Is a Land-Value Tax Illegal in Seattle?

Analyzing the Washington State constitution.

As we’ve discussed before, land-value taxation is a smart tool for revitalizing cities. By raising the cost of land speculation, a land-value tax (LVT) would create clear financial incentives to develop underutilized properties near the urban core—helping to create new homes and businesses in the very places where demand is greatest.

The basic idea of LVT is to tax land at a higher rate than buildings. But there’s a significant obstacle to implementing LVT in Washington. Article VII of the  …  read more »

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Measures of Money

The corruption of citizen initiatives.

Six hundred dollars.

That’s how much money residents of Washington State donated to the “No” campaign in the 2013 initiative concerning genetic engineering. The vote was not about banning the use of gene splicing techniques, nor about regulating them. It was not about warning consumers away from genetically modified products. It wasn’t even about studying the practice. All it proposed to do was require food products to indicate on their packaging whether they contained genetically altered ingredients. Not, you  …  read more »

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2014 Update: Grading Economics Textbooks on Climate Change

Solid progress in economics textbooks' climate discussions.
Original Sightline Institute graphic, available under our free use policy.

Original Sightline Institute graphic, available under our free use policy.

With a new school year approaching, this is a good time to update our review of the treatment of climate change in economics textbooks. As in our 2010 and 2012 reviews, some books hit the mark while others are wildly misleading. But we’re happy to say that there’s plenty of good news, especially at the top and the bottom of the grade distribution: the good books have gotten better (including the first-ever A+ grade!) and even the worst ones have  …  read more »

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Weekend Reading 8/22/14

Style coup, top coal reads, donuts for bears, and more.
Original illustration by Nina Montenegro of ghosttide.com.

Eric

My top recommendation this week is Lummi elder Jewell James’ article in the Bellingham Herald:

In August we make our journey from South Dakota to the Salish Sea and north to Alberta, Canada, stopping with many of the tribal and local communities whose lives unwillingly intersect with the paths of coal exports and tar sands. We will carry with us a 19-foot-tall totem that brings to mind our shared responsibility for the lands, the waters and the peoples

 …  read more »

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Ambre Energy’s Troubled History: Greatest Hits Edition!

The "thin green line" of the PNW puts Ambre in its place.

EVENTS: Coal & Oil Trains in Bellingham, Everett

Two public panel discussions on Northwest fossil fuel exports.

(Pay To) Park and Ride?

How user fees will produce parking sanity.

Weekend Reading 8/15/14

Photos: Living off the grid; #IfTheyGunnedMeDown; and more.

The Holy Grail of Parenting

A photoessay on urban spaces that work equally for parents AND kids. (Please send us yours!)

Messaging Basics to Live By

Our favorite Flashcard tips: Go viral, show your true colors, and optimize your photos.