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  • Study: capping rent costs won't help

    Mark Harmsworth|Updated Apr 17, 2024

    In a backwards approach to helping tenants, the Federal Government is capping rent increases on subsidized housing at 10% in a bid to reduce the cost of rental properties. The result, should the measures be adopted, will be exactly the opposite and rents will go up. When you place caps on rent, instead of letting the market drive the pricing, the supply of rental property declines and the result is higher demand and higher prices for rent. There is a short-term impact to...

  • Two bad bills signed into law

    Sen. Mark Schoesler|Updated Apr 5, 2024

    Each year, for a session lasting either 105 days (in odd-numbered years) or 60 days (in even-numbered years), legislators gather in Olympia to introduce, debate and vote on bills. While many people focus their attention on what the Legislature does each year, there is one final and crucial step in the legislative process that happens – the governor decides whether to veto part or all of a bill, or let it become law. Since this year’s legislative session ended March 7, Gov...

  • Small farms declining

    Madilynne Clark, Washington Policy Center|Updated Mar 28, 2024

    Farm numbers across the U.S. are dwindling and the mountain states are no exception. Our country lost 7% of farms from 2017-2022, and all of the mountain states were above the national average. As a farmer in the region, I understand the stress of this profession, and if our country continues on its current trajectory our region's agricultural future looks bleak – more consolidation and less food security. From 2017-2022, Idaho, Montana, Washington and Wyoming all experienced a decrease in the total number of farms. Wyoming s...

  • Why no Easter lily tours?

    Don C. Brunell|Updated Mar 28, 2024

    Easter is when potted Easter Lily plants start showing up in nurseries and supermarkets like poinsettias during the Christmas season. They adorn the altars and pulpits of most churches on Easter Sunday, but why don’t sightseers flock to fields to enjoy the spectacular sea of white blooms? The answer is a small group of family lily farmers who are bulb producers. They need to clip the flowers to concentrate the plant’s nutrients on bulb development. Fields of white flowers on...

  • Lawmakers miss salmon opportunity

    Todd Myers, Washington Policy Center|Updated Mar 22, 2024

    The legislative session is over, and it had the potential to be very positive for salmon recovery. There was bipartisan support for habitat restoration. Legislators also had a huge amount of money to allocate because the tax on CO2 emissions generated far more money than anticipated. Despite that, the Legislature failed to make significant progress on salmon. It is one more wasted opportunity to protect an iconic state species. The most glaring example of the failure is in...

  • Cleansing sewage essential to water

    Don C. Brunell|Updated Feb 22, 2024

    In Washington, this year we hope to again escape the historic droughts plaguing other parts of the world. The Columbia River water system flowed at normal levels in recent years which is good for our agriculture, hydropower generation, barging, local water supplies, and fish and wildlife. However, 20 years ago we faced the same severe drought that is afflicting the world’s major river drainages including the Colorado River. That water scarcity forced factories to close, f...

  • State needs more law officers

    Jeff Holy|Updated Feb 14, 2024

    There was a time many years ago when our state was generally safe and did not have a serious crime problem. Unfortunately, as the saying goes, that was then and this is now. Washington is among the nation’s leaders in several crimes, including auto theft and retail theft. While the nation’s violent crime rate dropped slightly from 2021 to 2022, our state saw an increase, according to the FBI. According to a report by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, there were 394 murders in Washington in 2022, an...

  • California too costly for our economy

    Mary Dye|Updated Feb 14, 2024

    Several days ago, the Wall Street Journal issued a report about California’s “soaring electricity rates.” Average residential rates for investor-owned utility customers have surged by 72% to 127% over the past 10 years. About 2.5 million households in California are behind on their bills, averaging $733 in arrears. According to the Energy Information Administration, California has the second highest average retail price for electricity at $.22 per kilowatt hour. Fuel prices in California are the highest in the nation at an...

