No fix needed? Evidence of negative Hirst consequences piling up

You can see it as a sign of hope or a futile gesture. Key legislators beat the heat in a cool basement conference room in Olympia this week to restart talks on finding a fix to the unfortunate Hirst water decision. At this point any sign of movement is a good thing. Since talks fell […]

Income tax a big dividing line in WA, but Seattle’s case is going nowhere

One of the clearest dividing lines in Washington state politics is our lack of a state income tax. Many on the left view an income tax as the path to a fairer tax system. To most everyone on the right, it looks like just one more way to let government chip away at your paycheck. […]

On minimum wage, Seattle officials refuse to listen to info they don’t like

“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts,” the saying goes. It’s never as simple as that, of course, especially in politics. But the sentiment is a good one – facts are supposed to inform public policy, not just opinions and ideology. What we instead see too often is ideology driving […]

Democrats howl over Hirst, but keep these things in mind

There has been plenty of indignation expressed – some real, some with crocodile tears – since legislators adjourned without passing a construction budget or a fix to the state Supreme Court’s Hirst decision. Much editorial ink has been spilled since then. The Hirst decision reaches a conclusion about growth management law that legislators never intended. […]

Sewage treatment failure – is local government getting the basics right?

Given the Pacific Northwest’s reputation, if you told people around the country that our region’s largest sewage treatment plant is easily paralyzed by large rainfalls – well, they’d probably find that funny. A “catastrophic event” at King County’s West Point sewage treatment plant within Discovery Park last February resulted in “235 million gallons of untreated […]

Government takes people’s stuff without a conviction or even charges. That’s wrong

You can say this about U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions: He doesn’t mind swimming against the tide. That can be an admirable trait, depending on the issue. Increasing the use of civil asset forfeiture (CAF) is the wrong issue. Sessions announced this week that he is undoing the modest CAF reforms put in place by […]

“Morally repugnant”? No, it’s simply what rural families need

Too many Washington families are caught in a judicial and bureaucratic limbo thanks to the state Supreme Court’s Hirst decision. The case is about so much more than water – it’s about, as Madilynne Clark of the Washington Policy Center wrote, “two of the most fundamental necessities – homes and livelihoods.” The court’s decision has […]

Logic prevails: Legislators go with a levy swap

After all that – the years of court hearings, legislative debates, campaign promises and contempt fines – the Legislature’s main McCleary solution is (drumroll please): A levy swap. Hey, that sounds familiar. Not that the ultimate budget package had anything to do with the 2012 campaign. Legislators chose the property tax swap because there is […]

Local shipbuilder’s woes show absurdity of Jones Act

Do you love old buildings? The details and craftsmanship from years past can be impressive, but conditions vary widely. Buildings that are well-maintained and updated can stand for centuries, but some are so old and creaky that they’re beyond saving. Laws are like that too. A law’s foundation can last a long time, if legislators […]

Legislature’s procrastinating reflects the reality of negotiating

Well, it’s really happening again: the Legislature is now in a third overtime session while lawmakers wrangle over a state budget deal. The prospect of a government shutdown is looming once more. If a budget deal isn’t in place by July 1, many state government functions will screech to a halt. Most still expect legislators […]