Features

Nonbinding Vote Ahead on State Gas-Tax Increase

The public will vote Nov. 3 on whether to raise Washington’s gas tax, but its decision won’t change anything. The tax will have already gone up by 7 cents a gallon by then. It’s because of a voter-passed 2007 Tim Eyman initiative that requires advisory votes for all tax increases.

Inslee Should Stick to Transportation Deal Made with GOP

With the ink on his transportation bills signatures barely dry, Gov. Jay Inslee is reportedly close to signing an order that would wipe out more than $700 million in bicycle, pedestrian and other non-vehicular projects the bill funds. He must also, by Aug. 3, tell the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency whether he will stick by draft clean water standards he announced a year ago, or defer to the agency, which hankers to impose unattainable requirements that will jeopardize Washington businesses.

State Regulators Look at Cost of Retiring Coal Plants

Washington utility regulators say they are looking into how much it would cost to retire Puget Sound Energy’s two older coal-fired electric generating plants in Colstrip, Montana. The Utilities and Transportation Commission is seeking comments and questions on the idea by Sept. 15.

Health Care Tax Faces United Opposition From Labor and Employers

A new coalition comprising major corporations, including Cigna and Pfizer, as well as union groups and associations, called the Alliance to Fight the 40, plans to begin a formal campaign against the tax later this month. Called the Cadillac tax, it applies to an individual policy costing more than $10,200 a year and a family policy over $27,500. The tax goes into effect in 2018.

State Trades Council Endorses Oil Terminal

The Washington Building and Construction Trades Council announced Tuesday it has endorsed the proposal by Tesoro Corp. and Savage Cos. to build the nation’s largest rail-to-marine oil transfer terminal at the Port of Vancouver. The council, based in Olympia and representing more than 70,000 members in dozens of crafts, said it supports efforts to seek timely regulatory approval so construction may begin.