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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Richard Roesler

This individual is no longer an employee with The Spokesman-Review.

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House approves ‘everything but marriage’ bill

After emotional debate, state lawmakers on Wednesday approved an “everything but marriage” bill granting same-sex domestic partners most of the rights and responsibilities of spouses.
News >  Pacific NW

State, railroad reach agreement

OLYMPIA – State transportation officials have worked out an agreement with the Eastern Washington Gateway Railroad to keep the company running trains on 110 miles of taxpayer-owned track west of Spokane.
News >  Spokane

Washington auto dealers get OK to charge higher fees

Car buyers are likely to be paying an extra $100 soon, after Washington lawmakers passed a bill intended to raise millions of dollars for struggling auto dealers. Gov. Chris Gregoire has yet to sign the measure but is expected to do soon.
News >  Spokane

Sales tax increase could go before state voters

OLYMPIA – Washington House Speaker Frank Chopp said Thursday that there’s a “better than 50-50” chance that voters will be asked to approve a sales tax increase this fall. As envisioned now, the tax increase would be one-third of 1 percentage point more, or an extra 33 cents on a $100 purchase. It would bring in millions of dollars to help offset budget cuts to hospitals, nursing homes and health care programs.

Wash. aerospace study leaked

A confidential state-sponsored survey of how Washington stacks up for aerospace businesses finds that other states have significant advantages over the longtime home of Boeing.
News >  Spokane

University tuition could skyrocket 28 percent

Saying that the state cannot dismantle its colleges and expect to emerge from the recession strong, Gov. Chris Gregoire on Tuesday proposed letting the state’s four-year schools hike tuition by 14 percent a year each of the next two years. Community colleges could boost their tuition by 7 percent a year.

Key lawmakers considering state income tax on wealthy

After years of a few lawmakers flirting with the idea of a state income tax, key lawmakers now say they’re seriously considering it as a way to help the cash-strapped state budget in the long term. A possible state income tax on people earning $500,000 or more a year, “would mean that 19 out of 20 people in Washington state would not be affected at all,” said Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, D-Spokane. “…We don’t want people who are middle class families or struggling even more than that to pay more in taxes.” The percentage of such a tax — or even whether lawmakers will push ahead with it — has yet to be determined, Brown said. And it’s not a sure thing that lawmakers will actually push ahead with the plan. House Speaker Frank Chopp said today that he wants to see polling data to see if voters agree with the concept. “The key is what would the public support,” said Chopp. But he noted that voters in 2006 strongly rejected a measure that would have repealed Washington’s estate tax, which applies only to estates worth $2 million or more. “I’m for whatever the public will support in terms of this,” said Chopp. “And they might be open to that.”
News >  Spokane

Millions proposed for Eastern Washington construction

Finally, some good budget news out of Olympia. State lawmakers on Wednesday proposed billions of dollars on construction spending over the next two years, including millions for local universities, community colleges, schools and other projects.

Rail line owners struggle to keep pace

OLYMPIA – Two years after the state signed an agreement with an Illinois company to run trains on 110 miles of taxpayer-owned rail lines west of Spokane, the deal is in jeopardy over the struggling railroad’s failure to maintain the old tracks.
News >  Pacific NW

Wash. revenue drops; deficit nears $9 billion

OLYMPIA – With a final piece of bad news Thursday – $552 million less than expected for the upcoming budget – state lawmakers are scrambling to put the finishing touches on a “devastating” two-year budget plan to be unveiled next week.
News >  Spokane

State workers decry ‘all-cuts’ plan

OLYMPIA – In a scene repeated across Washington, sign-carrying state workers at the Capitol on Tuesday called on lawmakers to look at raising taxes to offset some deep budget cuts. “Hey hey, ho ho, an all-cuts budget’s got to go,” they chanted.
News >  Spokane

Lawmakers urged to fix U.S. 195 intersection

OLYMPIA – Two months to the day after a 16-year-old motorist was killed pulling onto U.S. Highway 195, her family and friends traveled to Olympia to call on state lawmakers to fix the dangerous intersection.
News >  Spokane

Budget crisis hits close to home

As budget writers in the statehouse huddle behind closed doors, thousands of people across Eastern Washington – college students, single moms, elderly people, workers and taxpayers – have a big stake in what they decide.
News >  Spokane

Court rejects challenge to anti-tax measure

OLYMPIA – Declining to wade into the middle of a family fight, Washington’s highest court on Thursday rejected Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown’s challenge to an anti-tax ballot measure.