Columns

Total compensation is key in minimum wage debate

One of the problems with the minimum wage debate is the name itself. If we want to ensure that we don’t hurt lower-income workers, we should consider total compensation, not just wages. Case in point: Bill H. earns $15 an hour as a parking lot attendant. Lisa W. earns $12.25 an hour at a fast food restaurant. But Lisa’s employer provides merit raises, paid vacations, health insurance, management training, education scholarships, childcare assistance and a 401k retirement plan.

Audit finds confidential information left on surplussed state agency computers

Washington state agencies face the same issue that confronts private citizens when it’s time to update their personal computers. How do you safely dispose of your old computer in an environmentally sound way that does not leave your confidential information stored on the computer’s hard drive?

CHS Hall of Fame: Annie, Shelley and Brenda

The CHS Athletic Hall of Fame honors those Camas High School Papermaker teams and individuals who have excelled athletically. The typical individual inductee is blessed with superior athletic talent, competitive spirit, a dedication to training and practice, and the mental tenacity to overcome adversity. Inductees who graduated prior to 1972 share one other common attribute: a “Y” chromosome.

Legal pot in Camas needs citizen input

OK Mayor Scott Higgins, you asked for it. No, you’re not in trouble with me. Actually, I have only good things to say about your recent call for input from citizens on Initiative 502 which legalized recreational use of marijuana in our state. Input from local citizens will be critical on how implementation of I-502 should — or should not — impact our local community.

Public education bill would be costly

Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn has proposed a bill that would impose two major tax increases on residents in Washington to raise more money for public education. Calling his proposed tax increases a “blunt but necessary instrument,” Dorn says the new taxes are needed to provide “full funding” for K-12 public education, in response to the supreme court’s January 2012 McCleary v. State of Washington decision.

Let voters decide on super-majority for tax increases

Last February, the Washington Supreme Court in a 6-3 ruling overturned the five-time voter-approved requirement that tax increases receive a supermajority vote of the Legislature or voter approval. In the past, when the court has invalidated a law passed by the people, the Legislature has sought to implement what the people want; Initiative 695 reducing car tab costs and Initiative-747 limiting property tax increases are recent examples.

'Build it, and they will com'

We moved from Bemidji, Minn., in 1986 and chose Camas for a number of reasons. But upon looking around, I wondered where the tourist sites were. Where are the statues? What I didn’t realize at the time was the same beauty that attracted us is in fact the tourist area of the entire Pacific Northwest.

Let’s encourage small businesses in 2014

Consumer confidence, the stock market, world events, the housing market and local political events are the significant factors impacting the entrepreneurial spirit. As I look ahead, the future seems bright for small business and anything our policy makers can do to encourage this trend will be a key to job strength and stronger sales tax revenues moving forward. Small business owners do expect better sales in 2014 and overall have a strong degree of confidence in their sales and hiring plans for 2014. The Wall Street Journal and Vistage International just completed a survey showing an uptick in 2013 small business sales results with an expectation that 2014 will be even better.

CHS Hall of Fame: Gary Ostenson

During its heyday in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Far West Classic, which was held between Christmas and New Year’s Day, was considered the premier holiday college basketball tournament in the country. The FWC started in 1956 as a four-team event in Corvallis, expanded to eight teams in 1959, and moved to Portland’s Memorial Coliseum in 1960. Over the years the guest list included national powerhouses — North Carolina, Indiana, Michigan, Princeton — and more obscure programs, such as the Dartmouth Big Green and the Billikens of St. Louis.

Holiday questions begin

This time of year, I start getting media calls about the holiday sales that retailers offer. The holiday shopping season is one week shorter than normal, which matters when it comes to the pace of shopping and how much spare time people have to shop. Why do retailers open on Thanksgiving Day? There are many different types of shoppers and appealing to them all is the challenge. Not everyone has an all-day family event to attend on Thanksgiving, or wants to sit around the house all day talking to relatives. And, if a parent notices a special price on the perfect gift, making a quick stop at the store might save that family enough money to buy another gift. What about the workers who have to work that day? These folks are making a good wage at time-and-a-half or double time. That’s money they can use for their shopping later. It’s good for everyone — the store, the shopper, the employee.