Mighty big assumptions that capital gains income tax would be offset

Ostensibly, lawmakers in Olympia are arguing over education funding. The debate over how to finally and fully fund the state’s McCleary obligations is seemingly about schools. In reality, education funding is where legislators have the most agreement, broadly speaking. They might be arguing about the how, but they’re not far apart about the how much. […]

The seemingly impossible task of reducing government red tape

Like kudzu – or, around here, Himalayan blackberry – it is the nature of the Regulatory State to expand, rapidly. It justifies itself by proliferating new regulations, and by expanding into new areas. One of the top concerns cited by businesses seeking to grow is the ever-rising number of rules and regulations to follow, and […]

Two years later, port strife still hurting Washington farms, businesses

We all value dependability, and not just in friends and Oldsmobiles. Buyers of Washington’s exports value local firms’ supply chain consistency, but that reputation took a hit during the port slowdown of 2014-15. Trucks and barges backed up, product rotted, and overseas customers had to look elsewhere for goods that before had been reliably supplied […]

Remove barriers to help counties not participating in the “Seattle boom”

Perhaps no legislator has done more to bring attention to our state’s rural economies than Rep. JT Wilcox (R-Yelm). On occasions when the spotlight is on the “Goliaths” of our economy, such as Boeing, Wilcox asks what the Legislature can do to give a boost to the Davids too, including in our rural areas. This […]

Ending unnecessary licensing is about your right to make a living

Ours is a pretty divided nation these days, it’s hard to deny. That makes it all the more heartening to see issues where there is growing consensus in both parties. We’ve seen that in Republicans and Democrats alike rethinking our civil asset forfeiture laws (though the president has expressed some support for them). They’re questioning […]

Help on the way for rural areas? Fix to water ruling is critical

Last fall, a state Supreme Court ruling in a water case severely curtailed economic development in rural Washington and hurt families who were just following the rules. Known as the Hirst decision, it was a major hit to areas that aren’t a part of the Seattle-area tech boom. The case, which originated in Whatcom County, […]

Typical EPA overreach will mean higher water bills for you

The Environmental Protection Agency has decreed that Washington’s new stringent water quality standards aren’t stringent enough. The federal agency rejected significant portions of our state’s rule, calling instead for levels of water purity that can’t be achieved currently. It’s yet another example of federal regulatory overreach into the states. The EPA is rejecting valid state-driven […]

Our state election was important too – what will it mean for 2017?

All eyes were on the national election last week, understandably, but our state tallied some important results too. What will they mean for smarter government in 2017? Legislature: When legislators return to the capitol in January to tackle the remaining work on McCleary (realistically this will occupy almost the entirety of the Legislature’s attention), the […]

Paychecks in WA depend on free trade – spurning it would be a mistake

I should start this column by acknowledging that I wasn’t a fan of Donald Trump’s in the race for the Republican nomination. A successful federal government depends in part on an effective president, however, and is one component of a successful America. It is, though, but one of many components. Ronald Reagan believed, and the […]

Let’s not be glib about dams – they help power Washington’s economy

Washington state’s dams, power-producing and not, have been much in the news lately. A WSU study suggests that dams are not as carbon-neutral as we might assume, because reservoirs produce methane – at least initially. A judge says the federal government must consider breaching dams on the lower Snake River as one of the options […]