in store for clean energy law

The state legislature last year enacted the Clean Energy Transformation Act (CETA) mandating that utilities achieve 100 percent carbon neutral energy by 2035 and...
Legal fight over public union membership continues

Legal fight over public union membership continues

Since the 2018 U.S. Supreme Court Janus decision ruling that public employees cannot be compelled to pay union dues, the Washington state legislature has...
Lawmakers propose to limit elections?

Lawmakers propose to limit elections

Washington voters in November approved Initiative 976 by 53 percent, capping car tabs at $30 and significantly reducing state transportation revenue. Some state lawmakers...
Bipartisan bill would affirm local income tax ban

Bipartisan bill would affirm local income tax ban

The Washington Court of Appeals ruled last year that a 1984 state law prohibiting local governments from imposing income taxes was unconstitutional. Now, a...
Senate approves USMCA

Senate approves USMCA

This week the U.S. Senate voted to approve the United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA), which replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). For...
LCFS, round three

LCFS, round three

Though state lawmakers for the past two years have unsuccessfully tried to enact a low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) in an effort to reduce...
Hazardous Waste Tax revenue spike expected after rate hike

Hazardous Waste Tax revenue spike expected after rate hike

Last year, the state legislature approved a rate hike for the Hazardous Substance Tax (HST) that funds toxic site cleanup, among other things. As...
December REET revenue doubles from last year

December REET revenue doubles from last year

According to data from the state Department of Revenue (DOR), the month before the state’s new law restructuring the real estate excise tax (REET)...
High court invalidates parts of clean air rule

High court invalidates parts of Clean Air rule

The Washington State Supreme Court in a Jan. 16 ruling has invalidated parts of the state Department of Ecology’s Clean Air Rule authorized by...
Bill allows preemptive state mobilization for wildfires

Bill allows preemptive state mobilization for wildfires

Washington’s state mobilization plan allows the use of state resources to suppress a wildfire when a blaze goes beyond the capacities of the local...
Bill aims to mitigate water drought

Bill aims to mitigate water drought

Washington state officials declared a water drought in 27 watersheds last year, prompting the Joint Committee on Water Supply During Drought to explore ways the...
Inslee pushes for LCFS, homelessness funding

Inslee pushes for LCFS, homelessness program funding

Governor Jay Inslee’s Jan. 14 State of the State speech focused primarily on a low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) proposal that in past session...
Inslee’s budget delays highway projects

Inslee’s budget delays highway projects

With the passage of Initiative 976 by voters during the Nov. 5 election, state lawmakers must now find places to reduce funding in the...
Study highlights Washington’s housing shortage

Study highlights Washington’s housing shortage

When it comes to housing affordability in Washington state, building advocates have sought to highlight the need for greater housing supply to meet growing...

“It’s time to put to rest the idea of introducing income taxes of any...

- Washington Policy Center Government Reform Director Jason Mercier
Poll: voters overwhelming favor local income tax ban

Poll: voters overwhelmingly favor local income tax ban

During the Nov. 5 election Spokane voters approved a ban on a local income tax by roughly 72 percent. According to a new poll...
Legislative session 2020: What to expect

Legislative session 2020: What to expect

In recent years, single issues such as basic education funding have competed for attention during Washington state’s legislative sessions and pushed other priorities to...

“Some individuals may move their domicile out-of-state to avoid paying capital gains tax on...

– excerpt from a Washington State Department of Revenue email (from a public records request)
Study claims lower Snake River dam removal would cost billions

Study claims lower Snake River dam removal would cost billions

As a state work group continues discussions regarding the future of the lower Snake River dams related to salmon recovery efforts, a new study...
Treasurer releases state debt report

Treasurer releases state debt report

A new report submitted by State Treasurer Duane Davidson to Secretary of State Kim Wyman shows that the state annual debt service is $381...
Skagit County sues state over timber harvest plan

Skagit County sues state over timber harvest plan

The state Board of Natural Resources (BNR) last month approved a 10-year sustainable harvest calculator that coincided with a habitat conservation plan (HCP) for...
Is congestion tolling right for Seattle?

Is congestion tolling right for Seattle?

A new study claims that a congestion pricing system for downtown Seattle could save drivers $90 million in travel time reductions while also providing...
Driverless tech navigates challenging course

Driverless tech navigates challenging course

The Washington State Transportation Commissions (WSTC) in October approved recommendations to the state legislature concerning the integration of autonomous vehicles (AV) on public roadways....
State may revive Stampede Pass train service

State may revive Stampede Pass train service

As the state continues to explore the idea of a bullet train line from Seattle north to British Columbia and south to Portland, it...
Puget Sound LCFS could cost $900 per household

Puget Sound LCFS could cost $900 per household

While the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA) considers a low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) within four counties, Governor Jay Inslee’s newly released proposed...
Inslee budget proposal pulls from rainy day fund

Inslee budget proposal pulls from rainy day fund

Governor Jay Inslee has released a proposed supplemental operating budget that if approved would draw $300 million from the state’s budget stabilization account, also...
Commission approves RUC recommendations

Commission approves RUC recommendations

The Washington State Transportation Commission (WSTC) voted at its Dec. 17 meeting to approve recommendations to the state legislature regarding a proposed road usage...
Work group divided over universal healthcare

Work group divided over universal healthcare

The state Universal Health Care Work Group has released its initial report to the legislature on the idea of a single-payer or “universal” state...

“A star was born.”

- Property Variety Management (PVM) President Lynnell Brandt referring to Cosmic Crisp
Cosmic Crisp a hit with consumers

Cosmic Crisp a hit with consumers

The Cosmic Crisp apple has been released after 20 years of development, research, planting and harvesting. The combination of Enterprise and Honeycrisp apples is...
Stakeholders weigh in on USMCA deal

Stakeholders weigh in on USMCA deal

U.S. House Democrat leaders this week announced a deal has been reached with President Trump regarding the U.S.-Canada-Mexico Agreement (USMCA) to replace the North...
Preserving small forestland through estate planning

Preserving small forestland through estate planning

The 20th anniversary of the Forests and Fish Law has coincided with renewed concern among policymakers regarding the health of small forestland owners who...
Sound Transit increases ST3 property tax rate

Sound Transit increases ST3 property tax

The Sound Transit Board of Directors has voted overwhelmingly in favor of a one percent property tax increase that is expected to generate an...
Bellingham City Council to hear climate action proposal

Bellingham City Council to hear climate action proposal

The Bellingham Climate Action Plan Task Force this week approved its final report on carbon emission reduction policies that include banning the use of...
Conservation strategy “lays off” working forestland

Conservation strategy “lays off” working forestland

The state Board of Natural Resources (BNR) at a Dec. 3 meeting approved a new Long Term Conservation Strategy (LTCS) for the marbled murrelet,...
“Back to the Future” with tax structure study

“Back to the Future” with tax structure study

Despite year after year of surplus revenue, Washington state’s tax structure continues to receive scrutiny from legislators – the latest coming from the Tax...
Ecology director to resign

Ecology director to resign

Ecology Director Maia Bellon has announced her resignation just weeks following a letter from U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers questioning her congressional testimony on...
Forest health funding tax proposed

Forest health funding tax proposed

The state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in recent years has developed a fire protection strategy plan as well as a long-term forest health...
Is income “property” in Washington state?

Is income “property” in Washington state?

For more than 80 years the Washington state Supreme court has ruled that income is property as defined by the Washington state constitution, which...
State grappling with forecasted revenue shortfalls

State grappling with forecasted revenue shortfalls

Although a new report by the state Economic and Revenue Forecast Council (ERFC) estimates state tax collections will increase $300 million for the 2019-21...
Future growth in Washington

Future growth in Washington

The Growth Management Act (GMA) has guided local and regional planning since the state legislature approved it in 1990. In the nearly three decades...
Trade disputes cost Washingtonians $1 K a year

Trade disputes cost Washington households $1 K per year

As the most trade-dependent state in the nation with one third of its jobs tied to foreign commerce, Washington has been hit particularly hard...
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...

