Michael Luis

Michael Luis is a public policy consultant who has been wrestling with housing, growth and economic development issues around Washington State for over 30 years. He is author of several books on local history and served as mayor of Medina.

Power Up: How America Keeps Warm

In the quest to wean the nation off of fossil fuels, one imperative will remain non-negotiable: people want to stay warm in the winters that will persist, even with...

Windfall! Most Cities Really Don’t Need all that COVID Relief Money

For state government and local jurisdictions across Washington, this adds up to a veritable flood of new revenue.

How Would a $15 Minimum Wage change the National Economy?

The entire theory of spatial equilibrium calls into question the wisdom of setting national wage rates. Wages reflect the value of work, but also the relative cost of living in a place.

US News Declares Washington ‘The Best State.’ Hold the Champagne — It’s Not.

The methodology discounts high costs and thereby rewards the "best states if you can afford to live there." No surprise that Washington aces this test.

Seattle Real Estate – A Flight to Affordability? Meh…

This is not a story of flight to affordability. Both high priced and more affordable market areas can be seen on the top and bottom of the list. The Eastside is generally favored in this list, but not all parts. More affordable inner suburbs like West Hill and Des Moines are doing well, while Shoreline and Lake Forest Park are not doing as well.

Reduce Pedestrian Accidents to Zero? Um… No (Here’s Why)

We should see our traffic system as a remarkable success, rather than setting unrealistic goals and looking for a systemic fix.

What are People doing with those COVID-Relief Checks? Saving!

The unemployed, who really needed the money, probably spent that extra benefit, while everyone else simply stuck it in the bank. The personal savings rate rose to 20.5 percent.

What, Exactly, is a Suburb?

The easiest way to think about suburbs is as the parts of a metropolitan area that lie outside the boundaries of the central city. By this definition, the suburban footprint varies quite widely among metro areas.

Boise as Test Case: Calculating the Formula for Livability

If the mayor of Boise hopes that the city can absorb an income boost with new transplants, keep housing costs down, and protect the area’s quality of life, the math, unfortunately, is working against that outcome.

Data Show: Relief Checks won’t do What’s Needed

So, here we go with another round of proposed payments that will strengthen household balance sheets but probably won't stimulate much of anything. Two key measures came out last week that give us a view of the economy at year end and what the new relief package might mean.