September 23, 2019
Fast Facts
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Federal Issues

Newhouse pushes to open Japanese markets for Washington potato producers

U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse has asked federal officials to consider “full market access” for American potato growers as part of the negotiations for the U.S.-Japan Free Trade Agreement, Washington Ag Network reports.

Newhouse sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue seeking help to open the Japanese market to fresh, table stock potatoes from the U.S.

The ongoing negotiations “provide a unique opportunity to bring this long-unresolved issue to a positive conclusion and generate an estimated $75- $100 million in annual exports,” he wrote.

Washington farmers make the Evergreen State the No. 2 producer of potatoes in the country, the news station reported. Potatoes were the state’s fourth-largest commodity in 2017, generating $687 million. The crop is produced in 10 Washington counties, including Grant, Yakima, Benton, Franklin, Adams and Walla Walla.

International trade was a major discussion item at AWB’s recently concluded Policy Summit. Check out coverage of our panel discussion from TVW here.

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