Today we're publishing a new Special Report, "The Expanded SEPA [State Environmental Policy Act] Has Reduced Regulatory Certainty in Washington." You can read the report here.
In 2013 and 2014, the state Department of Ecology expanded the scope of review for the purposes of the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) beyond state borders, in a seemingly arbitrary manner.
We've put together a Policy Brief - which you can read in full here - on I-732, the statewide initiative on the November ballot that would create a new carbon tax in Washington.
Washington's Business and Occupation (B&O) tax stands out as one of the few gross receipts taxes (GRTs) still around in America. Last week the Tax Foundation wrote critically of GRTs, noting that
Though gross receipts taxes are business taxes and as such are sometimes viewed as progressive, in reality, they have potential to be more regressive than sales taxes as they pyramid and are passed on to consumers.
On Sept. 20, the state House Local Government Committee held a work session in Olympia to review the Growth Management Act, Washington's comprehensive land-use planning law which has been in effect for 25 years. It was part of a larger effort by the committee to consider changes to the law.
At this meeting, the topics of discussion were: 1) The pros and cons of the GMA, and 2) What works and what doesn't.
We're delighted to have as our guest Joel Connelly, longtime scribe for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Joel regales us with tales from his career in journalism covering politics and environmental issues, plus his earlier days as a volunteer for Eugene McCarthy in the 1968 presidential campaign and staffer for George McGovern in '72. Politics has certainly changed over the years: Joel notes that campaign fundraisers not only used to be open to the press, but they were bipartisan!
To the surprise of no one, the Seattle City Council yesterday approved the most restrictive employee-scheduling mandate in the country. Coined "secure scheduling" by the labor groups that backed the effort to pass it, the new law - which goes into effect next July - is far-reaching. As The Seattle Times reports,
Housing in Seattle proper, and the greater Seattle region, is expensive. And with many more residents expected to settle here in the coming years, people are looking for ways to increase the housing supply. But adding more housing - especially within the City of Seattle itself - is proving to be a highly controversial issue.
The Puget Sound Business Journal reported earlier this week on some new business that may be coming Washington state's way:
Spike Aerospace, a Boston startup developing an ambitious new supersonic business jet, is talking with Washington state officials and aerospace suppliers about possibly locating its new manufacturing plant in Seattle.
Washington's apple industry alone accounts for 40,000 jobs in this state. Add to apples our state's other tree fruit crops - cherries, pears, peaches and the like - and you've got a major economic driver. In this episode we talk with the president of the Washington State Tree Fruit Association, Jon DeVaney, about the importance of international trade agreements to keeping the sector healthy and competitive. As Jon points out, trade agreements lead to predictable, consistent trade rules for Washington apples, one-third of which are exported overseas.