“Pure politics” charge against Rossi’s bill doesn’t make much sense

If you read Smarter Government Washington, you know I think the way state government bargains with state employees is terribly flawed. It concentrates too much power in the governor’s hands. It cuts legislators out of the process, even though employee salaries are one of the biggest items the state funds. After the package is negotiated […]

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. […]

People, small businesses under gov’t glare deserve to know their rights

Most of our interactions with government are like stopping by the local DOL office to renew your license: pretty mundane, and it’ll probably take longer than you’d like. If you or a business of yours has ever been the subject of an investigation or enforcement action, however, you know how stressful it can be to […]

Never-give-up income taxers hope Sup. Court grants their most cherished wish

Washington Democrats’ desire for a state income tax is relentless. The national party symbol is the donkey, but perhaps Rick Astley is a more suitable inspiration for local Dems – they’re never gonna give up on a state income tax. As long as Washington remains one of nine states without an income tax, state Democrats […]

“After-the-fact” fix emblematic of collective bargaining problems

Lobbyists for state employee unions testified in Olympia recently in favor of HB 1521 and HB 1434, two innocuous-sounding bills regarding employee benefits. But with some ambiguous hem-and-haw language in their testimony, the labor lobbyists glossed over a key fact: the benefits the two bills would grant were already bargained into being by their unions […]

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, […]

Dino Rossi returns to Olympia with a really smart idea

Sometimes a proposal in Olympia has such a force of logic behind it, and is so clearly the right thing to do, that you know it’s probably doomed. Sen. Dino Rossi is prime-sponsoring one such brilliant and necessary bill. The Legislature suffered a terrible loss when Sen. Andy Hill died, but Rossi has stepped into […]

It’s time to move on from the death penalty in Washington

Last week, I joined a bipartisan group of legislators and Attorney General Bob Ferguson in Olympia to support a bill that would repeal the death penalty in our state. The repeal would not be retroactive; those who sit on death row today would still be under the sentence they received for the murders they committed. […]