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 […]

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 […]

McKenna on KIRO: Seattle city council wants an income tax

KIRO 97.3 host Dave Ross asked Rob about the Seattle City Council’s drive to pass a city income tax. Advocates of a state income tax are trying to pass an income tax somewhere in Washington to set up a test case at the state Supreme Court. Dave Ross: “We should just say up front, you […]

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 […]

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 […]

Seattle’s “democracy voucher” program a confusing waste of money

Seattle is rolling out its new “democracy voucher” program, and apparently it’s leaving residents a little confused. Does it surprise anyone that this bad idea is proving confounding? Seattle voters passed the tax-dollars-for-campaign-donations program by initiative, so they gave it an affirmative yes. That doesn’t mean they have any idea what the vouchers are when […]

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 […]

McKenna on KIRO: Income tax vote in Olympia

KIRO 97.3 host Dave Ross asked Rob about the city income tax on the ballot in Olympia. Supporters admit that it’s simply a way to try to get an income tax case before the state Supreme Court, with the eventual goal of a statewide progressive income tax. Dave Ross: “Whether you endorse this or not, […]

Little Lincoln County seen as big threat to union secrecy

Who’s afraid of open contract negotiations? Clearly government employee unions are. They see open negotiations as a big threat, so they’re responding with threats. Spokesman-Review columnist Sue Lani Madsen, proving that columnists can do pretty good original reporting too, captured the not-so-subtle intimidation leveled at Lincoln County Commissioners last week. The commissioners want to allow […]

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 […]