“The IRS considers taxes on investment income . . . an income tax.”

- State Department of Revenue response to requests surrounding a capital gains income tax.
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,...
house with tools

SEPA reform needed

Members of the Seattle City Council have been accused of trying to “...gut bedrock environmental protection rules...” because they state what has been obvious...
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....

“If you want to know how well the economy is performing typically, just see...

- Eric Jessup, associate director of the Freight Policy Transportation Institute at Washington State University
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...
New analysis on lower Snake River dams

New analysis on lower Snake River dams

As efforts continue in favor of breaching the lower Snake River dams to aid salmon and Southern Resident Killer whale recovery, NOAA Fisheries –...
train on tracks

Protecting critical industrial lands

Washington is blessed with natural and man-made transportation assets that give the state enviable economic competitive advantages over most other areas of the country:...
Dealing with Washington’s drought

Dealing with Washington’s drought

A drought was announced in Washington state in April, with 27 watersheds now included in the declaration. Although this hasn’t negatively affected some agricultural...

Rain tempers wildfire season

Unusually high amount of rainfall in eastern Washington in the first part of August has helped keep this year’s wildfire season mild – even...
Division between stakeholders over fish habitat buffers

Division between stakeholders over fish habitat buffers

Washington forestland owners, environmentalists and tribes are divided over the shape, content and timeline of a proposed state rule defining what constitutes a fish...
Washington fruit growers evade latest trade dispute

Washington fruit growers evade latest trade dispute

The latest escalation in an ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China has so far avoided hitting Washington fruit growers – while the...
Are local and county culverts in legal danger?

Are local and county culverts in legal danger?

As state lawmakers consider ways to generate the money needed to replace hundreds of fish barriers on roads managed by the Washington State Department...
Will new clean energy policy work?

Will new clean energy policy work?

This legislative session state lawmakers approved SB 5116 sponsored by Sen. Reuven Carlyle (D-36) that puts Washington on a path to 100 percent clean...
Reforming the housing development process

Reforming the housing development process

Following a recent  housing summit in Bellevue, the House Local Government Committee held a work session in Federal Way examining the various public policies...
Wildfire strikes unhealthy forestland

Wildfire strikes near unhealthy forestland

The month of August has begun with an escalation of Washington’s wildfire season. The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and tribal resources...
Hunt continues for Fish and Wildlife funding

Hunt continues for Fish and Wildlife funding

During this year’s legislative session, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) requested $31 million to help plug a hole in its operating...
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...
Premera announces rural healthcare access grants

Premera announces rural healthcare access grants

Healthcare insurance provider Premera has announced an investment of $10.5 million in grants over four years to Washington State University’s (WSU) community-based medical school...
Aerial attack helps check wildfire

Aerial attack helps check wildfire

As the intensity of this year’s wildfire season tapers, aerial attacks by state and federal agencies were able to check a fire that broke...
Long struggle ahead over water standards

Long struggle ahead over water standards

The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administer Andrew Wheeler last week signed a proposed rule repealing its water quality standards and restoring less stringent...
The big fix on fish barrier removal

The big fix on fish barrier removal

Washington state lawmakers will have to come up with $3 billion in additional funding for more than 900 fish barrier removal projects if they’re...
“Cosmic Crisp” bred for Washington growers

“Cosmic Crisp” bred for Washington growers

After more than two decades of development in collaboration with the Washington State University Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center, Washington producers plan to...
The fight to fully fund guest worker program

The fight to fully fund guest worker program

Washington farmers in recent years have increased the number of applications for H-2A guest worker visas while the federal government has decreased funding to...
Single-payer system would require $28 billion in new taxes

Single-payer system would require $28 billion in new taxes

This year the state legislature passed SB 5526 which created a standardized health plan through the public health care exchange. Business and industry groups opposed...
Forecast: Wildfires could come to westside

Forecast: Wildfires could come to westside

After a brief respite from wildfire activity earlier this month, new grassland fires have broken out across the state and more than doubled the...
“Treading water” in no man’s land

“Treading water” in no man’s land

The state Wildland Fire Advisory Committee plans to recommend steps the state legislature can take to address areas in Washington not protected by any...
Lake Washington ferry service planned

Lake Washington ferry service planned

A pilot program is in the works by a private developer to offer ferry service routes from South Lake Union to the 17-acre Southport...
How drivers feel about an RUC

How drivers feel about an RUC

This coming December the Washington State Transportation Commission’s (WSTC) road user charge (RUC) steering committee plans to submit recommendations to the legislature for the...
Ultra-high-speed rail: Silver bullet or pipe dream?

Ultra-high-speed rail: Silver bullet or pipe dream?

The Washington State Department of Transportation has released its business case analysis regarding the concept of an ultra-high-speed rail line from Portland through Seattle...
Seattle income tax set for high court showdown

Seattle income tax set for high court showdown

In a new ruling the Washington State Division 1 of the Court of Appeals has struck down the city of Seattle’s 2017 local income...
Addressing Washington’s housing affordability crisis

Addressing Washington’s housing affordability crisis

A housing summit in Bellevue involving various stakeholders from the private and public sectors could represent a turning point in a statewide housing crisis...
Washington enjoys lull in wildfire season

Washington enjoys lull in wildfire season

At this time last year state, federal and local agencies were battling wildfires that forced the evacuation of rural central Washington communities and temporarily...

“I think we definitely need to take a look at the GMA.”

- Washington State Sen. Patty Kuderer (D-48) on options to improve housing availability
Navigating Washington’s housing crisis

Navigating Washington’s housing crisis

Housing unaffordability similar to conditions in California was forecasted for Washington state during a July 8 housing summit in Bellevue. Whether or not Washington...
Is California Washington’s housing future?

Is California Washington’s housing future?

Washington is experiencing a statewide housing shortage problem that is unlikely to change anytime soon, according to Washington Center for Real Estate Research (WCRER)...
Palumbo’s District 1 seat filled

Palumbo’s District 1 seat filled

The King and Snohomish County councils voted last week to have Rep. Derek Stanford (D-1) fill the legislative district 1 Senate seat formerly occupied...
Addressing yesterday’s congestion today

Addressing yesterday’s congestion today

As a new interstate work group continues to look at replacing the century-old I-5 bridge spanning the Columbia River from Vancouver to Portland, some...
Janus one year on – what’s next?

Janus one year on – what’s next?

Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s Janus decision one year ago in which the court ruled that requiring public employees to pay union dues violated...
Longer curfew for Washington’s young drivers?

Longer curfew for Washington’s young drivers?

A draft proposal of the Washington State Strategic Highway Safety Plan Target Zero 2019 includes a list of recommendations to reduce traffic accidents that...
Improving Washington’s drought response

Improving Washington’s drought response

As the state Department of Ecology has declared a water drought in nearly half all Washington’s watersheds, a joint committee may make recommendations to...
New taxes for transit?

New taxes for transit?

