September 23, 2019
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New cross-laminated timber facility in Spokane Valley shows promise of engineered lumber

There was good news on many fronts last week when Katerra's new $150 million engineered wood manufacturing facility opened in Spokane Valley. The 100 new employees are good news for the local economy, but that's just the start.

Every year, the new factory will be able to produce 13 million square feet of material, enough to build thousands of apartments and office buildings. Avista's Catalyst Building in the University District will be the first office building in the state made with the cross-laminated timber produced in the new Spokane Valley facility.

But more than that, the raw material itself -- small-diameter trees from Eastern Washington forests -- will help support the ecology of the region by removing small or diseased trees from areas at wildfire risk, thus helping prevent devastating large wildfires.

Culling those trees will also create sustainable jobs in rural communities across Eastern Washington.

The Seattle Times reported last week that Seattle has changed its building codes to encourage construction with CLT, since the durable panels made from binding layers of wooden planks with adhesives are an environmentally sustainable building material. A new eight-story hotel rising in Ballard will be Seattle's first tall building made almost entirely from wood.

AWB President Kris Johnson attended last week's formal opening of the facility, along with Gov. Jay Inslee, U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, state Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, and many other dignitaries.

Inslee praised the "technological prowess, entrepreneurial zeal and incredible skill set" creating solutions for climate change and jobs for the future at the Katerra manufacturing facility.

The Spokesman-Review, The Inlander and KHQ News have more.

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Arguments Against a State Income Tax

An income tax is not in our best interest

By Washington Treasurer Duane Davidson

Today, we are at a point where Washington legislators need to reexamine their financial practices and consider the consequences of their actions that have led some to consider establishing a state income tax.

The historically unpopular notion of introducing an income tax is not exactly new to Washington, yet it has seen growing interest from income tax supporters in big city government and from certain state lawmakers who would pass income tax legislation if given the opportunity.

As Washington State Treasurer, four-term Benton County Treasurer, and licensed CPA for over 25 years, I have cultivated an automatic sense of duty to advocate for fiscal responsibility. When I see such disregard for taxpayers, my obligation is to stand up for what is right on their behalf.

Many of the legislature's self-induced financial woes have readily available remedies that do not involve raising taxes or adding an income tax, making it apparent to me that as a state we have some serious financial issues within our legislative practices we need to start addressing...

Taxing income would weaken Washington's thriving economy and reduce our capacity to compete for business. We need to agree on improving our habits and reigning in state debt before considering the addition of new taxes. An income tax is not in our best interest.

Read the full guest column in The Tri-City Herald