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

In brief: Tax break auditors give report to House panel

OLYMPIA – The Legislature should take a look at tax breaks for insurance agents and travel agents, for manufacturers of high-tech and bio-tech, for folks who load big ships and folks who catch certain kinds of fish, a House committee was told Monday.

Some may not be creating or protecting jobs as the Legislature intended when they were granted five, 10, or more than 70 years ago.

But that’s hard to tell, representatives of the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee told the House Finance Committee, because in many cases the Legislature didn’t set down in law what it expected. Audit staff reviewed about three dozen tax credits, exemptions or special rates last year and said about a dozen should at least be clarified so researchers can tell if they’re working as intended.

Bill requires WSDOT to report on mistakes

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Transportation would have to report mistakes on projects that cost more than $500,000 and in some cases explain to the Legislature why the person responsible wasn’t fired, under a bill being considered by a House committee.

The proposal is partly a response to some high-profile mistakes on major West Side projects, such as leaky pontoons for a bridge over Lake Washington that might cost $100 million to fix and a proposed bridge over the Columbia River that wasn’t designed to be tall enough to let ships pass, Rep. Steve O’Ban, R-Pierce County, said. But a list provided to O’Ban from the Transportation Department showed some 18 projects over the past 10 years had mistakes costing a total of $29.2 million to fix.

O’Ban said the bill was about transparency and accountability, not punishment. The department and its engineers said errors are already reported, and many of the bill’s requirements are already in place.

Suspect in killings released from hospital

SEATTLE – The man accused of strangling his grandparents in Renton, Wash., has been released from a Portland hospital and will be returned to Washington to face prosecution.

Michael Chadd Boysen was treated for self-inflicted cuts after his arrest March 12 at a Lincoln City, Ore., motel.

Boysen is being held in the Multnomah County Jail and has waived extradition.

Authorities say he killed Robert R. Taylor, 82, and Norma J. Taylor, 80, after they picked him up from prison on March 8 and held a welcome home party for him at their home.

A spokesman with the Washington Department of Corrections said Boysen is expected to be transferred to a corrections facility in Shelton by Friday. He’ll likely be held there while facing new criminal charges.