Identifying Small Business Challenges In Washington’s Workers’ Compensation System

In the business world, one workers' compensation claim can spell disaster for employers and their ability to stay afloat in a competitive market, and the financial effects...

Majority of Voters Now Opposed to Sound Transit 3

The backlash against new Sound Transit 3 (ST3) car tab fees by Puget Sound drivers hasn’t let up. A recent survey of likely voters in...
Debate Continues Over Proposed Property Tax Hikes

Debate Continues Over Proposed Property Tax Hikes

Although state budget negotiations are at a standstill in Olympia, debate over legislative proposals to repeal the state’s property tax restriction on counties has...
War Over Words In Local Income Tax Debate

War Over Words In Local Income Tax Debate

State lawmakers who oppose an income tax and believe taxes should be approved through legislative or voter approval have yet another chance to make...
Business, Industry Leaders Say Aerospace Tax Incentives Would Harm Competitiveness

Business, Industry Leaders Say Aerospace Tax Incentives Would Harm Competitiveness

Following the announced layoffs of hundreds of Boeing workers, state lawmakers are considering two bills during the special session that would link job quotas...
As Budget Talks Stall, Members Resort to Political Theater

As Budget Talks Stall, Members Resort to Political Theater

With budget negotiations at a standstill, Washington state lawmakers are resorting to creative methods to continue discussions. After forcing a symbolic vote April 21...
Leveling The Playing Field For Manufacturing Businesses

Leveling The Playing Field For Manufacturing Businesses

A new Senate bill would encourage competitiveness and promote job creation for smaller and medium-sized manufacturing businesses by reducing their general business and occupation (B&O) tax rate....
Luring Major U.S. Export Industry To Washington

Luring Major U.S. Export Industry To Washington

In 2016, the semiconductor manufacturing industry exported $43.1 billion worth of product, making it the third most lucrative U.S. export. A new report by...
House Budget Funding Bill Faces Uncertain Future

House Budget Funding Bill Faces Uncertain Future

With the state House proposed 2017-19 operating budget approved last week, eyes are now fixed on legislation needed to fund it. HB 2186 received...
Battle Of The State Budgets Begins

Battle Of The State Budgets Begins

House Democrats have released their proposed 2017-19 operating budget that includes over $7 billion in increased basic education spending over four years and a...
New Carbon Tax Proposal Under Fire By Washington Manufacturers

New Carbon Tax Proposal Under Fire By Washington Manufacturers

House Democrats have proposed a new carbon tax they say addresses criticisms leveled against similar proposals that have failed to garner legislative or voter...
Washington Industry Urges Caution With Proposed Data Broker Tax

Washington Industry Urges Caution With Personal Data Sales Tax

Annual sales of personal information in the United States now exceeds $300 billion. Some state lawmakers want to tax those transactions when they involve...
Giving A Boost To Washington's Hi-Tech Research, Space Industry

Giving A Boost To Washington’s Hi-Tech Research, Space Industry

Washington currently ranks fifth in the nation for innovation related to research and development (R&D), according to a 2016 study by the Milken Institute...
Income Tax Ban Fails Senate Vote, But Clarifies Lawmakers’ Stance

Income Tax Ban Fails Senate Vote, But Clarifies Lawmakers’ Stance

A proposed constitutional amendment banning state or local taxes on individual incomes failed to garner the necessary two-thirds majority vote in the State Senate...
Rival Political Strategies In Play Over Progressive Income Tax

Rival Political Strategies In Play Over Progressive Income Tax

After Olympia voters decisively rejected a proposed tax in November, there is a renewed push to permit a progressive income tax in Washington through...
Two Starkly Different Visions For K-12

Two Starkly Different Visions For K-12

At a hearing of the Senate Ways and Means Committee Monday, January 30, lawmakers further staked out their ground in what will be protracted...
Forecast: Inslee's '17-'19 Budget Would Take $11 Billion In New Taxes By 2021

Forecast: Inslee’s ’17-’19 Budget Would Take $11 Billion In New Taxes By 2021

According to a recent four-year outlook from Washington's Economic and Revenue Forecast Council (ERFC), Governor Jay Inslee's 2017-19 operating budget would take about $11.3 billion...
Tax Incentives Could Help North Pacific Fishing Fleet Rebuilders Net A Big Catch

Tax Incentives Could Help North Pacific Fishing Fleet Rebuilders Net A Big Catch

The Seattle-based North Pacific fishing fleet is expected to get $1.6 billion in upgrades or rebuilding over the next decade, but in-state ship builders...

Inslee Seeks Tax Hike For Environment Fund

Governor Jay Inslee in his 2017-19 capital budget is proposing to raise Washington's Hazardous Substances Tax (HST), to bring revenue for the Model Toxics...
State Pension Fund Merger Gains Eyed

State Pension Fund Merger Gains Eyed

Merging two of Washington State’s eight public employee pension systems could save taxpayers almost $2 billion over the next 25 years, without reducing pension...
Transportation Funding Questions Persist

Transportation Funding Questions Persist

Adequately maintaining and growing Washington's transportation infrastructure isn't cheap, and in Central Puget Sound alone, a million more residents are due by 2040. A...
The State Of The State? Deeply Conflicted

The State Of The State? Deeply Conflicted

In his January 11 State of the State speech, Governor Jay Inslee called for compromise between divided state legislative chambers in order to fully fund basic education. However, Inslee's hope of...
Inslee's Carbon Tax Seen As 'Job Killer'

Inslee’s Carbon Tax Seen As ‘Job Killer’

A key piece of Governor Jay Inslee’s 2017-19 biennial budget proposal is a $25 per metric ton carbon tax on the production and consumption of fossil...
K-12 Task Force Stuck, But It's Early Innings

K-12 Task Force Stuck, But It’s Early Innings

As the 2017 biennial budget session of the Washington legislature opened Monday, January 9, all eyes were on the Joint Education Funding Task Force. Under a law passed in 2016, it...
Early Battle Lines Drawn On School Funding

Early Battle Lines Drawn On School Funding

Comments by State Sen. John Braun (R-20) at a recent Education Funding Task Force meeting suggest a possible push for evidence-based decision-making to ensure Washington's...

