John Stang

John Stang

John Stang is a longtime Pacific Northwest reporter. He is a jack-of-all-trades freelancer with expertise in a variety of topics, including the Hanford nuclear reservation, state government, the environment, science and crime.

Washington state counties

Bills would divert retail sales tax toward statewide tourism program

Washington is the only state without a statewide tourism marketing program. But that would change under two bills making their way throughout the Washington Legislature. So far the bills by Rep. Cary Condotta, R-Wenatchee, and Sen. Dean Takko, D-Longview, have easily sailed through their committee stages for eventual floor votes. The bills would create the […]

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Legislators work to hammer out compromise on family leave bills

A compromise is being worked on for two different family leave bills in Olympia. A Democratic bill is sailing through the Washington House, mainly because the Democrats are the majority party there. However, the Senate Republicans put their own family leave bill on hold, not even voting it out of a committee despite having the […]

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Water rights bill faces tough road in Democratic-controlled House

Hirst decision affecting rural development; bill would give local governments more flexibility A bill to deal with a development-related fallout of last year’s state Supreme Court’s decision passed the Republican-dominated Washington Senate. However, the 28-21 vote on Feb. 28 mostly along party lines means that bill faces a tough road in the Democratic-controlled House. The […]

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Washington State

Increasing B&O taxes on this year’s legislative agenda

No one in Olympia appears to like the business-and-occupation tax — the state tax on gross receipts. But other than adding exemptions, Washington’s Legislature has been reluctant to do anything about B&O taxes. Each session, changes get proposed. Each session, those proposals die. “A silver bullet is not there because it is such a complex […]

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Chamber opposes ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to family leave legislation

The Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce opposes a “one-size-fits-all” approach on family leave legislation in Olympia. So far, the chamber has not taken an official position on the two plans that have begun their journey through the Legislature, waiting for more to unfold first, said Austin Neilson, the chamber’s government affairs director.  “We’re definitely keeping […]

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Tri-City Regional and West Richland chamber officials celebrate the opening of Green2Go in Finley with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

State Legislature may tackle topics affecting Tri-City region

Retail pot, small modular reactors, funding for college projects among items of local interest Local governments in Benton and Franklin counties could find their bans and moratoriums on selling retail marijuana revoked in 2017. There’s also a chance that building small modular reactors in the Tri-Cities could get another chance in the Washington Legislature. Budget […]

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Business community wary of minimum wage increase

Business community wary of minimum wage increase

What will the passage of Initiative 1433 — raising the minimum wage to $13.50 an hour by 2020 — mean to small businesses in the Tri-Cities? To Don Karger, owner of Henry’s Restaurant & Catering in West Richland and his eight employees, it could translate to an $11,000 drop in his personal income. With the passage […]

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Tri-City veterans fare better than most in job hunt

Veterans are finding an easier time finding work in the Columbia Basin. The statewide jobless rate for veterans is 3.8 percent, while the state jobless figure is 6.9 percent. In 2015, the veterans’ jobless rate for Richland and Kennewick was 3 percent, according to the U.S. Census. “It is lower than the unemployment for the […]

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