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.

Why Those $600 COVID-Relief Checks Make Bad Economic Sense

Retail sales of goods are higher than they were a year ago, thanks in part to online retail, but services remain stubbornly down and won’t recover until customers feel comfortable patronizing high-touch businesses. No amount of stimulus money can change that reality.

Twin Peaks? Seattle and San Francisco Take COVID Housing Dips

Among the larger metro area markets in the country, San Francisco has had the largest area-wide one-year rent drop and Seattle has had the second largest drop. The December one-bedroom median rent was $2,700 for San Francisco and $1,540 for Seattle.

Is Seattle Catching What Ails San Francisco?

With increasing technology business ties between Seattle and the San Francisco Bay Area, the longstanding sisterhood is getting closer. So, we might ask how much of what seems to be ailing San Francisco these days has migrated up the coast.

Diminished: The 40 Percent SeaTac

Not only are people reluctant to spend hours in an enclosed space with strangers, they are not too keen on doing the things that happen on the other end of the trip: business meetings, conventions, theme parks, tourism. So even if air travel itself has been shown to be a relatively low risk activity, it is not likely to recover until these other activities recover.

How Prepared are Our Kids for Kindergarten?

Is the entering kindergartener operating at the level of a 2-year old, a 3-year old, a 4-year old or at the level of a typical kindergartener or above? Not surprisingly, preparedness varies by school district.

Seattle has Spent Millions on Bike Trails. Is Bike Ridership Up?

The network has been expanding, and the city has signaled its strong support for bike commuting, so we might expect to see growth over time as more origins and destinations get connected.

Seattle Leads in getting Denser. Is the rest of the Country Following?

Since passage of the Growth Management Act (GMA) in 1990 the state and region have been in the forefront of what came to be know as the Smart Growth movement that sought to shift growth patterns away from the dominant post-World War II model. If we have been leaders, do we have any followers?

The Job Machine Sputters

Nationally, economists have been predicting that the recovery from the pandemic recession would hit a wall, and we have hit that wall in Washington.

Our Prisons Are Full. Here’s What that Looks Like

The average number of inmates housed in Washington’s traditional state prisons in 2020 is just slightly higher than in 2009, while the state’s population grew 15 percent during that time.

Washington: Productivity Good, Employment Not So Much

Goods producing sectors–mostly construction and manufacturing–are getting closer to the old normal, while services in general lag behind. Both GDP and employment will likely see long tails of recovery as high-touch services wait for safety and customers to return.