Columns

Tax increases will hurt retailers

Recently, Gov. Jay Inslee proposed several tax increases to the Legislature in a time that state revenues are increasing. That's a combination of factors that will hurt consumers and retailers. Just last month, Inslee's chief economist, Steve Lerch, described Washington state consumer confidence as fragile. Recent payroll tax increases and rising gasoline prices do nothing to encourage companies to hire or consumers to spend, which would help the economy recover faster.

Hit reset on Columbia River Crossing project

Citizens expect government to be fiscally responsible. Regarding the Columbia River Crossing, legislators are being asked to allocate $450 million toward a $3.5 billion mega-project. The CRC has spent $170 million so far on a $50 million "maximum" contract to design a replacement bridge. We've not purchased the first steel I-beam or poured any concrete footing.

State budgets are in disarray

When an errant SUV crashes through your picture window, you may not notice that your barbecue tipped over and caught your house on fire. So it is with the U.S. economy these days. All the focus on our national debt, sequester cuts and federal tax increases is obscuring a smoldering problem in the states. Declining tax revenues, budget deficits and underfunded pensions have legislatures scrambling for revenue. Many states are taxing and borrowing more just to make ends meet.

Citizens should ‘take a stand’

In our scheme of government, we elect representatives to take a stand on issues that affect their constituents. Among those representatives, leaders take a stand. Politicians don’t. Leaders study the issues and decide what policy best supports the interests of their constituents as a whole. Politicians take a position based on what is best for the advancement of their own interests.

Science of climate change made simple

My greenhouse is covered with a thin plastic film. A few molecules of plastic are all it takes to make it 30 Fahrenheit degrees warmer inside than out. When coal, gasoline, and natural gas are burned, they produce carbon dioxide which traps heat just like the plastic film of my greenhouse.

Many employers can’t afford paid family medical leave

When people who want more government regulations argue in favor of a new mandate on employers, they usually say, “Well, one more rule won’t break the bank.” However, seemingly harmless regulations have a cumulative effect that eventually cripple employers and prevent entrepreneurs from creating the jobs needed to fix our weak economy.

Lawmakers are currently considering important legislation

Imagine a child with a life-threatening food allergy. Now imagine that child having a severe reaction while at school. If that student is fortunate enough to have an epinephrine autoinjector on school grounds, he or she may receive a dose to help reverse the reaction and potentially save a life. But what about students with a food allergy who don't have their injector with them? What about students who haven't been diagnosed with an allergy, but experience their first life-threatening reaction while at school?

A precious memory of Bob Tidland

I would like to share a special memory of Bob Tidland. This scene can help illustrate his character and community-mindedness. As Camas’ retiring first city administrator, I have had many, many fine days in the past 24 years; the scene I am remembering is among the finest hours.

Brunell: People helping people

In November 1982, our state’s unemployment rate peaked at 12.2 percent, the highest since the Great Depression. Interest on a fixed rate home loan was 13.4 percent, and an 11.5 inflation rate burned through our checkbooks. The economy was a mess.

‘Did you just say that on Facebook?’

Ever since the evolution of Facebook, I always knew that optimal behavior for myself, my family, and my friends would be necessary.