Capital gains tax receipts in Washington tumble

Capital gains tax collections in Washington have plummeted in their second year, creating potential challenges for the next governor and legislative budget writers in 2025. Washington took in $433 million as of May 15, down from $786 million netted in 2023, the first year the tax was paid. The number of those filing remained steady,…

Did Bob Ferguson go too far responding to fellow Fergusons?

Democratic candidate Bob Ferguson pursued various hardball political and legal tactics to get two opponents who share his name out of the governor’s race — including an option the secretary of state said Washington election law doesn’t allow. Now, rival Democratic candidate Mark Mullet is accusing Ferguson of going too far, arguing that he pressed…

WA decides: Initiative 2117 to repeal the Climate Commitment Act

This article is one in a series looking at statewide initiatives on Washington’s 2024 November ballot. What would Initiative 2117 do? It would repeal a 2021 law, known as the Climate Commitment Act, which established the state’s cap and invest program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The measure also would bar state agencies from imposing…

WSDOT: Travel charts are key to Memorial Day weekend adventures

Memorial Day weekend is often the unofficial start of summer, and planning ahead now is a great jumpstart to holiday travels. To help travel planning, the Washington State Department of Transportation has released travel charts for the holiday weekend. The charts include the best (and worst) times to travel on major routes like Interstate 5…

Beetles killing more trees in Washington, likely due to drought

Washington had fewer dead or dying trees last year, but beetles that feed on dry trees caused greater damage across the state, a concerning trend for environmental officials. The state’s annual forest health survey from the Washington Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service found that Washington’s forests are suffering…

Cash crunch persists for WA’s paid family leave program

Washington’s Paid Family and Medical Leave program has a popularity problem. More people are applying for its benefits, but the state is running short of money to pay for them. The program, launched in 2020, allows people to take paid time off from work if they have a serious health condition, if they’re caring for…

Three Bob Fergusons now running for governor as race takes turn for the weird

The number of Bob Fergusons running to be Washington’s next governor grew to three on Friday. A conservative Republican activist threw a monkey wrench into the race by recruiting two last-minute Democratic candidates who share the same name as the party’s presumed front-runner. The newcomers, one from Yakima and the other Graham, will now share…

Washington AG investigating Catholic Church’s role in clergy sex abuse

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson is taking the Archdiocese of Seattle to court over records he said the church is refusing to give up in an investigation of its handling of child sex abuse allegations. Ferguson announced Thursday his office is investigating whether the Catholic Church used charitable funds to cover up allegations of sex…

Washington is intercepting federal benefits bound for foster youth

Despite pressure to end the practice, Washington continues to divert federal benefits owed to foster youth to fund the Department of Children, Youth and Families, which runs the state’s foster care system. That’s according to a report released last month by the Children’s Advocacy Institute at the University of San Diego, which grades each state…

WA decides: Initiative 2124 to make the state’s long-term care program optional

This article is one in a series looking at statewide initiatives on Washington’s 2024 November ballot. What would the initiative do? Initiative 2124 would amend the state’s long-term care program, known as WA Cares, so all workers would have a choice about whether to participate in it and can opt out at any time.  As…

WA decides: Initiative 2109 to repeal the state’s capital gains tax

This article is one in a series looking at statewide initiatives on Washington’s 2024 November ballot. What would the initiative do? Initiative 2109 would repeal Washington’s capital gains tax. What is the capital gains tax? The capital gains tax levies a 7% tax on the sale or exchange of long-term capital assets, such as stocks,…

Voters may get a say on the future of natural gas in Washington

The November ballot could be the next battleground in the fight over Washington’s march toward ending natural gas use in homes. Key players behind three Republican-backed initiatives state voters are already set to decide are close to launching an all-out effort for a fourth, aimed at blocking the state’s shift away from natural gas and…

Should Washington’s public schools ban students from using cellphones?

Smartphones gripping people’s attention isn’t anything new. But following the pandemic, Kris Hagel recalls seeing a troubling rise in public school students distracted by their phones during class. “I would walk through classrooms last year and kids have absolutely no attention to the teacher that’s presenting a lesson in front of them because they’re so…

More people landed jobs in Washington last month. More wound up jobless, too.

Washington’s economy added jobs in March. But its labor pool shrunk and the number of jobless grew as well. The combined result was an uptick in the state’s unemployment rate, according to the latest monthly report from the Employment Security Department. The economy grew by 5,300 jobs, with the private sector accounting for 2,900 and…

Guaranteed college financial aid coming to WA students on food assistance

Students from families on Washington’s food assistance programs will soon automatically qualify for financial aid to attend college. That’s due to a new state law, House Bill 2214, that guarantees state financial aid for students enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP for short and sometimes called food stamps. The law calls…

Annual report tracks vessels, helps State Ecology Department understand oil spill risks

The Washington State Department of Ecology Spills Program prepares for oil and hazardous substance spills and responds to them.  However, preventing spills from happening in the first place is the best way to protect the environment and human health, the department said. The Spills Program Prevention Section works with industry and other groups to lower…

Washington’s preschool system ranks below most other states, report finds

Washington’s access to quality preschool services falls below many other states, only serving 16% of four-year-olds and 8% of three-year-olds, a new national report found. The National Institute for Early Education Research released its annual preschool report last week and found Washington’s preschool access ranked 33rd for four-year-olds and 17th for three-year-olds. The report also…

In WA education chief race, upstart candidate raises twice as much as incumbent

In the race to lead Washington’s public school system, Reid Saaris, a teacher and founder of an education nonprofit, has raised twice as much as the incumbent, Chris Reykdal. “We’re definitely excited and honored by the support,” Saaris said. “It’s a testament to the message that really resonates with everyone I talk with … We’re…

Washington electric vehicle rebates up to $9,000 available beginning in August

Washington motorists will gain access this summer to new state rebates – up to $9,000 in some cases – to help cover the cost of leasing or purchasing electric vehicles. Gov. Jay Inslee and state Department of Commerce Director Mike Fong provided details Tuesday about the program, which will be available at auto dealerships beginning…

Latest count finds Washington’s wolf population is increasing

Washington’s wolf population increased by 20% last year, the 15th year in a row that the number of endangered gray wolves in the state has grown, according to new state figures. As of the end of 2023, Washington had 260 wolves in 42 packs. That’s up from 216 wolves in 37 packs the previous year….

With Thursday groundbreaking, Lynnwood Neighborhood Center closer to reality

This story was updated to correct donation amounts and building square footage. The dream of building a “one-stop hub” for human services in South Snohomish County moved a step closer to reality Thursday, as officials broke ground for the new Lynnwood Neighborhood Center just west of Lynnwood’s Trinity Lutheran Church. Elected officials and staff joined…