Investments at the local and state levels on transit throughout Washington state isn’t keeping pace with economic growth, and new revenue sources such as...
Hydropower project “new frontier” for clean energy

Hydropower project “new frontier” for clean energy

A Senate bill approved this session by state lawmakers will require Washington state utilities to provide carbon-neutral energy by 2035 and to achieve100 percent...
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...
The world of tomorrow with 5G

The world of tomorrow with 5G

For enthusiasts of 5th generation (5G) mobile networks technology in the private sector, it’s hard to understate the positive impacts. The expansion alone is...
Protecting “no man’s land”

Protecting “no man’s land”

In recent years, the state Wildland Fire Advisory Committee has offered recommendations on how to improve initial responses to state wildfires. Now, the 14-member...
Seattle biz community hopes for “change election”

Seattle biz community hopes for “change election”

Last year, backlash from Seattle’s business community and other Seattleites led to the repeal of the city’s $275-per employee job tax. At the time,...
State sues EPA over water quality standard

State sues EPA over water quality standards

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson has filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for repealing water quality standards that overrode those...
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...
Locals headed to small biz boot camp

Locals headed to small biz boot camp

Recent tariffs imposed by the U.S. on Chinese imports continue to affect small business members such as Krystal and Blake Garfield with the family-owned...
Fish barriers the new ‘McCleary’ for lawmakers

Fish barriers the new ‘McCleary’ for lawmakers

For several years the 2012 state Supreme Court’s McCleary decision regarding the legislature’s legal obligation to fund basic education dominated the legislative sessions as...

Washington state’s housing crisis far from over

While some progress was made towards addressing our state’s housing crisis during the recent legislative session, the challenge of ensuring working families can afford...
Another look at rangeland associations

Stakeholders weigh in on rangeland associations

Earlier this year Washington state lawmakers considered HB 1188 sponsored by Rep. Tom Dent (R-13) that would allow the creation of rangeland fire protection...
Sound Transit lawsuit sent to high court

Sound Transit lawsuit sent to high court

The Commissioner of the Washington Supreme Court has granted a motion by Sound Transit to have a class action lawsuit filed against the ST3...
Utilities in support of lower Snake River dams

Utilities in support of lower Snake River dams

This legislative session, Washington lawmakers approved a bill calling for the state to achieve 100 percent clean energy, while at the time authorizing a...
Grant County wildfire prompts evac

Grant County wildfire prompts evac

Washington state’s first major wildfire of the season has broken out in Grant County grassland area near the Columbia Basin in central Washington, prompting...
Sound Transit asks for high court review

Sound Transit asks for high court review

A year ago, a group of private citizens filed a class action lawsuit against Sound Transit, arguing that its motor vehicle excise tax (MVET)...
Inrix announces new “smart” traffic technology

Inrix announces new “smart” traffic technology

Kirkland-based Inrix has released new artificial intelligence technology, INRIX AI Traffic,  which the company says can provide hyper-accurate, live traffic data to a variety...

Shipping hub feels squeeze of regional growth

Santa’s workshop may be in the North Pole, but he has an outpost tucked away nearby in a place you might not expect: Tukwila,...

The growing market for mass timber

In recent years, significant state legislation and building code changes have occurred related to cross-laminated timber (CLT) – also known as mass timber –...
person walking in dirt

The challenge to Washington family farms

There are roughly 35,700 farms in Washington state, according to 2017 census data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That figure represents the loss...

Bracing for statewide wildfire season

The state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is preparing for what could be a severe wildfire season on both sides of the Cascades. While...
Lawmakers: Veto bank tax bill

Lawmakers: Veto bank tax bill

Several top-ranking Republican state lawmakers and a Democrat senator are calling on Governor Jay Inslee to veto SHB 2167, arguing it was passed by...
Is gridlock here to stay?

Is gridlock here to stay?

During this legislative session state lawmakers approved SB 5825 which makes the tolls on Interstate 405 and State Route 167 permanent. However, the legislation...
How timber sales can pay for forest health work

How timber sales can pay for forest health work

The state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) manages 2.1 million acres of working forests located on state trust land with a legal mandate to...
EPA reverses water quality rule

EPA reverses water quality rule

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reversed its 2017 decision to override a water quality rule adopted by the Washington Department of Ecology with...
Urban density bill signed by Inslee

Urban density bill signed by Inslee

Governor Jay Inslee has signed E2SHB 1923 sponsored by Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (D-34) into law – a bill that supporters hope will increase housing...
Contemplating a single-payer system

Contemplating a single-payer system

Washington state lawmakers this session considered several bills intended to reduce healthcare costs. However, while the approach focuses on capping the rates by health...
EPA to reverse state fish consumption rule?

EPA to reconsider state fish consumption rule?

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) two years ago overrode a new water quality rule adopted by the Washington Department of Ecology with its own...
The future of Washington’s small forestland

The future of Washington’s small forestland

A new study authorized by the state legislature will determine how much small forestland remains in Washington state, along with ways to encourage the...
Ensuring a future for small forestland

Ensuring a future for small forestland

Washington state lawmakers this session approved ESSB 5330 directing the University of Washington School of Environmental and Forest Sciences to look at the economic...
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...
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...
Funding for Fish and Wildlife comes up short

Funding for Fish and Wildlife comes up short

Despite a revenue surplus of $4.4 billion for the 2019-21 biennium – and a $7.7 billion spending increase in the operating budget – the...
Healthcare “standardized” plan proposal passes

Healthcare “standardized” plan proposal passes

The Washington state lawmakers in the final days of session approved legislation intended to lower healthcare costs, but opponents say it will have the...
Transportation budget clears legislature

Transportation budget clears legislature

The Washington legislature voted overwhelming in favor of a $10 billion 2019-21 transportation budget that funds major projects in central Puget Sound as well...

Legislature approves new taxes, $7.7 billion spending increase

While Washingtonians slept, the state legislature this weekend approved a $52.8 billion 2019-21 operating budget that includes a slew of new taxes, some of...
Congestion-financed transportation projects

Congestion-financed transportation projects

The Washington legislature this weekend voted in favor of ESSB 5825 sponsored by Transportation Committee Chair Sen. Steve Hobbs (D-44) to make the tolls...
Senate approves hazardous tax hike

Senate approves hazardous waste tax hike

After extensive debate on April 25, the Washington Senate voted 27-22 to increase the Hazardous Substance Tax that currently funds the Model Toxic Control...
B&O tax hike for higher education?

B&O tax hike for higher education?

The House Appropriations Committee has voted in favor of a bill imposing a business and occupation (B&O) surcharge on various businesses with the money...
Legislature revises graduation requirements

Legislature revises graduation requirements

The Washington legislature has overwhelmingly approved a bill that eliminates certain high school graduation requirements regarding state assessments. Supporters say it will encourage stronger...
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...
Committee advances hunting, fishing fee bill

Committee advances hunting, fishing fee bill

Two companion bills to increases the recreational hunting and fishing fee paid to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) have cleared their...
Tax structure bill clears committee amid concern

Tax structure bill clears committee amid concern

The House Appropriations Committee voted on April 22 after a public hearing to advance a bill that makes changes to the state tax structure...
Income tax bill advances

Income tax bill advances

The same week a 2014 legal memo to the Seattle City council regarding a proposed “millionaire’s tax” was released, the House Finance Committee voted...
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...
Seattle attorney memo sheds light on city income tax

Seattle attorney memo sheds light on city income tax

One of the questions surrounding the city of Seattle’s 2017 income tax ordinance is what the city council was told by City Attorney Peter...
Unanimous support for forestland bill

Unanimous support for forestland bill

A bill to study the economic health of Washington small forestland owners has cleared the legislature with unanimous support. ESSB 5330 sponsored by Sen....
Preparing for Washington’s future airport

Preparing for Washington’s future airport

State House lawmakers on April 16 voted unanimously in favor of a Senate proposal to begin planning for Washington’s next major airport to accommodate...
Senate approves House wildfire bill

Senate approves House wildfire bill

A bill directing the state Department of Natural Resources to conduct forest health projects that also benefit wildfire suppression efforts was approved by the...
Senate approves House timber bill

Senate approves House timber bill

The Washington Senate on April 16 voted 47-1 in favor of a bill intended to boost the timber industry in rural counties with higher...
Senate approves chemical ban

