Remove barriers to help counties not participating in the “Seattle boom”

Perhaps no legislator has done more to bring attention to our state’s rural economies than Rep. JT Wilcox (R-Yelm). On occasions when the spotlight is on the “Goliaths” of our economy, such as Boeing, Wilcox asks what the Legislature can do to give a boost to the Davids too, including in our rural areas. This […]

Ending unnecessary licensing is about your right to make a living

Ours is a pretty divided nation these days, it’s hard to deny. That makes it all the more heartening to see issues where there is growing consensus in both parties. We’ve seen that in Republicans and Democrats alike rethinking our civil asset forfeiture laws (though the president has expressed some support for them). They’re questioning […]

Help on the way for rural areas? Fix to water ruling is critical

Last fall, a state Supreme Court ruling in a water case severely curtailed economic development in rural Washington and hurt families who were just following the rules. Known as the Hirst decision, it was a major hit to areas that aren’t a part of the Seattle-area tech boom. The case, which originated in Whatcom County, […]

Typical EPA overreach will mean higher water bills for you

The Environmental Protection Agency has decreed that Washington’s new stringent water quality standards aren’t stringent enough. The federal agency rejected significant portions of our state’s rule, calling instead for levels of water purity that can’t be achieved currently. It’s yet another example of federal regulatory overreach into the states. The EPA is rejecting valid state-driven […]

Our state election was important too – what will it mean for 2017?

All eyes were on the national election last week, understandably, but our state tallied some important results too. What will they mean for smarter government in 2017? Legislature: When legislators return to the capitol in January to tackle the remaining work on McCleary (realistically this will occupy almost the entirety of the Legislature’s attention), the […]

Paychecks in WA depend on free trade – spurning it would be a mistake

I should start this column by acknowledging that I wasn’t a fan of Donald Trump’s in the race for the Republican nomination. A successful federal government depends in part on an effective president, however, and is one component of a successful America. It is, though, but one of many components. Ronald Reagan believed, and the […]

Let’s not be glib about dams – they help power Washington’s economy

Washington state’s dams, power-producing and not, have been much in the news lately. A WSU study suggests that dams are not as carbon-neutral as we might assume, because reservoirs produce methane – at least initially. A judge says the federal government must consider breaching dams on the lower Snake River as one of the options […]

The problem of the working-age non-workers

This week Jon Talton, who could be fairly described as the left-of-center business columnist for the Seattle Times, highlighted some interesting stats on our state’s economy from Pew’s “The Fiscal 50” report. One piece of good news from the report for Washington: Our pension liabilities are comparatively not awful. Not-so-good is Washington’s percentage of working-age […]

Sawant’s attacks on minimum wage study are purely political

In the 2015 book Superforecasting, Dr. Philip Tetlock explored humans’ ability to predict future events (e.g., the price of oil, Russian military excursions, which cities ISIS would seize) and why some people are better forecasters than others. His research makes clear that people who are more ideological aren’t as good at crafting accurate forecasts. In […]

Do we care about teen employment?

I’ve mentioned to you before my first real job as a teenager and what it meant for me. It was nothing ground-breaking, just the usual burger-flipping job at McDonald’s. But that’s not to say it wasn’t important. I learned a lot there: Showing up on time, working with others, monitoring several tasks at once, having […]