Prince Rupert, British Columbia is now on a path to arguably become the biggest threat to the Puget Sound economy. The Harbor Maintenance Tax, part of the 1986 U.S. Water Resources Act, is now costing shippers roughly $100-$150 a container in Puget Sound and has become a competitive disadvantage. Labor relations have strengthened Rupert’s position as well.
State Officials Release Annual School Achievement Index after Lowering Learning Standards for English and Math
The results come after the State Board of Education’s decision last year to lower learning standards in English and math for students in public schools. Nearly half of Washington public schools, 926 schools (46%) received a D ranking or lower. 827 schools, (41%) received a B or C ranking. Only 96 schools (5%) received an A ranking
For now, balance billing is perfectly legal in Washington state but there’s an effort under way to pass new legislation protecting consumers from this type of medical bill. Representative Eileen Cody chairs the State House Health Care Committee. She’s also leading negotiations already underway for a second attempt at new legislation.
Estimates vary, but as many as 29 million Americans – about one in 10 – lack coverage. Five million people are eligible for Medicaid, but not signed up. Another 13.5 million people are split between eligibility and ineligibility for tax credits. Most people who lack health insurance say that costs are the main reason they don’t have it.
Last year’s wildfire havoc was the worst in state history. One million acres burned, costing the state $178 million. After last year’s wildfires state legislators approved several wildfire reforms directed at the State Department of Natural Resources. A tamer wildfire season could also provide financial relief for the U.S. Forest Service. Last year over half the entire USFS budget was spent fighting wildfires in states like Washington and California.