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 […]

The lie that a capital gains income tax is really an excise tax

In their ongoing quest for “progressivity,” House Democrats in Olympia announced new taxes to pay for their budget proposal, which spends more than the Senate Republicans’ budget. Notably absent was any sort of carbon tax. Despite a Democrat-controlled House and a governor anxious to sign anything with the word “carbon” in it, the votes just […]

This era might change how the left feels about federalism

Federalism – the idea that states retain powers not granted to the federal government and they should exercise them – has long been more popular on the right. With President Trump in the White House and Republican majorities in Congress, the left is discovering, hey, maybe federalism isn’t so bad after all. If federalism gains […]

Constantine wants $469 million arts levy. What about homelessness, roads, crime?

Political candidates love to talk about priorities, but usually it’s only in a fuzzy “fight for what’s important” way. Talking about government’s priorities, after all, is sticky. It requires saying that A is more important than B, and that’s a pretty good way to get B’s fans mad at you. Keeping it all vague is […]

“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. […]

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 […]

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 […]