Senate approves chemical ban

The Washington Senate voted 35-13 on April 15 in favor of ESSHB 1112 to gradually phase out the use of hydrofluorocarbons in refrigeration products...
Senate approves urban housing bill

Senate approves urban housing bill

The Washington Senate on April 13 voted 33-12 in favor of a House bill intended to boost the housing supply within urban areas in...
Public union consent bill passes

Public union consent bill passes

The Washington Senate on April 12 passed legislation regarding public sector union membership in the wake of the 2018 U.S. Supreme Court Janus ruling....
Worker fee removed from H-2A bill

Worker fee removed from H-2A bill

A Senate proposal to address the growing number of workers under the federal H-2A temporary agricultural visa program in Washington state received unanimous support...
Health care bill clears House

Health care bill clears House

The Washington House voted 53-38 on April 10 in favor of a Senate bill purported to lower health care costs, while detractors argued prior...
House approves clean energy bill

House approves clean energy bill

House lawmakers on April 11 approved a Senate bill intended to wean Washington state off electricity produced by carbon. However, despite numerous revisions and...
Low carbon fuel standard stalls

Low carbon fuel standard stalls

ESSHB 1110, which would create a statewide low carbon fuel standard (LCFS), has hit a roadblock after it failed to clear an April 9...
Making I-405 tolls permanent

Making I-405 tolls permanent

The dynamic tolling system on a 15-mile stretch of Interstate 405 between Bellevue and Lynwood was opened in 2015 to improve mobility and offer...
Senate bill would change state tax structure

Senate bill would change state tax structure

Despite a nearly $4.46 billion revenue increase from the 2017-19 biennium, some state lawmakers have introduced proposals to restructure Washington’s tax system. Among them...
Gov signs working forest bill

Gov signs working forest bill

Governor Jay Inslee has signed HB 1011 into law notifying buyers that a piece of property is located next to a working forest. The...
Should outdoor rec sales get taxed?

Should outdoor rec sales be taxed?

Following significant budget cuts by the legislature following the Great Recession, the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has yet to resume...
Reeling in fish barrier removal proposals

Reeling in fish barrier removal proposals

Following a ruling last year by the U.S. Supreme Court upholding an injunction against Washington state, lawmakers are looking for money to fund hundreds...
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...
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...
Vape tax clears Senate committee

Vape tax clears Senate committee

A Senate proposal to tax vaping products, also known as e-cigarettes, cleared the Ways and Means Committee on April 2 after some revisions. Although...
Legislators urged to stop Public Works account raids

Legislators urged to stop Public Works account raids

Since the Public Works Assistance Account was created in 1985, $2.2 billion has been diverted or transferred for purposes other than funding the revolving,...
The long and short of subdivisions

The long and short of subdivisions

A Senate proposal intended to increase the maximum number of units within a short subdivision continues to advance through the legislature. On April 2,...
House passes transportation budget

House passes transportation budget

The state House overwhelming approve its 2019-21 transportation budget on Mar. 29 that spends $10 billion on fish culvert repairs, the Interstate 5 Bridge...
How prepared is Washington for a recession?

How prepared is Washington for a recession?

As the legislature begins negotiations over the Senate and House budget proposals, some state officials are gauging Washington’s readiness for a potential recession similar...
Senate budget includes income tax, reflects “shared values”

Senate budget includes income tax, reflects “shared values”

Although the Senate proposed $52.2 billion 2019-21 operating budget unveiled on Mar. 29 spends almost $700 million less than the House’s proposed budget, it...
In search of balanced approach to housing affordability

In search of balanced approach to housing affordability

A recurring debate during this year’s legislative session concerns the state’s appropriate role regarding local housing supply and density, which can be largely determined...
New proposal to fund local infrastructure

New proposal to fund local infrastructure

While the House’s proposed 2019-21 operating budget would continue raids into the Public Works Trust account mean to fund local infrastructure projects, two identical...
Senate unveils transportation budget

Senate unveils transportation budget

The Senate Transportation Committee voted on Mar. 28 in favor of a proposed 2019-21 transportation budget that spends a similar amount as its counterpart...
No taxes proposed in House transportation budget

No taxes proposed in House transportation budget

The House Transportation Committee voted 28-3 on Mar. 27 in favor of a proposed 2019-21 transportation budget that increases funding for fish barrier removal...

Local collaboration boosts progress on water management

After years of discussion over water rights, in-stream flow rules, the infamous Hirst decision and many other points of contention, there is reason to...
Will new tax “vaporize” e-cigarette industry?

Will new tax “vaporize” e-cigarette industry?

Washington state currently levies an excise tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products that during the latest fiscal year brought in $414 million. Now,...
State House budget proposal includes new taxes

State House budget proposal includes new taxes

Last week, the state Economic and Revenue Forecast Council released a report estimating that Washington will generate more than $50 billion in the 2019-21...
Negotiations continue on clean energy bill

Negotiations continue on clean energy bill

A Senate proposal to put Washington state on the path toward 100 percent clean energy is advancing through the House after clearing the Committee...
Emergency loan proposal garners unanimous Senate support

Emergency loan proposal garners unanimous Senate support

Five years after the Oso landslide killed 43 people in Snohomish County, state lawmakers are considering an emergency revolving loan program to help repair...
State revenue: how much is enough?

State revenue: how much is enough?

The latest report from the state Economic and Revenue Forecast Council (ERFC) shows that the Washington state legislature has $50 billion to spend for...
Salvaging Elliot Bay’s fishing pier

Salvaging Elliott Bay’s fishing pier

For anglers and others lamenting the closure of the fishing pier overlooking Elliott Bay in Puget Sound two years ago over safety concerns, a...
Will low carbon fuel standard move forward?

Will low carbon fuel standard move forward?

Now that a state House bill creating a low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) has cleared that chamber, it remains to be seen whether its...
house model with building papers

More regulations and taxes = affordable home ownership?

Legislators kicked off this year’s session in promising fashion, declaring they would take our state’s housing affordability crisis head on, as they should.  A...
Brokering statewide broadband

Brokering statewide broadband

Both state legislative chambers have approved bills intended to get high speed broadband internet to the approximately 450,000 Washington residents who still lack access. Now,...
Assessing “no man’s land”

Assessing “no man’s land”

An ongoing challenge for state and local firefighters is what’s known as “no man’s land”: areas that do not fall under a fire jurisdiction...
Unanimous Senate vote on agricultural hemp

Unanimous Senate vote on agricultural hemp

Early last week, Senate lawmakers voted unanimously on ESSSB 5276 legalizing agricultural hemp production. If approved by the House and signed by Governor Jay...
Lawmakers embrace urban density proposal

Lawmakers embrace urban density proposal

A Democrat proposal to boost housing within urban areas received bipartisan support in a 66-30 house vote on Mar. 13. SSHB 1923 sponsored by...
Linking forest health projects with wildfires

Linking forest health projects with wildfires

In a unanimous 96-0 vote, the state House voted Mar. 13 in favor of SSHB 1784, which advocates say would create stronger links between...
House passes new "consent" bill for public worker unions

House passes new “consent” bill for public worker unions

Earlier this week House lawmakers approved in a 57-41 vote SSHB 1575 in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s (SCOTUS) Janus ruling last year...
LCFS proposal advances from House

LCFS proposal advances from House

After a lengthy debate on Mar. 12 that included over half a dozen amendments added to the bill, state House lawmakers voted 53-43 in...
train on railway

Rail project is key to our future

In the months ahead, the United States Coast Guard will make a decision regarding the future of the Sandpoint Junction Connector Project, which seeks...
Housing proposals ignite debate over local control

Housing proposal ignites debate over local control

The Washington Senate voted 38-10 on Mar. 11 in favor of SB 5812 requiring that cities and counties adopt ordinances and regulations allowing accessory...
One step closer to socialized medicine?

