December 22, 2014
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Manhattan Project National Historic park -- with Washington's B Reactor -- now approved

Last year, visitors from 50 different countries and every one of the 50 states came to the birthplace of the atomic era – Hanford’s B Reactor. This valuable flow of tourists will only increase after the Richland site was added to the Manhattan Project National Historic Park.

The current Department of Energy cap of 10,000 visitors could grow to 100,000 visitors within the next five years, and possibly 1 million visitors a year within the next decade.

The Manhattan Project National Historical Park was part of the National Defense Authorization Act, passed Dec. 12. President Barack Obama is expected to sign the bill into law.

The bill highlights historic sites at Hanford; Los Alamos; New Mexico; and Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Laboratories at each site furthered Manhattan Project goals, and the park will spotlight specific resources that were critical to this era in American history.

Read more here on the impacts of the new national park in Washington.

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In Our View: Inslee must respect voters

By The Columbian editorial board

With lawmakers facing a difficult budget-writing session in the new year, Gov. Jay Inslee sounds much different from candidate Jay Inslee.

A little more than two years ago, while running for governor, Inslee said, "I would veto anything that heads the wrong direction, and the wrong direction is new taxes in the state of Washington." But on Thursday, Inslee is expected to unveil a proposed state budget that will include at least $1 billion in new revenue. And in government-speak, "new revenue" means taxes.

Certainly, the needs of state government can change over time. The economic landscape continually evolves, and state revenue forecasts can be fluid. But, given the status of the economy, Inslee's change of heart is all the more curious. For the coming biennium, budget writers are expected to have $3 billion more than in the current biennium, thanks to an improving economy. True, they have been handed a multi-billion-dollar bill to adequately fund K-12 public education -- but that invoice was handed down in early 2012 and comes as no surprise. In other words, little has changed to trigger Inslee's flip-flop. But government's insatiable desire to perpetuate itself through the contributions of taxpayers has remained inviolate. This, despite repeated messages from voters that should be easy to interpret.

READ MORE: Click here for the full editorial by The Columbian

Governor Inslee's misplaced budget priorities

Written by Keep Washington Competitive

Members of the Keep Washington Competitive (KWC) coalition, including representatives from business, labor, agriculture and trade sectors, expressed concern this week that Gov. Jay Inslee's proposed cap-and-trade scheme will have a negative impact on the Legislature's ability to pass a long-overdue transportation package -- which would include much-needed investment in freight-mobility projects.

While initial reaction to the governor's budget priorities has been mixed, one area that has elicited immediate and widespread concern is the governor's continued advancing of his environmental agenda to the detriment of other state priorities.

"We are concerned about the effect of the governor's proposal on trade and dedicated funding for freight mobility projects," said Gordon Baxter, Puget Sound Maritime Trades Council and KWC Advisory Board member. "Washington's trade-based economy relies on our ability to move goods through and out of the state expeditiously to keep our competitive standing as a global trade leader and the jobs trade brings."

READ MORE: Click here to read the entire press release from Keep Washington Competitive
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