May 20, 2019
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Washington ranked No. 1 in Best States Rankings

Washington’s strong economy helped power the state to the top of this year’s U.S. News & World Report best states list. Washington scored No. 6 last year, and No. 5 the year before.

The 50 states were ranked in eight broad categories, including education, crime and corrections, opportunity and more. Washington scored in the top five in the healthcare, education, economy and infrastructure categories, and better than most in the remaining categories to take the win overall.

“The Best States ranking of U.S. states draws on thousands of data points to measure how well states are performing for their citizens,” report authors wrote. Healthcare and education had the most weight in the rankings, followed by state economies, opportunity and infrastructure.

The Everett Herald compared the U.S. News ranking with the Opportunity Washington Scorecard, noting that the more business-oriented OppWA scorecard from last spring put the state at 22nd in the nation.

"Opportunity Washington, because its interests are in this state and are focused on informing policy and programs here, takes this a little more seriously than a national media outlet," The Herald writes.

OppWA notes that all rankings are subjective, and that no one ranking is correct, but that they can help us to a better understanding of our strengths and weaknesses.

The Seattle Times also covered the U.S. News rankings.

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Housing Forum
Moving Backward

Gov. Inslee is wrong to flip-flop on liquefied natural-gas facility in Tacoma

By The Seatte Times Editorial Board

Gov. Jay Inslee is doing an outstanding job staying on message in his presidential campaign, making climate change his signature issue and a focus of the primaries.

But Inslee went too far last week when he pulled support for a project in Tacoma that will cut emissions and create jobs.

Early in his governorship, Inslee championed the Tacoma liquefied natural-gas (LNG) facility. That pragmatic, nuanced approach provided certainty for local companies to commit more than $500 million to a project that will substantially reduce emissions from ships sailing between Puget Sound and Alaska.

That stance no longer jibes with the current mantra of his far-left environmental base, which now advocates for halting additional fossil-fuel consumption. It also had put Inslee in conflict with one of the state's wealthiest tribes, the Puyallup Tribe of Indians, which opposed the project.

Moving goal posts late in the game may discourage companies from innovating and investing in cleaner ways of doing business, at least in Washington....

Read the full editorial in The Seattle Times
A New Challenge for Border Towns

Lawmakers changed the sales tax exemption. Will Oregon residents still want to shop Tri-Cities?

By The Tri-City Herald Editorial Board

Of all the new, last-minute tax measures approved by the Legislature two weeks ago, one in particular likely will cause headaches for Mid-Columbia retailers in coming months.

Oregon residents will no longer get a sales tax exemption right away at a Tri-Cities checkout counter.

Thanks to ESSB 5997, out-of-state shoppers will have to pay the sales tax upfront, save their receipts and file for a one-time, yearly reimbursement from the state of Washington.

They will qualify only if the amount they are requesting exceeds $25.

Clay Hill, government affairs director for the Association of Washington Business, said approval of ESSB 5997 was "especially disheartening" because there was a unified voice of opposition by business and retail organizations.

Democratic lawmakers are betting they will raise $53 million for a two-year budget from out-of-state shoppers who don't turn in their paperwork or who don't meet the $25 minimum threshold.

But it is the border communities that will pay the biggest price for the tax grab, and it isn't right to put the burden primarily on the edges of the state.

Read the full editorial in The Tri-City Herald
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