Washington Ledge

Tax Proposal
4:31 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

Washington Governor Likely To Propose Robust Tax Package

According to the governor’s budget director, Gov. Jay Inslee has planned to propose a mix of cuts and revenues to balance the upcoming two-year budget.
Credit Brianhe / Wikimedia

Washington Governor Jay Inslee is likely to propose a more than $1 billion revenue package when he unveils his proposed two-year budget next week.

That’s according to the governor’s budget director who briefed reporters Tuesday at the Capitol.

Washington is expected to take in nearly $3 billion more in taxes over the next two years. Even so, the governor’s budget office anticipated a nearly $2.5 billion shortfall. A school funding lawsuit and cost of living raises for state and K-12 employees are two big ticket items.

Read more
Pot Tax Revenues
5:11 pm
Fri December 5, 2014

Washington Cities To Lobby For Cut Of Pot Tax Revenue

The money from Washington's retail marijuana stores fund state agencies and programs but now cities want their share of pot tax revenue.
Credit Brennan Linsley / Associated Press

The city of Vancouver, Wash., already has two retail marijuana stores with another on the way. At some point, it’s possible the city could have as many as six.

“That’s what our future looks like,” said Vancouver Councilman Jack Burkman. “We’re going to have a number of these.”

He said increasing the prevalence of pot in the city is certain to have a cost.

“We don’t know what all those impacts are but we believe there are going to be impacts on police. There’s going to be impacts on education,” he said.

Read more
Washington Gun Initiatives
5:51 pm
Wed December 3, 2014

Gun Store Owner Wary Of Participating In Background Check Law

Don Teague of Private Sector Arms in Olympia says he doesn't want to profit on Washington's new background check requirement.
Credit Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Washington’s new background check law for person-to-person gun sales and transfers takes effect Thursday. The law puts federally-licensed gun dealers in the role of conducting the checks. But one Thurston County gun store owner says it’s not a role he’s comfortable with.

At Private Sector Arms owner Don Teague shows me some of the guns he has on display. “This right here in AR-15/M4, this is here is an AK-47 variant,” Teague said.

Read more
Hanford Vapors
5:56 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Senators, Congressman Pile On To Call For Hanford Vapor Fix

A letter was written by both Washington senators and a congressman to the U.S. Department of Energy regarding Hanford's hazardous tank vapors.
Credit Northwest News Network

For the third time this week there are calls to protect workers from hazardous vapors at Hanford. This time from Washington’s congressional delegation. 

This letter is the capper on two other announcements over Hanford’s tank vapors.

Workers said fumes from 56 million gallons of radioactive waste are sickening them.

First Washington state announced it would sue the federal government unless a new plan for action was devised. Then a day later, a coalition of citizens said they would sue too.

Read more
WSU Medical School
4:44 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

WSU President Hopes To Present 'Unified Front' On Medical School

An existing building on the WSU Spokane campus would be used for the proposed medical school.
Credit Washington State University

This January, Washington State University plans to ask lawmakers for permission to open a medical school in Spokane.

The question is will the University of Washington oppose that effort? It currently runs its own prominent medical school.

WSU President Elson Floyd said his goal is to avoid what one lawmaker has termed the “Apple Cup of medical schools.”

“We are in the process now of negotiating those things so it’s my hope that we’ll be able to present a unified front to the legislature as we go forward next year,” Floyd said.

Read more
Class Size Initiative
4:59 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Washington Class Size Measure Puts $2 Billion Dent in State Budget

Washington class size initiative puts squeeze on budget.
Credit Colin Fogarty / Northwest News Network

Washington’s budget outlook is suddenly $2 billion in the red largely because of a class size reduction measure just approved by Washington voters.

That initiative adds to an already challenging budget picture when lawmakers convene in January.

“I think we have a significant problem here and we have work to do,” Democrat Ross Hunter said. He’s the chief budget writer in the Washington House.

Hunter believes additional tax revenues will be needed to balance the next budget. Senate Republican budget chair Andy Hill disagrees.

Read more
Campaign Finance
5:08 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

From Advertising To Nail Care, Washington Campaigns Spend Bucks

The Washington State Legislative building in Olympia.
Credit Wikimedia

Political campaigns and committees in Washington have spent nearly $70 million so far this year. That includes statewide initiatives and legislative races.

So where’s all the money going? It’s everything from address labels to Zipcar rentals.

The single biggest category of spending this year is campaigns contributing to other campaigns. Political money has a tendency to move around a lot before it actually gets spent on something tangible.

Read more
Voter Participation
4:38 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

Watch Your Mailbox For Ballots, Voters Guides

File photo of Washington voters' guides from the 2012 election.
Credit Washington Secretary of State

Election 2014 is just over three weeks away.

Ballots will soon be arriving in mailboxes in Washington and Oregon where the election is all vote-by-mail. Idaho voters still go to the polls, but about a quarter of Gem State ballots are cast absentee.

Washington state elections director Lori Augino said her office predicts 62 percent turnout for the November election.

Read more
Government & Politics
4:44 pm
Thu September 25, 2014

Political Action Committees Pack A Punch In Washington Campaigns

So far this year political action committees in Washington state report raising a total of $20 million.
Credit Piutus / Flickr

The Washington Education Association has taken in $1.5 million this year, making it the head of the pack when it comes to money raised by political action committees.

Read more
Education Funding
3:51 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

Washington Supreme Court Could Hold Legislature In Contempt

Attorney Tom Ahearne represents the coalition that sued the state of Washington over school funding. He wants the Supreme Court to find the state in contempt.
Credit Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

It’s a showdown between the state of Washington’s legislative and judicial branches. The Supreme Court will consider Wednesday whether to penalize the state for not complying with a 2012 ruling on school funding. 

Read more