“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 […]

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 […]

Seattle needs to get real on housing costs – the whole region does

Raise your hand if you think the best way to make housing more affordable is to impose new costs on developments. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Of course, there are some who think that makes perfect sense. Some on the Seattle City Council are forever cooking up new ways to “raise costs for affordability.” On KIRO Radio […]

McKenna on KIRO: Oregon engineer fined for saying he’s an engineer

KIRO 97.3 host Dave Ross asked Rob about the case of Mats Järlström of Beaverton, Oregon, who appealed a red light camera ticket, noting problems with the yellow light timing. He brought the issue to the attention of the Oregon State Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying. The board was not only uninterested, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Two years later, port strife still hurting Washington farms, businesses

We all value dependability, and not just in friends and Oldsmobiles. Buyers of Washington’s exports value local firms’ supply chain consistency, but that reputation took a hit during the port slowdown of 2014-15. Trucks and barges backed up, product rotted, and overseas customers had to look elsewhere for goods that before had been reliably supplied […]