One step closer to socialized medicine?

In a 57-41 vote on Mar. 8, the Washington House approved ESSHB 1523 after an extended and heated discussion that at one point caused...
New research finds LCFS bad for environment

New research finds LCFS bad for environment

Opponents of a low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) such as that proposed in Washington state say the program would be costly to implement, impossible...
State Senate approves tiny home bill

State Senate approves tiny home bill

The Washington Senate voted overwhelming 44-2 in favor of a bill allowing cities and towns to create ordinances regulating tiny house communities, while prohibiting...
: Guest worker fee, or job tax on farmers?

Guest worker fee, or job tax on farmers?

The Washington Senate in a 26-21 vote approved a bill creating a new fee to be paid by farmers who rely on H-2A visa...
Are lawmakers reviving I-1631?

Are lawmakers reviving I-1631?

Last November voters turned down Initiative 1631, which would have created a $15 per-metric-ton carbon tax and an oversight board composed primarily of governor-appointees...
Transportation package advances

Transportation package advances

A proposed 10-year transportation package to fund new infrastructure and court-ordered fish culvert projects cleared the Senate Transportation Committee after several amendments were incorporated....
Senate approves plastic bag ban

Senate approves plastic bag ban

Consumers soon may no longer be able to choose plastic bags at retail stores in Washington state, thanks to a proposal that passed in...
Kneecapping housing affordability efforts

Kneecapping housing affordability efforts

Washingtonians living in the central Puget Sound region aren’t the only ones affected by the housing shortage. The problem has also extended to the...
State farmers could take hit on chemical ban

State farmers could take hit on chemical ban

The state House has successfully passed ESSHB 1112 in a 55-39 vote to gradually phase out the use of hydrofluorocarbons in products such as...
Can Washington maintain affordable energy?

Can Washington maintain affordable energy?

The same day Governor Jay Inslee announced his bid for the presidency on the Democrat ticket, the state Senate in a 28-19 vote passed...
I-405 tolls: should they stay or should they go?

I-405 tolls: should they stay or should they go?

State lawmakers may decide this session if the dynamic tolling system on a 15-mile segment of Interstate 405’s high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes between...
Transportation proposal gets mixed review

Transportation proposal gets mixed review

Senate Transportation Chair Steve Hobbs (D-44) has unveiled a series of bills creating 10-year, $17 billion transportation package that includes a carbon fee and...
LCFS: “Bad news all around”

LCFS: “Bad news all around”

A proposal to create a low carbon fuel standard program (LCFS) in Washington state has cleared the House Appropriations Committee and could soon land...
Will lawmakers vote for Sound Transit elections?

Will lawmakers vote for Sound Transit elections?

As the state’s only regional transit authority (RTA), Sound Transit is run by a board of 18 members who are appointed by their respective...

Trade war piles up casualties in Washington

Although President Donald Trump announced an extension of the Mar. 1 deadline for the ceasefire in tariff increases between the US and China, Washington...
Reckoning may come on car tab relief

Reckoning may come on car tab relief

State lawmakers may find themselves between a rock and a hard place: allowing Washingtonians to decide whether to approve a $30 car tab initiative...
Restoring public infrastructure funding

Restoring public infrastructure funding

There are currently more than $800 million worth of local public infrastructure projects ready to move forward but lack funding that might otherwise come...
Supporting initial wildfire attacks

Supporting initial wildfire attacks

The state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) managed last year to keep more than 90 percent of wildfires to 10 acres or less. Several...
Public bank proposal meets much criticism

Public bank proposal meets much criticism

The notion of a public bank in Washington state received a critical appraisal at a Feb. 21 public hearing of the Senate Financial Institutions,...
Private-public partnership for fish barrier removal

Private-public partnership for fish barrier removal

While state lawmakers contemplate various proposals to fund the removal of fish barriers on public land managed by the Washington State Department of Transportation...
Another possible win for mass timber

Another possible win for mass timber

Now that the Washington State Building Code Council and International Code Council (ICC) have incorporated advances in cross-laminated timber (CLT) technology, a bipartisan group...
Proposal uses existing taxes to fund highways

Proposal uses existing taxes to fund highways

A major priority for Washington state is not only infrastructure funding to meet existing transportation demands, but also maintaining the revenue streams that finance...
Bellevue Chamber scores ‘win’ with Fain hire

Bellevue Chamber scores ‘win’ with Fain hire

The Bellevue Chamber of Commerce starts a new chapter this week as former legislator Joe Fain begins his tenure as the new president and...
Shielding agriculture from overregulation

Shielding agriculture from overregulation

A common warning from critics of proposed carbon emission reduction legislation is that affected industries might pick up and leave for other regions with...
sharpened pencils

Picking Peter’s pocket to pay Paul: Lazy McCleary ‘fix’ leaves critical infrastructure projects out...

Old Mother Hubbard Went to the cupboard, To give the poor dog a bone; But when she got there The cupboard was bare, And so the poor dog had...
State bank proposed

State bank proposed

A newly introduced Senate bill would set up a state bank to meet demand for local infrastructure funding, despite warnings from the Washington state...
Cottages on rural lands

Cottages on rural lands

As the state legislature considers proposals for detached accessory dwelling units within the urban growth areas (UGA), legislators are also looking to expand those...
Secure or restrictive scheduling?

Secure or restrictive scheduling?

Following in the steps of Seattle, Washington state lawmakers have introduced statewide worker scheduling legislation that proponents argue will provide better certainty for workers....
Lawmaker proposes legalizing local income tax

Lawmaker proposes legalizing local income tax

Earlier this month, a group of Democrat state lawmakers submitted a brief in the lawsuit over the city of Seattle’s income tax ordinance arguing...
gas pump

Low Carbon Fuel Standard wrong for Washington: Costly, unworkable fuel policy

As part of his proposed 2019 climate agenda, the Governor wants the Legislature to take another run at imposing a Low Carbon Fuel Standard...
Low carbon fuel standard’s “hidden” gas tax

Low carbon fuel standard’s “hidden” gas tax

With Washington having the third-highest gas tax in the country, critics of a proposed low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) say it would make fuel...
Bill proposes wildfire containment strategy

Bill proposes wildfire containment strategy

A major challenge for state, federal and local fire crews responding to a wildfire can be locating a safe position to operate from, something...
Can growth and farming coexist?

Can growth and farming coexist?

As Washington state’s population grows, agricultural industry advocates say that farmers need more flexibility with their land designated for farming under the Growth Management...
refinery

‘Knockout punch’ for refineries with local government ‘bait-and-switch’

With one of the Washington environmental community’s top targets for elimination within its borders, Whatcom County demonstrated in January that the “public” part of...
seattle skyline

Homeless shack villages: A business owner’s point of view

Since the arrival of Aloha Village and all that comes with a low-barrier shack encampment, my auto shop’s backlog has gone from a month...
Same space, more housing

Same space, more housing

As a Senate proposal to increase the housing supply advances, a separate House bill calls for a similar solution by allowing cities and counties...
Biz community decries bill to “kill” independent contracting

Biz community decries bill to “kill” independent contracting

A diverse coalition of Washington business community members are up in arms over a legislative proposal that critics say would essentially wipe out independent...
Promises still unmet for small forestland owners

Promises still unmet for small forestland owners

Two decades after the state legislature passed the Forests and Fish Law to protect fish habitat, it is still unclear to what extent the...

“We are really only changing one word from ‘and’ to ‘or.’”

- Sen. Lynda Wilson testifying in support of her bill allowing local governments to extend urban services to rural areas under the state Growth...
Should Washington pioneer hydrogen cars?

Should Washington pioneer hydrogen cars?

