State, federal governments are both hurting rural economies

If you’re an economic conservative, you probably think there isn’t much government can do to create a strong economy. Infrastructure is necessary, as is an educated workforce. But government’s best role is in not mucking things up. Unfortunately our state and national governments are making mistakes right now that are mucking things up. In both […]

Housing: We can build up, build out, or accept astronomical prices

I am frequently confounded by what passes for housing policy in Seattle. City government has lots of ideas on affordable housing and no clue on how to actually make housing more affordable. Or maybe it’s more of a matter of no interest than no clue. The Seattle City Council seems more focused on “affordable housing” […]

McKenna on KIRO: Olympia can stop Seattle’s head tax

KIRO 97.3 host Dave Ross asked Rob about Seattle’s authority to levy a head tax, or employee tax. When the Legislature reconvenes, state Sen. Mark Schoesler (R-Ritzville) says he will introduce a bill that explicitly prevents cities and counties from levying head taxes. Dave Ross: “So there’s nothing against the law about it as passed…but […]

The three H’s – heroin, homelessness, and the head tax – hurting Seattle’s reputation

Has Seattle’s leadership lost its collective mind? Many are wondering lately. A glance at the headlines shows a city government that is of activist groups, by activist groups, and for activist groups. Because let’s be honest, it not average everyday voters who are pushing a head tax that will reduce jobs in the city. They’re […]

Despite promise to “protect” them, trade spats are bad news for Washington farmers

It seemed, for a moment, like a bright spot on trade: A year after pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), President Trump suggested last week that the U.S. might rejoin the trade agreement. That was a welcome prospect for Washington farmers and others who are nervously watching other countries forge closer trade ties while […]

Free trade isn’t academic: Washington farmers need new markets

Everything we do has an opportunity cost, as hopefully some patient civics or economics teacher once instructed you. If I go to the Oregon-UW game tonight, I can’t go to the 7:30 Garth Brooks concert at the T-Dome. If WSDOT spends $100 million on a new bridge, that’s $100 million it can’t spend on new […]

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, […]

The ridiculous idea that new fees don’t raise housing prices

Any political movement has its shibboleths and sacred cows. There are beliefs that must not be deviated from to be a member in good standing, and “truths” that aren’t really true. It’s good to see stale ideas get challenged, regardless of where on the political spectrum the debate is happening. In this age of social […]

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 […]