“The tariff is the meanest robber”

A month ago Mary spoke with Jon DeVaney of the Washington State Tree Fruit Association in a Policy Today episode about trade.

Washington’s workers’ compensation benefit costs are again the highest in the country

The National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) released its annual workers’ compensation report today. For 2014 (there is a data lag), Washington’s benefit costs were the highest in the nation at $825.33 per covered worker. The states with the next highest benefit costs were California ($776.86), Alaska ($682.06), and Wyoming ($665.56). Washington has consistently ranked first by this measure.

Washington's minimum wage will increase in 2017, whether or not I-1433 approved

Washington's minimum wage will increase next year to $9.53 per hour, according to the Department of Labor & Industries.

The increase will occur because the Consumer Price Index (CPI) has increased, and the minimum wage in our state is indexed to inflation. The minimum wage has been $9.47 since 2015 -- CPI declined in 2015, so the 2016 minimum wage remained at the 2015 level.

Growth Management Act: Time for a change?

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.

Common Ground podcast: Joel Connelly reflects on politics, government and journalism

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!

Seattle's new job-scheduling mandate: Union recruiting tool?

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,

Affordable housing in Seattle: a touchy subject

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.

Aerospace tax incentives could help lure startup to Seattle

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.

Policy Today podcast: Trade & Washington's Tree Fruit Industry (including apples)

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.

Previewing tomorrow's McCleary hearing

Tomorrow the state Supreme Court will hear arguments in the McCleary case, after which it will decide whether to continue sanctions on the Legislature. The News Tribune has a preview of what could happen.

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