As part of a broader shift toward clean energy, Washington state is establishing infrastructure for electric vehicles in key sections of the state. However,...
New runway for aviation loan program

New runway for aviation loan program

The state legislature last year overwhelmingly voted in favor of HB 1656 creating an aviation loan program to help smaller airports with infrastructure investment...
The push for minimum density standards

The push for minimum density standards

A frequent observation made by builders operating in the central Puget Sound area when discussing housing affordability is the varying housing density standards created...
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...
The future of clean energy

The future of clean energy

As the state legislature examines proposals to eventually make Washington’s electricity 100 percent clean, they’re also taking a good look at emerging technology that...
Shifting goalposts for I-405 tolling

Shifting goalposts for I-405 tolling

A corridor performance analysis study in 2018 found that the 15-mile Interstate 405 tolling segment was performing well financially but failing to maintain a 45-mile-per-hour...
Washington’s hospitality labor shortage

Washington’s hospitality labor shortage

As Washington state is currently experiencing a low unemployment rate, industries such as hospitality in recent years have struggled to fill job openings. A...
Washington’s next major airport

Washington’s next major airport

Some state lawmakers think it’s time for Washington to start looking for the location of its next major commercial airport, and a new Senate...
Mixed reviews for tax system overhaul

Mixed reviews for tax system overhaul

A Senate proposal creating a revenue reform task force is getting mixed reviews among members of the business community as to whether the state’s...
The next stop for Cascadia high-speed rail

The next stop for Cascadia high-speed rail

Since 2017, the state has been exploring the idea of an ultra-high-speed rail line from Vancouver, B.C. through Seattle to Portland, Ore to better...
Attacking the gap: the bridge from class to career

Attacking the gap: the bridge from class to career

After years spent mired in the Supreme Court’s McCleary decision and battling over education funding, the legislature is now uniquely aligned around one major...
Lawmakers contemplate tolling authority change

Lawmakers contemplate tolling authority change

As local cities and even counties consider ways to reduce congestion or improve revenue streams, one option is tolling city streets. It’s an idea...
Protecting Washington transportation revenue

Protecting Washington transportation revenue

One of the concerns Washington residents may have about a possible road user charge (RUC) to replace the state gas tax for funding transportation...
Netflix-like subscriptions for transportation on demand?

Netflix-like subscriptions for transportation on demand?

A recurring challenge encountered by state policymakers and stakeholders is how to successfully, and safely, integrate driverless cars onto public roads. Another ongoing question...
Some express reservations as clean energy proposal advances

Some express reservations as clean energy proposal advances

A legislative proposal to put Washington state on the path to 100 percent clean energy by 2045 this week cleared the Senate Environment, Energy...
Funding raids endanger Washington infrastructure

Funding raids endanger Washington infrastructure

As part of the McCleary compromise to fully fund basic education, the state legislature has dipped repeatedly into several accounts outside the general fund....
Investing in rural Washington

Investing in rural Washington

Though Washington is ranked by WalletHub as having the best state economy in the nation, often lost in the mix is the growing inequity...
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...
The year of GMA reform?

The year of GMA reform?

A recurring criticism of the state Growth Management Act (GMA) is that its regulations artificially restrict housing supply and stymie rural economic development. Two...
Long journey ahead for road user charge

Long journey ahead for road user charge

If Washington state ever adopts a road user charge (RUC) to replace the motor vehicle fuel tax (MVFT), it’s going to be a long...
Re-growing small working forestland

Re-growing small working forestland

In the 20 years since the Forests and Fish Law was passed, Washington’s small forestland owners have struggled to handle the new regulations regarding...
The push to expand broadband

The push to expand broadband

According to Broadband Now, 94 percent of Washington residents have access to broadband, placing the state 14th in the nation for coverage. State lawmakers...

Education: Future needs, lingering gaps open 2019 session

Lawmakers began the first week of the 2019 legislative session with a look toward the future of schools in Washington and a look back...
Can rangeland associations help fight wildfires?

Can rangeland associations help fight wildfires?

As stakeholders across Washington state continue to examine new ways to improve wildfire responses, state lawmakers have introduced HB 1188 which would enable private...
gavel

Bloomberg funds state AGs to file politically motivated lawsuits

State attorneys general (AG) are supposed to enforce the state’s laws on behalf of the state’s citizens, but several AG’s offices are at risk...
Stakeholders urge caution with green energy push

Stakeholders urge caution with green energy push

One of Governor Jay Inslee’s green energy proposals announced in December is to have Washington state utilities generate carbon-free electricity by 2030 and 100...
Bipartisan support for Sound Transit reform

Bipartisan support for Sound Transit reform

Following the passage of ST3 in 2016, state lawmakers have proposed making Sound Transit’s board elected rather than appointed by county executives, something proponents...
What’s killing Southern Resident whales

What’s killing Southern Resident whales

There’s little debate that an insufficient lack of salmon is harming the Southern Resident killer whale population, evinced by proposals to ramp up hatchery...
The short subdivision housing solution

The short subdivision housing solution

An ongoing challenge facing Washington state is being able to improve housing affordability, in particular in the central Puget Sound area, despite a recent...
The fight over a capital gains income tax

The fight over a capital gains income tax

The Jan. 16 public hearing regarding Governor Inslee’s capital gains income tax proposal rehashed many ongoing arguments for and against the idea. Remarks by...
Fish and Forest Law: 20-year reflection

Forests and Fish Law: 20-year reflection

After 20 years since the 1999 Forests and Fish Law was approved by the state legislature and then-Governor Gary Locke, state lawmakers may need...
Biochar: potential forest health tool

Biochar: potential forest health tool

As state officials and stakeholders look for ways to improve forest health around Washington that are in need of restoration, one possible new tool...
New low carbon fuel standard proposed

New low carbon fuel standard proposed

As with last year, efforts to reduce Washington’s greenhouse gas emissions is prompting several bills as part of Governor Jay Inslee’s “green energy” proposal...
State of State heavy on campaign rhetoric

State of State heavy on campaign rhetoric

Governor Jay Inslee’s January 15 State of the State speech mixed presidential campaign rhetoric with state-level proposals regarding climate change, education, mental health and orca...
Protecting working forests in times of growth

Protecting working forests in times of growth

As Washington’s population continues to grow, many newcomers from other parts of the country or world may end up buying a home or property...

2019 Washington state legislative session

Washington state's 2019 legislative session begins today. Visit Lens for the latest business news.
High court rejects Seattle income tax case

High court rejects Seattle income tax case

The Washington State Supreme Court this week declined to make a direct review of a lawsuit filed against the city of Seattle’s income tax...

T-Mobile tops Verizon in quarterly gains

Bellevue company adds 1.4 million customers

Seattle home prices fall further

Seattle median home prices are now $100,000 cheaper than they were last spring. In a year, the King County condo price rose by .06...
Seattle appeals hotel worker ruling

Seattle appeals hotel worker ruling

Last month, the Washington Court of Appeals ruled against a voter initiative intended to protect hotel workers from assault by guests, though hospitality groups...

Seattle requests high court uphold hotel workers law

The city of Seattle will ask the state Supreme Court to review a case involving a voter-approved city law that was struck down by...

Some retailers suffer low Christmas sales

Macy’s sees shares drop
Driverless car potential meets reality

Driverless car potential meets reality

After a few years of strong optimism regarding driverless cars and their potential to radically transform the way people live and travel, recent incidents...

Senate bill would ban city street tolling

Senate Bill 5014 filed by Sen. Tim Sheldon (D-35) would prohibit local governments from imposing tolls on local roads, an idea the city of...

Internet faster after net neutrality repeal

Internet connection speeds up by a third
Mounting tension between China, U.S.