  • Charting a Sustainable Energy Future

    Matt Boehnke|Updated Feb 14, 2024

    As Washington stands at a pivotal moment in shaping its energy future, it becomes increasingly clear that adopting sensible, forward-thinking solutions is crucial for a reliable, cost-effective, and environmentally sound power grid. It's time for our state to embrace energy policies that genuinely prioritize the well-being of its residents. The Power Washington plan, a comprehensive strategy I advocate for, is designed to confront and resolve critical issues within our energy...

  • Take 'Gotcha!' out of records requests

    Joe Schmick|Updated Feb 14, 2024

    When state voters adopted the state's Public Records Act in 1972, they wanted to make sure state, county and city governments operate openly and are transparent to the people. They recognized the best way to ensure transparency and accountability is to require most government records are made available to the public. The PRA, however, was never intended to help some make money at the expense of governments. Unfortunately, there are a few "vexatious requesters" who learned how...

  • Recycling EV batteries a huge effort

    Don C. Brunell|Updated Feb 8, 2024

    Each year Americans throw away more than three billion batteries constituting 180,000 tons of hazardous material. The situation is likely to get worse as the world shifts to lithium batteries to power a massive influx of electric vehicles (EV). It needs immediate attention. Everyday-green.com reported more than 86,000 tons of single-use alkaline batteries (AAA, AA, C and D) are thrown away yearly. They power electronic toys and games, portable audio equipment and flashlights a...

  • Expose dam plan to reality

    Don C. Brunell|Updated Jan 17, 2024

    The $33 billion secret Snake River Dam plan that President Biden and friends cooked up in the White House basement needs to be exposed to the light of day and thoroughly aired by all. It is time to assess how it might work in the real world rather than wait and see what happens once it is implemented. While $33 billion may seem like “walking around” money to a President who tosses around trillion-dollar programs like horseshoes at the church picnic, the amount is equal to the...

  • Military money is Golden Egg

    Don C. Brunell|Updated Jan 12, 2024

    Aesop’s fable warns against killing the goose laying golden eggs. The tale’s origins date to 600 B.C. and tells of the greedy farmer who foolishly killed the prized goose to get to the gold’s source and ended up with nothing. Skeptics in our nation’s capital today quip that politicians are greedy, self-serving and tone deaf and are cooking their own geese and all of us too. Those controlling the “other Washington” have us drowning in debt. According to the U.S. Treasury, w...

  • Legislative priorities this year

    Sen. Mark Schoesler|Updated Jan 12, 2024

    Monday featured opening-day ceremonies in the Senate and House chambers, followed by a joint legislative session in the House chamber on Tuesday for Gov. (Jay) Inslee’s final state of the state address. Because this is considered a “short session,” fewer bills will be introduced and considered than in last year’s 105-day session. The main objectives for legislators this year will be to create and pass supplemental operating, capital and transportation budgets. For me and my...

  • Natural gas code violates state law

    Todd Myers, Washington Policy Center|Updated Jan 3, 2024

    Washington’s State Building Code Council has once again adopted rules designed to eliminate natural gas energy for new residential and commercial construction. The original proposal was modified when a similar regulation adopted by the city of Berkeley, Calif., was overturned by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Like the previous version, the new rules were pushed through the process without providing adequate information about the costs of the new regulations. For exam...

  • A policy wish list for Santa, lawmakers

    Jason Mercier, Mountain States Policy Center|Updated Jan 3, 2024

    With shopping behind us, it is time o turn to Santa for those final Christmas presents on our wish list. After comparing the options and reviewing the data on which ones will help bring taxpayers joy in 2024, here are five of the high-demand policy gifts sure to delight users of all ages. 1. A Sherlock Holmes tax transparency bundle kit. Enjoy hours of sleuthing and tax mystery-solving with your favorite detective’s personal kit for understanding taxes. Included in the e...

  • Finding the power for Christmas lights

    Don C. Brunell|Updated Jan 3, 2024

    It is that time of year when people put up their outside holiday lights and displays. Judging from our neighborhood they are decorating more than usual. In our country 90 percent of individuals say they plan to celebrate the holidays this year. Total retail sales between Thanksgiving and Christmas are projected to reach $957 billion. The setting for the National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is reminiscent of bedecked suburban communities. Clark Griswold decorates every foot o...

