State teachers union’s radio ad is one big lie

We’re living in an era of extreme political voices, especially at the national level. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery then our state teachers union, the WEA, must be blushing. Ratcheting up the pressure, truth be damned, has been its M.O. for some time now. The group is running newspaper ads and a […]

Seattle soda tax: Doing good or do-gooderism?

Seattle and taxes go together like peas and carrots. Just about every special tax levy to go before Seattle voters in recent years has passed: the low-income housing levy, a Seattle schools levy, the ST3 package, the Prop. 1 Metro bus levy, parks, city streets, and more. This year, Seattle is considering a city income […]

Teacher shortage? Sort of, but incentive pay could help fix it

That our schools face a teacher shortage is something that has been repeated so often, it’s taken to be true. One new study aimed to quantify the problem. So is there a teacher shortage? Not really. At least, there’s no shortage of teachers generally. But the study did find a dearth of teachers in some […]

Inslee politicizes process for export project – to Longview’s detriment

Any large project in Washington must go through an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process. In the main, that’s a good thing. An EIS is how we spot environmental problems that could arise and identify how to mitigate those problems. That’s the theory, and for a long time, that’s been the practice in our state. But […]

Senate GOP taxes Dems’ patience

When something hits a little too close to home, we say it struck a nerve. A recent parliamentary move by Senate Republicans in Olympia did just that with legislative Democrats. They’ve been buzzing about it louder than the “Operation” guy. It was a simple idea. Since House Democrats haven’t bothered to vote on the tax […]

Here’s a thought: Open up secret negotiations and legislators’ records

We don’t make a lot of exceptions to this one: If you’re a public official in this state, you’re subject to the Public Records Act. Citizens can request your work documents and schedule, your e-mails and briefing materials. It’s important for building trust in the system and holding officials accountable. The Public Records Act applies […]

Coming soon? Gas tax info, right at the pump

Paying taxes has been pretty low on people’s “fun” list for some time now, and paying them these days can give you a headache. Just ask the last-minute filers scrambling to finish their income tax returns this week. They re-learned an annual lesson: our federal tax system is immensely complicated. Giving over your hard-earned dollars […]

We’ll have to force government to be more transparent

Open data – perhaps one of the nerdier and more obscure topics we discuss with some regularity on SGW – is clearly the future of government information. The clumsy, time-consuming ask-and-approve public records request system is the past. It’s a creaky old way of doing things that is due for an update. Proacatively publishing government […]

Inslee conveys that our rural areas’ concerns aren’t very important

Our state’s rural areas have been left in the lurch by the state Supreme Court’s 2016 Hirst decision that greatly raises costs on wells for homes. Critics of the decision have complained that the court has stepped beyond its proper role and is acting like a policy-setting body. The court’s decision effectively halted homebuilding in […]

New technology has potential to benefit environment and bolster state dairies

Dairy farmers in Washington are besieged. I’m frequently impressed by their stewardship and their adaptability, but they face a well-funded opposition for whom their efforts are never enough. For instance, the state Department of Ecology passed expensive new regulations, forcing family farmers to fight for reasonable changes (and those were blasted by opponents). Outside groups […]