U.S., China continue trade talks

Progress being made

Study: consumers hit by Seattle soda tax

A new study by the University of Washington has concluded that the burden of Seattle’s soda tax fell almost entirely on consumers. The 1.75...
Boosting salmon production

Boosting salmon production

Last year, Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) released 137 million salmon from its hatcheries, the lowest production year ever for the...
Mortgage rates at eight-month low

Mortgage rates at eight-month low

Rate below five percent

“If I would predict anything about this period, it probably won’t be as tough...

- Former Gov. Dan Evans on traffic congestion caused by the three week Highway 99 closure

Kroger opens experimental stores

Kroger has remodeled its QFC store in Redmond with experimental features including digital shelves and product tracking. The features rely on a cloud-based system...

A tenth of Seattle apartments empty

The Seattle Times reports that one in 10 Seattle apartments are empty, resulting in lower rent rates as landlords try to filling vacant units. According...

$30 car tab initiative to be on ballot

Initiative filer Tim Eyman says that he has enough signatures to get I-976 on the ballot this November. If approved by voters, it would cut all car-tab...
Another crack at car tab reform

Another crack at car tab reform

Last year’s legislative session ended with lawmakers yet again unable to agree on relief for Puget Sound drivers paying the new motor vehicle excise...

U.S. stocks drop, Apple shares plummet

U.S. stocks experienced another large drop Thursday following an announcement by Apple that iPhone sales in China had slowed. The news caused the company's...
Study ranks states most affected by government shutdown

Study ranks states most affected by government shutdown

Washington 18th most affected, says new study
Trump: Ramp up logging on federal land

Trump: Ramp up logging on federal land

Since 1986, timber harvests on Washington forestland managed by federal agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) has decreased from 1.4 billion board...
Tesla shares jump after settlement reached

Telsa reduces prices, stock drops

The Associated Press reports that Tesla plans to cut vehicle prices by $2,000 after revealing lower-than expected sales. Following the announcement, shares fell 7.2 percent....

Long-term mortgage rates drop

U.S. 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages have dropped from 4.62 percent to 4.55 percent. The average rate a year ago was 3.99 percent. Read more here.
Time to adopt minimum residential density standard

Time to adopt minimum residential density standard

The 2019 legislative session is just over the horizon and political momentum to tackle our region’s affordable housing shortage is growing.  This confluence means...
New rules on overtime pay raise concerns for retailers

New rules on overtime pay raise concerns for retailers

For most of this year, Washington State’s Department of Labor & Industries has been working to update rules that govern which employees can qualify...

Sears dodges liquidation with buyout bid

Fox Business reports that Sears dodged liquidation last week following a buyout bid from its former CEO. Eddie Lampert is offering $1.5 billion in...

Amazon to expand Whole Foods stores

Amazon has announced plans to open new Whole Food stores within range of its Prime Now two-hour delivery service. The company also plans to...

U.S. stocks on losing streak

U.S. stocks have experienced a volatile week of selloffs followed by major gains, then minor losses. Now, the top three major indexes are now...

Wells Fargo to pay states $575 million over claims

The Wall Street Journal reports that Wells Fargo will pay more than a dozen states $575 million to settle claims related to a fake-account...

Growth of U.S. home prices fell in October

The growth of U.S. home sales fell in October from 5.2 percent to 5 percent, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index....
Stocks fall with rising interest rates

U.S. stocks drop after rally

Fox Business reports that after a 1,000 point rally, U.S. stocks dropped Thursday with further selloffs. The Nasdaq Composite is looking at its worst...
Are I-405 tolls ‘good to go’?

Are I-405 tolls ‘good to go’?

The 15-mile northern segment of Interstate 405 from Bellevue to Lynnwood has now had dynamic tolling in place on two lanes for over three...

U.S. stocks increase after selloffs

U.S. stocks recovered somewhat the day after Christmas following four sessions of selloffs. The S&P 500 increased by 2.4 percent, while the Nasdaq Composite...
Seattle drops from top cities for home price growth

Seattle drops from top cities for home price growth

After two years of leading the U.S. in housing market growth, Seattle has dropped from the top three cities for home sale increases. The...
Advances in taking mass timber mainstream

Advances in taking mass timber mainstream

As Washington looks to bring cross-laminated timber (CLT) into mainstream construction use, the International Code Council (ICC) has announced code change proposals that would...
Employers prep for paid leave

Employers prep for paid leave

With the phase-in period for paid family and medical leave just around the corner, two members of the Paid Family and Medical Leave Advisory...

Stocks drop amid fears of government shutdown

Worst month since the Great Depression

AI increasingly a threat to jobs

As more advancements are made in automation, more wokers' jobs are put at risk…

Fed to raise interest rates

Market downturn draws concerns
I-5 bridge talks back to drawing board

I-5 bridge talks back to drawing board

After years of effort by state and local lawmakers as well as business groups, the Joint Oregon-Washington Legislative Action Committee finally met last week...
Apple picking

Ag stakeholders: Farm bill a win for WA

Representatives from Washington’s ag community and U.S. lawmakers say the recently passed farm bill is important for providing certainty for the state’s farmers and...

Apple needs additional Seattle space for planned growth

Apple must find more office space to reach its 2022 growth goal.
businessmen shaking hands

Boosting business through responsible growth

For middle market companies, business success and responsible growth aren’t mutually exclusive. In fact, prioritizing responsible growth is becoming increasingly important as successful companies...

“I’m not sure that all of the three — if any — have legs.”

- Sen. Dean Takko (D-19) on three tax proposals in Governor Inslee’s operating budget.
Stocks fall with rising interest rates

Investors hope for “Christmas miracle” rebound

First annual decline since 2015
readthedirt.org

Lawmaker: DNR proposal “Spotted Owl 2.0”

A proposal by the state Department of Natural Resources could “lay off” thousands of acres of working forests in western Washington as part of...
Sound Transit CEO could get $16,000 bonus

Sound Transit CEO could get $16,000 bonus

CEO previously denied raise
: Inslee’s budget proposal includes income tax

Inslee’s budget proposal includes income tax

After unveiling a series of clean energy proposals earlier this week devoid of a new tax, Governor Jay Inslee is now proposing a nine...

Amazon tests small sized “Go” stores

Amazon is testing smaller cashierless stores...
Noel Christmas Trees

Local businesses navigate Christmas tree shortage

‘Tis the season for Christmas tree selling, and Washington’s tree selling businesses and tree farms are busy cycling in trees so community members can...
Spokane County votes to open collective bargaining to public

Spokane County votes to open collective bargaining to public

Largest county to open union talks
Assessing road user charge pilot program

Assessing road user charge pilot program

With the conclusion of the state’s road user charge (RUC) pilot program next month, the Washington State Transportation Commission (WSTC) is already examining some...
video

Video: ‘Tis the season of trees

Lens interviewed Northwest Landscape Supply Owner Gary Fruhling and Bellevue resident Jeanne Ulstein to get their perspectives on the competition that Christmas tree selling...

Northwest apple sector concerned over possible India tariff

Northwest apple growers and packers say they are concerned about movement of crops while navigating tariffs…
Inslee announces new energy proposals

Inslee announces new energy proposals

After Washington voters overwhelming rejected a carbon tax proposal under Initiative 1631 in November, Governor Jay Inslee is once more turning to the state...
Cashier at store

Business community concerned over proposed overtime changes

Representatives from the business community say that while they appreciate efforts made by the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) to update its overtime...

“It’s a much more favorable market for a buyer today, especially as you go...

- Peng Tea, a John L. Scott broker on Seattle metro’s housing market.

Delayed Brexit cause stocks to tumble

Dow Jones drops more than 400 points
American entrepreneurs return from China

American entrepreneurs return from China

New regulations, taxes send them home
Cleansing fire: Restoring Washington’s forestland

Cleansing fire: Restoring Washington’s forestland

In 2016, the Washington state legislature directed the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to conduct a prescribed burn pilot project to explore the...
Gauging Washington’s transportation goals

Gauging Washington’s transportation goals

The Washington State Department of Transportation’s (WSDOT) Gray Notebook is the state agency’s quarterly performance report. First published in 2001, it is now considered...

