Lobby group says state Senate cut funding for rebuilding Sunset Beach

June 10, 2015

The final state budget has yet to be written.

But the state Senate version contains some $68.8 million for the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program, according to information provided by the Wildlife and Recreation Coalition.

That coalition is a private, statewide advocacy group that supports outdoor and environmental projects across Washington.

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Guest column — Slow down, support business growth and connect to economic plan

November 4, 2014

As a part of the proposed 2015 city of Issaquah budget, municipal leaders have proposed major changes to the cost of doing business in Issaquah — some welcome changes and some troublesome — involving the city’s business and occupation (or B&O) tax, a tax on total gross (not net) income.

The first change is a welcome and very much common-sense improvement to the B&O exemption, raising it four-fold to help the smallest local enterprises while also streamlining collection.

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Business community raises concerns about new B&O tax

October 21, 2014

As the city of Issaquah considers raising its business and occupation tax for the first time since 2004, local business owners gathered to offer their concerns about the proposal at an Oct. 15 roundtable at Tibbetts Creek Manor.

The Issaquah Chamber of Commerce-hosted event showed business leaders have plenty of questions about the tax increase, including where the extra revenue will be spent.

“I don’t want to pay for fluff,” said Norma Stephens, Curves of Issaquah owner.

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Costco proposed expansion causes growing concerns

September 23, 2014

Who will pay for a Costco expansion? That question has nearby business and property owners concerned.

Business and property owners have concerns about how proposed Costco growth might affect northern Issaquah, and about who pays for parts of the project.

In its Sept. 15 regular meeting, the Issaquah City Council held a public hearing regarding the draft agreement that has made its way through the Development Services Department in the past several months.

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Senate bill takes aim at potential annexation tax credit

February 4, 2014

Annexing Klahanie would be much less palatable for Issaquah if a bill introduced by state Sen. Andy Hill (R-45) is approved.

Hill, who represents the northern half of Sammamish, introduced a bill Jan. 29, which would mean a drastic reduction to Issaquah’s expected revenue from an annexation.

Councilman Don Gerend said the Sammamish City Council did have a hand in bringing the bill to the Senate, and to Hill, chairman of the Senate’s budget-writing committee.

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Issaquah pushes for Legislature movement on transportation

January 14, 2014

Transportation will continue to top Issaquah’s wish list for this year’s legislative session.

At a casual breakfast meeting Jan. 6, city leaders met with local representatives and Issaquah’s lobbyist Doug Levy to discuss the regular session, which began Jan. 13. Fifth District Republican Reps. Jay Rodne and Chad Magendanz joined Democratic Sen. Mark Mullet in talking about the city’s interests in possible legislation.

“As you travel around the region, I imagine that every jurisdiction names transportation as the No. 1 concern, and Issaquah is no different,” new Mayor Fred Butler said. “Last year was a tough legislative session around a transportation package, because there wasn’t one.”

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I-522 spurs opinions about genetically modified food

October 15, 2013

November’s ballot initiative to label genetically modified food has caused a large split between local action and out-of-state funding.

Initiative 522 will ask voters whether the state should enforce labeling on genetically modified foodstuffs when sold in Washington.

“This measure would require most raw agricultural commodities, processed foods, and seeds and seed stocks, if produced using genetic engineering, as defined, to be labeled as genetically engineered when offered for retail sale,” the Nov. 5 ballot reads.

The question has stirred the state on both sides of the Cascades, and Issaquah residents and leaders have taken to the issue.

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Co-founder stops by Ben & Jerry’s

September 17, 2013

Jerry Greenfield, the titular co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, stopped by the Issaquah Highlands Sept. 13 to share his support for labeling genetically modified foods.

Hosted by State Sen. Mark Mullet, who owns a Ben & Jerry’s franchise on 10th Avenue Northeast, Greenfield showed up to lead an event bringing attention to state Initiative 552, which would mandate food producers to label genetically modified foods if passed on the November ballot.

By Greg Farrar Jerry Greenfield (second from left), co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, poses Sept. 13 with Sabath and husband State Sen. Mark Mullet with daughters Penelope, 3, and Caroline, 4, during the I-552 event at Mullet’s Issaquah Highlands franchise.

By Greg Farrar
Jerry Greenfield (second from left), co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, poses Sept. 13 with Sabath and husband State Sen. Mark Mullet with daughters Penelope, 3, and Caroline, 4, during the I-552 event at Mullet’s Issaquah Highlands franchise.

“We’ve been in the area for a week, scooping out free Ben & Jerry’s and having a grand time,” Greenfield said. “Ben & Jerry’s is courting yes on I-552.”

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Plastic bag ban appeal gets enough signatures

September 10, 2013

An appeal to the Issaquah bag ban is now in King County’s hands.

Save Our Choice, a volunteer organization working throughout the Seattle metropolitan area in opposition to bans on plastic bags, submitted well over the requisite number of signatures to seek a citizen referendum on the six-month-old ordinance Aug. 30. An as-yet-unverified 3,400 signatures were given to the city, which then passed them to the county elections department.

Save Our Choice Co-founder Craig Keller, who has gone door to door since the inception of the effort March 1, said he was not celebrating yet. Although the organization turned in more than the 2,549 needed, he said he would still collect signatures in case the county invalidated any of the ones already collected.

“We’re still collecting signatures just in case we need any,” he said. “I’m not worried that we’re going to get enough. It’s a relief.”

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Save our Choice still seeks to reverse ban

July 16, 2013

Save Our Choice will not give up its continuing effort to repeal Issaquah’s ban on plastic bags.

Organizer Craig Keller said that, although volunteers were not able to secure the 2,843 signatures needed to appear on the August ballot, they would not halt the work.

“We’re making good progress,” Keller said.

The organization’s largest argument revolves around the issue being decided by the City Council without input from Issaquah’s citizens. Keller said a measure that affected business and shopping practices should have been brought to the voters in a referendum.

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