Business and Finance

Issues

Committee On Aging and Disability Issues Final Report

JLEC Final Report (click to read) The Joint Legislative Executive Committee on Aging and Disability Issues (Committee) was established in the 2013-15 operating budget. The Committee was charged with the responsibility to identify strategic actions to prepare for the aging of Washington's population by: 1.Establishing a profile of Washington's older population and population with disabilities and a projectionof those populations through 2030; 2.Establishing

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Can Canada ease our transportation mess?

Canada builds many of its projects with an eye toward long-term performance and maintenance. Washington state has talked about the idea, but tied itself in knots. America’s infrastructure is in disrepair. Decades of deferred maintenance, complex and sometimes contradictory regulations across various agencies and levels of government, and a combination of wasteful spending and a refusal to raise taxes have all lead us to where we are now. http://crosscut.com/2015/01/02/transportation/123262/leveraging-private-equity-public-good-canadian-way/?page=single

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Lawmakers Talk Nuclear Energy, And Washington’s Clean Energy Future

Given the current political climate surrounding energy production in Washington state, perhaps it wasn’t surprising a nuclear energy task force consisting of Democratic and Republican lawmakers failed to make recommendations when it met for the final time in 2014 on Wednesday. But despite the inaction, comments from key lawmakers on energy policy from the respective parties provided some glimpse of how they’ll view nuclear energy in the broader

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More political games in Congress with our sales tax deduction

Nothing is more certain than death and taxes — and, seemingly, the December battle over the sales tax deduction. Again this year, Congress is going through the ritual of “deciding” whether to extend the deduction, which people in Washington and six other states rely on. The House on Wednesday approved a retroactive extension good for only 2014. Next year, it will be another fight. Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2014/12/04/3523421_more-political-games-in-congress.html?sp=/99http://www.thenewstribune.com/2014/12/04/3523421_more-political-games-in-congress.html?sp=/99/447/465/&rh=1/447/465/&rh=1#storylink=cpy

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Mountains to Sound passes out of committee

The U.S. House Natural Resources Committee passed the Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Act out of committee on Nov. 18. The act would designate a stretch of scenic landscape from Seattle to Ellensburg as a National Heritage Area. A Natural Heritage Area is a large, lived-in area designated by the U.S. Congress where historical, natural, recreational and cultural resources combine to form a landscape worthy of national distinction.  

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WSDOT: Freight congestion could cost Washington $3.3 billion, tens of thousands of jobs

The just-released Washington State Freight Plan, the most comprehensive Washington state has ever attempted, is an effort to prioritize where dollars should be spent to best help the state's freight transportation system.   http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/news/2014/12/02/wsdot-freight-congestion-could-cost-washington-3-3.html

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Growth game: Housing prices challenge Puget Sound

The growth game is back: How many construction cranes are visible from Lake Union? Sixteen? Twenty? New ones seem to sprout weekly, signaling a remarkable rate and concentration of growth. Although Emmett Watson turns in his grave at all this change, growth does provide jobs, tax revenues and a promising future for those emerging from school. And it is far easier to engage in progressive public policy when the private sector is booming. But enthusiasm

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I-1351 vs. 2-year colleges — and much else

Initiative 1351, which passed narrowly this month, was a smart bomb aimed squarely at Washington’s higher education and social welfare systems. The initiative ordered the Legislature to pump immense amounts of money into additional staff at the state’s public schools - $4.7 billion just through 2019. Yet it provided no revenues to do it, guaranteeing that the money would have to be diverted from other priorities. It even threatens to hamstring

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Doctors must learn to talk about death, end-of-life care options

America’s health-care establishment is in the midst of a dramatic paradigm shift. Providers nationwide are being called to enact monumental changes in the care delivery model to expand access, improve quality and at the same time reduce cost. It’s a tall order. And yet, the numbers don’t lie. According to the World Health Organization, America spends more on health care than any country in the world — nearly double the amount committed by

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West Coast port slowdown continues as holiday period reduces activities further

The long lines of trucks queuing up on Port of Tacoma Road, a familiar sight since a labor-related slowdown of ship loading activities began Oct. 31, were absent Wednesday as the maritime community prepared for a nearly complete shutdown of activity on Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is one of 13 yearly holidays observed by the International Longshore Workers Union, which is in thus far unsuccessful negotiations with the Pacific Maritime Association for