KeyArena rennovation to cost $850 million

Developer Oak View Group announces latest KeyArena revamp cost estimate

U.S. coal consumption lowest since 1979

Strong competition from cheaper natural gas
Should Washington’s tax system change?

Should Washington’s tax system change?

Many Washingtonians loathe the business and occupation (B&O) tax, and they’re not finished giving their thoughts on how to improve the state’s tax structure....

Seattle approved for NHL team

Seattle is cleared for a NHL team to begin in the 2021-22 season
Taking mass timber mainstream

Taking mass timber mainstream

The Washington State Building Code Council took a major step last week toward broader use of cross-laminated timber (CLT), or “mass timber, in building...
Boeing Factory

Preparing students for the manufacturing skills gap

New data suggests that the U.S. manufacturing field will experience a significant skills gap in the next decade. Washington state stakeholders recommend that the...

U.S., Canada, Mexico  sign new trade deal

New pact updates free-trade zones
Seattle housing construction

Seattle’s housing market cools

Seattle’s housing prices have declined at one of the fastest rates in the country over the late summer into the fall months. Coupled with...
How the tariffs stole Christmas?

How the tariffs stole Christmas?

Trade dispute hits tree light prices

U.S. economy expands 3.5 percent in Q3

U.S. economy Q3 growth was strong, but not as strong as Q2…
Fighting for future of farming

Fighting for future of farming

As the dust settles from the Nov. 6 election, members of Washington’s agricultural industry are preparing for next year’s legislative session and what they...

“It’s not often that we suggest following California’s lead on something.”

- The Tri-City Herald Editorial Board on eliminating daylight savings
Stocks fall with rising interest rates

Stock market sees gains after Fed chairman remarks

Fed chairman says rates increase will be slower
Auditor: Charter schools too new gauge effectiveness

Auditor: Charter schools too new to gauge effectiveness

Washington state charter schools are still too new to determine how effective they are at educating students in their classrooms, according to a new...
Small business food shop

Implementing tariffs “playing with fire”

A panel featuring representatives from small business, agriculture and the trade sector met in Seattle this month to discuss – and humanize – the...

Thurston County employment holds steady

Thurston County maintains its lower unemployment rate…
GM to lay off more than 14,000 workers

GM to lay off more than 14,000 workers

Job loss affects 6,000 factory workers
Amazon Go Store

Future of work in an automated world

Members of Washington’s Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board (WTB) are recommending to the legislature that the state and its businesses should refocus efforts...
Time for a tax cut?

Time for a tax cut?

New tax revenue continues to pour into Washington state’s coffers, to the point where some government reform experts and state lawmakers say it’s time...
All-cash home buyers must reveal themselves

All-cash home buyers in King County must reveal themselves

New federal rule against money laundering
The push for active forest management

The push for active forest management

As the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) submits its largest firefighting budget request ever, it is also implementing its 20-year forest health plan...

Wine stakeholders discuss outlook

Wine professionals discuss latest trends for production and sales…
Student studying

Call to expand state financial aid

New research reveals that states should do a better job of including adults in financial aid programs to reach attainment goals. The data also...
More stores to remain closed for Thanksgiving

More stores to remain closed for Thanksgiving

The Seattle Times reports that more and more stores are closing for Thanksgiving due to the rise in online retail activity. The list of...
Task force recommends dam removal study

Task force recommends dam removal study

The state Southern Resident Killer Whale Task Force created by Governor Jay Inslee has released a list of 36 recommendations on how to aid...
Nurse with patient

Seeking solutions to healthcare employment issues

Employers in Washington’s healthcare sector are struggling with the employment pipeline and retainment, especially in rural areas. Representatives from the sector are now recommending...
Breakthrough coming for forest health efforts?

Breakthrough coming for forest health efforts?

As parts of California are being consumed by what has become the state’s worst wildfire season, Washington state lawmakers and private and public stakeholders...
Flawed conclusions in ocean warming study

Flawed conclusions in ocean warming study

Paper authors say too much uncertainty
The cost of fish barrier removal

The cost of fish barrier removal

A U.S. Supreme Court decision earlier this year upheld a lower court ruling ordering Washington state to remove hundreds of fish barriers that inhibit...

Boeing hints it could move up to 1,6000 jobs to Kent next year…
Aerial view of Spokane

Retooling Spokane’s economic development

Organizations representing local businesses and economic development interests have made it known that the previous and existing model for promoting the greater Spokane region...

Plaintiff responds in Seattle income tax lawsuit

Rejects notion of "home rule."
State treasurer opposes public bank

Treasurer opposes public bank

While a $500,00 state-funded study aims to create a proposal for a public state bank funded by taxes and fees, State Treasurer Duane Davidson...

What HQ2 means for Seattle’s housing market

Although Amazon is choosing to expand outside of Washington for its HQ2, it is unlikely Seattle’s housing market will take a dive soon…
City of Bellingham

Port of Bellingham to ramp up cargo capacity

A new agreement will allow the Port of Bellingham to handle more cargo shipments—a move which members of the port and the labor community...

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...
'Black Friday' planned for trout fishing

‘Black Friday’ planned for trout fishing

: State agency to stock lakes
Voters reject carbon tax

Voters reject carbon tax

Washingtonians overwhelming rejected a proposed carbon tax via Initiative 1631 during Tuesday’s election – by a 56-44 percent margin. Despite numerous failed efforts to enact...

Tech sector cites displeasure with H-1B visa rejections

Large tech companies report that the number of H-1B visa denial rates continue to increase…
State revenue good, tariff impacts uncertain

State revenue good, tariff impacts uncertain

Washington state continues to receive surplus revenue, while the impact of new retaliatory tariffs on exports remains uncertain. That was the takeaway from the...
Box of apples

The dangers of tariffs

Leadership representing trade and business agree that tariffs create a long-term hindering effect on Washington state industries and impede the effectiveness of trade until...
Voters approve local food tax ban

Voters approve I-1634 local food tax ban

Latest update shows initiative garnered 54 percent of vote
Decreased bus ridership along future light rail route

Decreased bus ridership along future light rail route

Sound Transit this week will hold a public hearing on proposed changes to bus services to be implemented next March. Among them is the...
Amazon

Amazon’s fulfillment center near Spokane taking shape

Amazon’s fulfillment center near Spokane will provide 1,500 jobs…

“They’re a well-run company, they produce a great product that’s very innovative, and the...

Grant County Economic Development Council Chair Brant Mayo regarding the effect of new tariffs on the REC Silicon manufacturing plant in Moses Lake.

Toys R Us relaunch planned

Stores to reopen next fall
Robotics team

Stakeholders examine future of work

The Future of Work Task Force convened this week to discuss areas of focus in Washington’s educational system in need of change to better...
Coin and magnifying glass

Washington already low-carbon leader, without new I-1631 energy tax

Washington employers, employees and residents share the goal of reducing carbon emissions, as evidenced by state’s low carbon footprint. Despite a 43 percent growth in...

Starbucks reports record sales

Company shares also jump
Little margin for error with carbon tax

Little margin for error with carbon tax

If Initiative 1631 is approved by voters next week as part of an effort to reduce Washington’s already low carbon emissions, there would be...

Good news for Spokane County jobs rate

Spokane County’s jobs rate improves…
Voters approve local food tax ban

I-1634’s fight against local grocery taxes

For some backers of Initiative 1634, the measure is meant to prohibit local government from enacting soda taxes out of fear that ordinances like...
Amazon value drops by $250 billion

Amazon value drops by $250 billion

A 25 percent value drop in a month