March 18, 2019
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Federal Issues

New public lands package includes federal funding for Washington projects

Washington leaders are celebrating the passage of a new federal lands bill that includes significant federal funding for a variety of projects around the state, from repairing the Wapato Irrigation Project to better volcano monitoring and more funds to fight forest fires.

“Public lands and access to lands are a juggernaut part of our economy,” Sen Maria Cantwell said. “This legislation gives the tools and resources to local communities to manage this, to give more access to the American people, to do the things that will help us grow jobs and help us recreate for the future and preserve against a very challenging and threatening climate.”

Supporters hailed the bill as a bipartisan accomplishment. The Tri-City Herald said the bill's passage and bipartisan signing ceremony in the Oval Office was "something remarkable." Washington state in particular will benefit from the bill, the newspaper wrote, adding that both Cantwell and U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-WA, attended the presidential signing ceremony.

The law designates more than 1.3 million acres of new wilderness, 367 miles of new Wild and Scenic Rivers and 2,600 miles of new National Trails throughout the United States.

It also protects the Methow Headwaters in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, supports new technology for wildland firefighters, and designates the Nordic Museum in Seattle as the National Nordic Museum, among other projects. AWB produced this infographic about Washington state projects in the bill.

Contact Amy Anderson, AWB government affairs director for federal issues, to learn more.

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Competitiveness Matters

State won 'economic lottery;' it doesn't need new taxes

By Kris Johnson and Steve Mullin

Imagine winning the lottery tomorrow. You'd have $10 million to spend on whatever you wanted in an instant.

Of course, the prudent thing would be to get a financial adviser and plan for the future. Ensure you have a strong foundation and adequate savings, then decide what you can splurge on. This scenario is not unlike the position our state finds itself in after years of economic recovery and expansion.

Economic and tax revenue growth in Washington state has been extraordinary over the last decade.

So much so that state and local tax growth in Washington was the highest in the nation from 2015 to 2016. The state expects tax collections will top $50 billion for the first time during the next two-year budget cycle. That's $4 billion more than the last cycle and nearly $11 billion more than it had in 2015-17.

Washington has leveraged this growth to invest in important programs, dramatically increasing state funding for public education, for example.

But we need to recognize that this lottery-like period of growth is far from normal. And it has come at a time when Washington also steadily increased the cost of doing business here...

Read the guest commentary in The (Everett) Herald
Competitiveness Matters

Former Rep. Chandler: Inslee threat to prosperity

By Charles H. Featherstone in The Columbia Basin Herald

MOSES LAKE -- Gary Chandler has a message for Gov. Jay Inslee.

"Don't take away our opportunity to be competitive."

The drive for 100 percent clean energy would deprive the Pacific Northwest of its competitive edge on power prices, and the governor's proposed $4 billion in new taxes would hit the state's small business people particularly hard, Chandler said.

"The economy is good, but the economy is starting to slow," Chandler said. "Don't spend everything, don't tax everything."

Read the full story about Chandler's recent talk in The Columbia Basin Herald
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