Articles written by Don C. Brunell

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It's imperative we learn to mitigate massive wildfire dangers

At last count firefighters were battling 82 major wildfires in 10 western states. The fires have already scorched 2,300 square miles of forests and range lands, dislocated thousands of people, and burned hundreds of homes and buildings. This has...

 

People coming together is silver lining to Hurricane Harvey

All of the things that went wrong in New Orleans with Hurricane Katrina in 2005, appear to have been corrected with Houston’s recent Hurricane Harvey. Chalk it up to a series of important lessons learned. By now everyone knows that Harvey came...

 

Taxing robots to slow down worker displacement

By DON C. BRUNELL Contributor Last February, the European Parliament rejected a tax on robots, but took the first steps to regulate their development and deployment. The legislation also aims to establish liability for the actions of robots, includin...

 

Sudden deaths took a trio of state's business, ag leaders

So far this year, a trio of unexpected deaths has shocked Washington business and agriculture. Melanie Dressel, Ron Reimann and Jeff Brotman leave behind large shoes to fill. They came from vastly different backgrounds and political perspectives,...

 

Race to toll likely to clip Washington drivers

In 2014, President Barrack Obama opened the door for states to collect tolls on interstate highways. This year Oregon lawmakers, much to the chagrin of Washington drivers and truckers, unilaterally took advantage of the new funding opportunity....

 

Liquefied natural gas better for maritime, and people

There is an old saying: Don’t let the perfect get in the way of the good. That is important to remember when it comes to improving our air quality. While some activists want to eliminate all fossil fuels used on the waterfront, it is not possible...

 

There's good news from Washington's boatyards

We can all use a dose of good news these days and there is some flowing from our state’s boatyards. When we think of maritime industries, we often focus on the mammoth ocean-going ships loaded with containers docking in Seattle, Tacoma and...

 
 By DON C. BRUNELL    Opinion    June 1, 2017

Texas is flush with tons of transportation cash

In the last decade, there has been a highway construction boom in Texas. On the other hand, lawmakers in Olympia still scramble to fund road maintenance. Texas, a state with a population of 27 million, is flush with cash thanks partly to a 10-year...

 
 By DON C. BRUNELL    Opinion    May 11, 2017

Remembering Eastern Washington's farm-kid governor

There was nothing pretentious about Mike Lowry. What you saw is what you got! Lowry was one of Washington’s most colorful governors. He served one term from 1993 to 1997. He died on May 1 at age 78. There was nothing subtle about Lowry. He was not...

 
 By DON C. BRUNELL    Opinion    May 4, 2017

It's time to ax Amtrak passenger service to Chicago

Last month, a Wall Street Journal editorial hit the nail on the head recommending Amtrak focus its limited funds on shorter more heavily traveled routes between Washington, D.C., and Boston. The money is needed to prevent more derailments. The...

 

Entrepreneurs remain the key to America's success

American entrepreneurs’ ability to invent, create and bring products and services to market makes our nation great. Their success generates the tax revenue which fund our schools and puts people to work. Many “big businesses” started in the...

 

Lessons learned from demise of Northwest aluminum industry

Driving east along State Route 14 these days, you see water pouring out of Columbia River dams. It is already a high water year with much of the runoff from our heavy mountain snowpack yet to come. It is part of our “feast or famine” weather...

 

Priorities, and price, of government is worth another look

In 2003, Gov. Gary Locke (D) faced a 10 percent revenue hole in the state’s budget. He also stared at a sluggish economy still reeling from the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. People were reluctant to fly and airlines stopped buying Boeing jets....

 

Washington lawmakers must consider costs of all taxes

As lawmakers in Olympia inch toward adjournment, they must keep in mind the total added costs of new taxes on our state’s economy. It is not just about the taxes and fees they impose. They are working against an April 23 deadline to enact a...

 

Rosellini's '60s toll idea deserves another look

Remember the old saying: Hindsight is 20-20? If only Washington voters had followed Gov. Albert Rosellini’s tolling plan to build, maintain and replace our state’s major bridges, we would have replacement funds today. Now, lawmakers in Olympia...

 

Climate Leadership Council's carbon dividend is worth exploration

Recently, some of America’s most respected statesmen announced a different strategy to reducing carbon pollution — one which is based on incentives as opposed to penalties. Believing that carrots work better than sticks, the Climate Leadership...

 

Cop shootings statistics and job stress on the rise

The number of police officers shot and killed last year rose dramatically. So did the number of assaults on cops and the stress under which they work. That trend ought to concern every American because violence impacts our neighborhoods, schools and...

 

Despite our turmoils, Americans are truly blessed

For some, Thanksgiving is a time to gather with family and friends and give thanks for the blessings we enjoy. For others, it’s a time to volunteer at soup kitchens to help the less fortunate while many see it as simply a chance to eat a huge meal...

 

Clinton, Trump should take a page from Gerald Ford's playbook

It’s D-Day for American voters. With Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump carrying unusually low approval ratings and having a deep antipathy for one another, no matter which one ultimately is elected, the nation will be bitterly polarized. Hopefully,...

 

Timber money required for school construction

Uncoupling state timber sales revenue from public school construction funding doesn’t make sense. It is akin to killing the goose laying the golden eggs. That idea came up during this year’s campaign for public lands commissioner. Democrat...

 

Cumulative costs are what drive employer decisions

The $15 minimum wage is an example of elected officials with tunnel vision passing sweeping legislation while ignoring the cumulative impacts of all of the other government mandates on employers. They only zero-in on the costs and benefits of a...

 

U.S. Olympic success leads to Internal Revenue Service gold

Guess who was among the first to welcome our Olympic athletes back home from Rio? None other than the IRS. For U.S. athletes, winning an Olympic medal comes with pride, glory — and a hefty federal tax bill. According to TIME magazine, Michael...

 

Investors want high tech companies to save water

Recently, Bloomberg reported that investors in massive data centers are making water availability a critical measurement in their decisions — especially in drought-ridden California. Data centers, giant buildings packed with servers which power...

 

Grade school dropout Henry Kaiser also made America great

Between now and November, you will hear lots about “How to Make America Great Again!” Much of our country’s greatness is because of our “entrepreneurial spirit.” It is our unique trait that makes us the envy of the world. America has been...

 

Politicians might find 'bumper car therapy' beneficial in relieving polarization

Over the last 35 years our family has vacationed at the same place on the beach. While the buildings have been refurbished, the complex remains largely unchanged. However, our entertainment has changed a lot. We still swim, jump the waves and build...

 

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