In a couple of stories yesterday, the Seattle Times writes about a proposal to tax nonresident buyers of Seattle real estate as a way to address the high price of Seattle housing. The Times reports that City Attorney Pete Holmes said such a tax would be illegal.
The State Auditor’s Office has identified several ways to make Washington’s Regulatory Fairness Act work better. This new performance audit is part of a regulatory reform series the SAO began in 2011.
Today's topic is the expanded state environmental regulations that, due to their arbitrary and excessive nature, threaten to send good-paying jobs - many of them union jobs - out of Washington state.
Last month, Gov. Jay Inslee directed the state Department of Ecology to start "writing a rule that would cap and reduce carbon pollution." This directive came after the governor's carbon cap-and-trade proposal died in the 2015 legislative session.
Today we're joined by 10th District state Rep. Norma Smith, R-Clinton, who along with the State Auditor's Office has spearheaded a number of successful bills to make state agencies more efficient and customer-friendly in the way they regulate and issue permits to business owners and startups.
Rep. Smith hopes to reach a point where Washington can have a one-stop portal for people to get information on all the permits they need to open, expand, or continue their business. First, however, there have been and continue to be preliminary steps needed to make state government more customer-friendly. One of her bills, for example, dealt with online availability of license and permit applications. Notes Rep. Smith:
"Even though we had an entire agency dedicated to helping [business owners] know what licenses were out there, we found out only 16 percent of Washington state's licenses were on the BLS [Business Licensing Service] website, and only two of the most 10 requested. So we had to run a bill that told the agencies to do that."