January 2, 2018
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Seattle city government spending surging faster than most U.S. cities

As the Seattle economy grows, the City of Seattle is also expanding -- bigly. City government spending increased 39 percent from 2012-16, while revenue increased 13 percent, a recent Seattle Times investigation shows.

Almost every city department got bigger, while the city’s population grew by 11 percent in the same time – an exceptional growth phase that makes Seattle one of the fastest growing cities in America.

The Times highlighted increased staffing in the mayor’s office, as well as more executives and strategic advisors as the city tackles major initiatives like homelessness, early childhood education and other big projects. Meanwhile, demand for basic services like public safety and utilities continues as the population increases and more buildings are added to the metro area. Clearly there’s popular support for tackling big problems like homelessness. Some observers, however, are urging city leaders to be cautious.

“So much of the city’s revenue thirst has been quenched with taxes that aren’t necessarily sustainable,” said John Wilson, King County’s assessor, who warned against assuming voters will approve future levies. “It’s not an infinite ATM machine to tap,” he said.

Read the report by Daniel Gilbert and Daniel Beekman here.

The Seattle Times editorial board also weighed in on the city’s spending, urging the city’s newly-elected Mayor Jenny Durkan to “fulfill her promise to look closely at all city operations and rein in government spending wherever possible.”

For more information on tax and fiscal issues, contact AWB Government Affairs Director Clay Hill at 360.943.1600.

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Rule of Law Matters

Washington's carbon overreach

By The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board

Washington Governor Jay Inslee calls climate change an "existential threat," and he has channeled President Obama in using executive powers to impose his policy response. But like Mr. Obama he suffered a major blow this month when a Washington court ruled that he exceeded his authority under state law.

Washington lawmakers have declined to pass Mr. Inslee's signature cap-and-trade legislation, and in 2016 voters rejected a carbon-tax ballot measure. So "now we have to do it administratively," the Sierra Club's Doug Howell said last year.

Mr. Inslee suddenly discovered authority to act unilaterally under the Washington Clean Air Act and a 2008 law that required greenhouse gas reductions...

And in a Dec. 15 oral ruling, Thurston County Superior Court Judge James Dixon found that the Inslee Administration lacked the legal authority to regulate indirect emitters.

The decision is a victory for the rule of law and another rebuke to progressives who try to ignore democratic consent to impose their climate agenda by regulatory fiat.

Read the full editorial in The Wall Street Journal
Innovation is Key to Carbon Reductions

Washington can have energy independence without economic damage of carbon tax

By State Rep. Drew MacEwen, R-Union

Here in the United States, Washington is the leading producer of hydroelectric power, contributing nearly one quarter of the nation's total hydro generation. We rank only behind California in terms of the amount of renewable energy we produce each year.

That is why it is so critical that as we continue to debate the merits of a carbon tax, we be mindful of the steps we have already taken toward establishing a greener economy. Proposing a carbon tax to fund education or increase general fund spending is the wrong approach.

I truly believe Washington can achieve energy independence one day, but we must be strategic in how we get there. Causing self-inflicted economic hardship along the way would be foolish.

Read the full column in The Olympian
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