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Articles written by Mark Harmsworth

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  • Change Growth Management Act

    Mark Harmsworth|Updated Jun 12, 2024

    Demographia has just published a study, authored by Wendell Cox, that compares the affordability of housing in the international marketplace. The conclusions show that while Washington state isn’t the most expensive, it is on its way to the top spot. What’s sad is it’s all avoidable with some simple changes to state policy. Currently, Seattle ranks 73 out of 100 of the most affordable major cities to live. The study summarizes that the high prices are “largely the product...

  • Study: capping rent costs won't help

    Mark Harmsworth|Updated Apr 18, 2024

    In a backwards approach to helping tenants, the Federal Government is capping rent increases on subsidized housing at 10% in a bid to reduce the cost of rental properties. The result, should the measures be adopted, will be exactly the opposite and rents will go up. When you place caps on rent, instead of letting the market drive the pricing, the supply of rental property declines and the result is higher demand and higher prices for rent. There is a short-term impact to...

  • Road tolls won't solve woes

    Mark Harmsworth|Updated Oct 26, 2023

    The Interstate 405 and state Highway 167 toll lane experiment is losing money. Now, the state Transportation Commission is considering increasing tolls by up to 80% to $18 each way on I-405. The increase will cost an I-405 commuter, using the lanes at peak toll periods, around $720 per month or $8,640 per year. If you travel the entire Highway 167 and I-405 corridor you could see a toll of up to $54. The state Department of Transportation fiscal report for the tolling project...

  • State audit still not followed

    Mark Harmsworth|Updated Jan 5, 2023

    The Washington State Auditor has completed a performance audit of the Employment Security Department and has found the agency still has not corrected its systemic performance and fraud problems uncovered during the COVID-19 pandemic. After the complete failure of the agency to handle pandemic unemployment claims, which culminated in the resignation of Commissioner Suzi LeVine in 2021, state lawmakers passed several key pieces of legislation to require the agency to reform...

  • State should simplify regulations

    Mark Harmsworth|Updated Dec 15, 2022

    Former state senator and current state Director of Commerce Lisa Brown rightly describes the difficulties a small business startup faces in Washington. Brown says the state Department of Commerce is helping small business owners navigate the complicated array of regulations and mandates that the very same government agency had previously imposed. But Brown completely glosses over the underlying problem small businesses face when they first start; that is, over complex...

  • Benefit eligibility could effect residents

    Mark Harmsworth, Washington Policy Center|Updated Dec 8, 2021

    Due to the federal government changing the unemployment benefit eligibility rules mid-pandemic, some Washington residents, who have been receiving unemployment benefits, will now have repay the benefits despite being approved to receive benefits initially. The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, launched shortly after the pandemic started, did not fully verify that a benefit claimant was eligible for program benefits. Claimants that applied under the rules of the...

  • L&I's virus passport rules overreach

    Mark Harmsworth, Washington Policy Center|Updated May 27, 2021

    New COVID workplace restrictions, issued by Washington State Labor and Industries (L&I) late last Friday, May 21st, require employers to check employee vaccine documents before allowing relaxation of social distancing and mask requirements in the workplace. The new state rules require an employer to confirm, and have employees prove their vaccine medical status. The process used to verify vaccination, and the medical status of the employee’s vaccination record, including t...

  • Negative impact of high minimum wage

    Mark Harmsworth|Updated Nov 19, 2020

    Washington has one of the highest minimum wage levels in the U.S. For workers who have a job this sounds like a great deal, but as with all things the government mandates, there are some serious, negative consequences, primarily on young and entry level workers who are forced into joblessness. Nowhere is the harm imposed by a high minimum wage demonstrated more clearly than in Seattle, where the city council has aggressively increased the minimum wage over the last few years....

  • Governor's office knew unemployment would run out

    Mark Harmsworth|Updated Aug 5, 2020

    Records obtained through the public records request process show that officials in the Governor’s office knew on May 1st that the Employment Trust Fund balance would be eventually depleted but did not admit this publicly until June 30th. Prompted by an article published by Washington Policy Center on May 1st, Senator Christine Rolfes, who serves as Chair on the Senate Ways and Means committee responsible for overseeing the state budget, forwarded the WPC article to the G...