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Inslee seeks out key lawmakers on roads package

Gov. Jay Inslee is inviting leaders of the House and Senate transportation committees to weigh in on the multi-billion dollar transportation package he's drafting before its public release. “The governor is going to build on the work that’s been done the past two years in order to promote a solution that sparks action within the next legislative session,” read an email sent today by Miguel Perez-Gibson, the governor’s executive director of

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Generic drug price hikes defy reason

It appears generic drug manufacturers have taken a page out of the playbook of oil companies, which seem to find innovative ways of manipulating the market to maximize profits. #Maximizing profits is a time-honored principle of the free market system. But there are things that are so vital to life that the normal competitive nature of the marketplace aren’t sufficient to keep people from being harmed. #Medicine would certainly seem to fall into

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Ecology report details plans to make oil trains safer

A new, 500-page state report says railroad oil shipments through Washington may increase sevenfold in the next six years and recommends 40 measures to improve safety and protect the environment.The state Department of Ecology report, released Monday, recommends additional spending for emergency planning, training and equipment, rail inspections and ongoing risk assessments.     http://tdn.com/news/local/ecology-report-details-plans-to-make-oil-trains-safer/article_855cb8de-79f4-11e4-8208-3f70d68ae0de.html

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Health plan exchange enters second year, with more options

In a surprise move, the U.S. Supreme Court has said it will resolve another legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act. The crux of the dispute is whether taxpayer-funded subsidies are available only through state-based insurance exchanges, or through all of them. Thirteen states run exchanges. The rest are run by the federal government. The court isn’t expected to issue a ruling until late June. Washington and Idaho have state-based exchanges,

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Congestion at ports rattles growers, importers and truckers

ressure is mounting for terminal operators and West Coast unions to reach an agreement so container shipping in Seattle, Tacoma and other ports can return to normal. Meanwhile, food containers are at risk of rotting, trucks are idle, and goods destined for holiday shoppers are stuck. http://seattletimes.com/html/businesstechnology/2025004702_portslowdownsxml.html

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Career centers give veterans a fighting chance at jobs

MARYSVILLE — At the Armed Forces Reserve Center here on Wednesday, dozens of people lined up to enter the conference rooms set aside for the Snohomish County Regional Job and Resource Fair. While open to everyone, the event was designed with military veterans in mind, from the choice of venue to the event’s promotion, to the kinds of employers and other organizations that took part. Several police departments, community colleges and staffing

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THE FCC AND NET NEUTRALITY Keep flow of information open

Let's just get this out of the way: net neutrality. Now that you've been lulled to drowsiness, pour yourself a cup of coffee, do a couple jumping jacks, whatever you need to get yourself through this subject, because it does matter to you if you use the Internet for anything more than playing solitaire. Net neutrality is the term used to describe they way the Internet currently works for us. Content providers, among them Netflix, HeraldNet.com and

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Join in effort against domestic violence By Bob Ferguson

I am the father of 6-year-old twins. My wife, Colleen, and I want to raise a son who respects women, and a daughter who lives in a world where she is respected and free from violence. In September 2014, NFL football star Ray Rice's assault on his then-fiance, captured on video, received significant media attention and brought to national awareness the unfortunate prevalence of domestic violence in our society. The statistics are sobering. An estimated

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Budget Information

State Budget Update by David Schumacher, Director, OFM;   Revenue Reforms by Andrew Nicholas, Budget & Policy Center; & Report on Age Wave Forums & Solving LTC Services & Support Financing Puzzle.   David Schumacher -   State_budget_preliminary_outlook_presentation_September_- Andrew Nicholas -  2014 Revenue Reforms      Taxing Capital Gains FAQ Pete Subkoviak presentation (SEIU)         

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Columbia Riverkeeper tests find toxics in fish bound for dinner tables

Before they landed on local fishermen's plates this summer, an environmental group tested five Columbia River fish to see what toxics lay within. The results of Columbia Riverkeeper's analysis weren't unexpected, and for resident fish, they weren't good. The worst? Two walleye, which had high levels of PCBs, polychlorinated biphenyls, cancer-causing industrial chemicals banned in 1979 that accumulate up the food chain in fish. One had 175 times more

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