State tax increases: There’s simply no need

It happens every year: Work in Olympia on the state budget doesn’t really get underway until the revenue forecast comes out. Then, lawmakers have a clearer idea of how much money they have to work with and can set their negotiating strategies. The latest revenue forecast came out Thursday, and it’s all positive news. In […]

2018 Legislature: The “don’t expect too much” session

Gov. Jay Inslee already rolled out his supplemental budget proposal and laid out his legislative priorities for 2018. He wants a carbon tax, and he wants a quick ramp-up of teacher salaries. Legislative leaders…well, they’re not really leaping to embrace Inslee’s agenda. I’m not talking about Republican legislative leaders; there would be nothing surprising about […]

Lawmakers receive capital gains tax lesson in Seattle income tax ruling

There is a very important lesson for Governor Inslee and lawmakers from last week’s court ruling invalidating Seattle’s income tax. In rejecting Seattle’s argument that its income tax is actually an excise tax, Judge Ruhl said you can’t redefine an income tax as an excise tax to get around legal restrictions. Judge Ruhl pointed to this prior […]

Dems run the show. What now for state government?

Well, it happened: With a flip of one seat in Tuesday’s election, Democrats will now control the state Senate. Manka Dhingra, the Democratic candidate to succeed Republican Sen. Andy Hill in the 45th District, emerged victorious, so now Democrats will control both houses of the legislature and the governor’s office. The result in the 45th […]

McKenna on KIRO: Is the McCleary case finally over?

KIRO 97.3 host Dave Ross asked Rob about the latest state Supreme Court hearing on the McCleary education funding case that has roiled state government for over five years. Justices asked tough questions of both sides in Tuesday’s hearing. Dave Ross: “The other thing is, critics point out that while the state is providing more […]

Seattle driving away Amazon is not our state’s only economic worry: Water ruling, stifled building damaging our economy, hugely

$6.9 billion in lost economic activity annually. 9,300 jobs and $52 million in employee wages, gone. No, I’m not talking about Amazon’s recent announcement. These staggering figures are the estimate of what it will cost us if legislators and the governor continue to do nothing about fixing the Hirst decision. And while Amazon’s news is extremely worrisome, it directly […]

Amazon expanding elsewhere: Sawant ready to storm the barricades

It certainly was a Thursday morning jolt – no espresso needed. Amazon announced it is seeking to build a second headquarters that will be “a full equal” to its Seattle HQ and “a second home.” The Seattle Times reports: “The company, still growing quickly in the city where it has been based for 22 years, […]

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. […]

McKenna on KIRO: Seattle’s “democracy vouchers” under challenge

KIRO 97.3 host Dave Ross asked Rob about a legal challenge to Seattle’s “democracy voucher” program. Under the program, every Seattle voter automatically receives four $25 vouchers that they can sign over to Seattle political candidates, who turn them in to the city for campaign dollars. The vouchers are funded by an increase in the […]

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. […]