  • Expand school choice options

    Liv Finne, Washington Policy Center|Updated Jan 3, 2024

    School choice programs give families between $4,000 and $8,000 per student to cover the cost of private education. These programs provide families public assistance to select a private school if their zip-code assigned public school is not a good fit for their child. In the last two years, school choice has exploded across the United States. In 2019, private school choice programs in the U.S. served only 500,000 students, less than 1% of the nation’s school children. Today, 2...

  • Making their way to America

    Don C. Brunell|Updated Nov 30, 2023

    As we prepare for the upcoming holidays, we must be grateful for what we have and focus on our needs rather than fixate on what we want and crave. Being thankful starts with an appreciation of why our families came to America in the first place---our freedoms and opportunities. Legendary singer-song writer Neil Diamond hit single; “America” was performed in 1981 to help welcome home 52 American hostages that Iranian militants held for 444 days at the U.S. Embassy in Teh...

  • Never forget our veterans

    Don C. Brunell|Updated Nov 18, 2023

    While the last veterans who survived the “surprise” Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor are dwindling rapidly, we cannot let their sacrifices and the memories of that horrific day which propelled America into World War II fade into history. On December 7, 1941, 350 Japanese aircraft descended on Honolulu’s military installations in two shocking waves. More than 2,400 Americans were killed, and 21 ships were sunk or damaged. Our soldiers, sailors and pilots who fought and won W...

  • Return of the sockeye salmon

    Don C. Brunell|Updated Nov 7, 2023

    In 1992, a single male sockeye salmon managed to swim 900 miles from the mouth of the Columbia River to Redfish Lake located deep in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains---the end of his migratory journey. Biologists dubbed the sole survivor, “Lonesome Larry.” By 2010, the Northwest Power and Conservation Council happily reported record-setting runs for sockeye —387,000 had climbed the fish ladders at Bonneville Dam. Last year, 751 sockeye were trapped at Redfish Lake Creek and taken t...

  • Paid leave is too high for wage earners

    Elizabeth Hovde, Washington Policy Center|Updated Nov 1, 2023

    What's the hourly wage of a Paid Family and Medical Leave recipient in Washington state? It's higher than I'm comfortable with. Lawmakers should explain to all workers why they think it is good policy to take money from low-income workers and give their money to people with ample resources. Using hourly wage estimates from the state Employment Security Department, here are the earnings of people who took the program's tax dollars in the past fiscal year (July 2022 through...

  • Sex offenders may hide in plain sight

    Family Policy Institute of Washington|Updated Nov 1, 2023

    Thirty-five attorneys general throughout the nation, including Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, have banded together in opposition to a proposal by the American Law Institute that would put an end to sex offender registries, notifying communities of a sex offender’s presence, and restricting their places of residence. You read that right: the American Law Institute wants to do away with sex offender registries. Although a proposal of this nature has yet to pass through the Legislature here, several attempts have a...

  • Traffic to get worse regardless of tolls

    Mark Harmsworth|Updated Nov 1, 2023

    The Interstate 405 and state Highway 167 toll lane experiment is losing money. Now, the state Transportation Commission is considering increasing tolls by up to 80% to $18 each way on I-405. The increase will cost an I-405 commuter, using the lanes at peak toll periods, around $720 per month or $8,640 per year. If you travel the entire Highway 167 and I-405 corridor you could see a toll of up to $54. The state Department of Transportation fiscal report for the tolling project...

  • Require supermajority for tax hikes

    Jason Mercier|Updated Nov 1, 2023

    If there’s one thing Americans can still agree on, it’s that tax policy is one of the most consequential decisions our government makes that impacts our economy and family budgets. With the exception of Washington state, policymakers in the mountain states of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming have been very active the last few years prioritizing tax relief while making fiscally conservative budget investments. While this ongoing tax relief effort is to be commended, more can be don...

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