Lawmakers: Inslee’s New Taxes Won’t Fly

Washington state's major employers and several key lawmakers are warning that $4.4 billion in new taxes under Governor Jay Inslee’s 2017-19 budget would threaten Washington's economic recovery. If approved as...
State Budget Deficit Estimates Jump Higher

State Budget Deficit Estimates Jump Higher

The budget stakes have risen for Washington lawmakers. A report last week from the Office of Program Research states the expected budget deficit for the 2017-19 biennium will now be almost $1.5...
A roadmap For The Time Of Trump

A Roadmap For The Time Of Trump

Divisions are sharp in Washington State, and the United States, between economically challenged rural communities and thriving metro regions. This crystalised with the election of Donald Trump. Hillary...

Stage Set For Two State Budget Battles

The Washington legislature already faces a projected $2.6 billion deficit for the 2019-21 biennial budget, as it digs in this coming January to fashion...

Bottom-Up Rumblings On Washington Taxes

Turning heads statewide recently was the unanimous decision by the seven-member City of Spokane Valley to enact a new hurdle for that body to...

New Reports: Port Project Delays A Blow To Workers, And Washington Economy

Recent reports from the Washington Maritime Federation (WMF) and Washington Research Council (WRC) emphasize that lengthy permitting processes for proposed fossil fuel transport projects at major Washington...
Tax-Happy Washington State Supreme Court Called Out On K-12 Education Funding

Tax-Happy Washington State Supreme Court Called Out On K-12 Education Funding

State Rep. Matt Manweller (R-13) is reading the tea leaves on court-mandated hikes in the state's share of K-12 basic education funding, and he’s...
Cracking The Code To More K-12 Computer Science In Washington State

Cracking The Code To More K-12 Computer Science In Washington State

Demand for computer science jobs in Washington is three times greater than for all other jobs combined. Average starting pay in the state is...

Public Pension Reform: A Work In Progress

Washington has eight public pension systems for employees of state and local governments, and 15 plans within those systems. According to the latest numbers...
Huge War Chest Aids I-1464 'Campaign Finance Reform' Push In Washington State

Huge War Chest Aids I-1464 ‘Campaign Finance Reform’ Push In Washington State

Washington state election officials say that Initiative 1464 (I-1464) is likely to qualify for the fall ballot. It aims to institute several so-called campaign...
Heading For A Cage Match On Local Control Of Teacher Salaries

Heading For A Cage Match On Local Control Of Teacher Salaries

Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn has filed a lawsuit he hopes will spur the legislature to assume financial responsibility for basic...
New Oregon Business Tax Measure Could Hurt, Help Southwest Washington

New Oregon Business Tax Measure Could Hurt, Help Southwest Washington

If Oregon’s Initiative Petition 28 (IP 28) is approved by voters this November, the corporate gross receipts tax will drain from the Oregon economy...
Tax Climate At Ports: Changes Needed?

Tax Climate At Ports: Changes Needed?

Competition for container ships and their cargo traffic is growing, and the ports of Tacoma and Seattle know they can't stand still. East Asian...
Roads: The New Utility

Roads: The New Utility

Washington's gas tax was finally raised again last year by lawmakers as part of a 16-year, $16 billion transportation funding package for roads, transit...
Tech Investors Wary Of New Taxes

Tech Investors Wary Of New Taxes

As the campaign season develops, some urban and Western Washingtonians may be hearing talk of a capital gains tax or a progressive income tax....
'Contra Krugman' Panelist Takes On 'Economic Myths Of The 2016 Election'

Economic Myths Of The 2016 Campaign Season Get A Smackdown In Seattle

One claim you’re likely to hear during this year’s presidential election cycle is that the U.S. doesn’t spend enough on helping out the poor,...
Sound Transit's Trail Of Broken Promises Casts Pall Over New $50 Billion Proposal

Sound Transit’s Trail Of Broken Promises Casts Pall Over New $50 Billion Proposal

Sound Transit is promoting its third big round of system-building as a regional transportation solution. Among other things, Sound Transit 3 (ST3) will provide...
Sound Transit 3 Blemishes Spotlighted

Sound Transit 3 Benefits Questioned

Sound Transit 3 envisions light rail as the agency's primary transportation mode in the Puget Sound region by 2050. Some policy experts and business...
Shrouded in Secrecy: The Hidden World of Public Sector Labor Talks In Washington

Shrouded In Secrecy: Public Sector Labor Talks In Washington

Since 2002 in Washington state, public unions and the governor have negotiated in secrecy over state employee benefits and salaries as part of the...
Sound Transit 3: Lots Of Bucks, But How Much Bang?

Sound Transit 3: Lots Of Bucks, But How Much Bang?

Sound Transit will by current estimates spend almost $24 billion on the first two phases of its regional light rail, commuter rail and express...
Washington's Big Fat Tax Initiative, Episode Five

Washington’s Big Fat Tax Initiative, Episode Five

Washington State Initiative 1366 to cut sales taxes or make tax hikes harder is now under review by the Supreme Court, and some business...
Seattle's Traffic Woes Require More Focus, Say Major Employers

Seattle’s Traffic Woes Require More Focus, Say Major Employers

Seattle region transit backers last weekend celebrated the extension of Sound Transit's light rail system from downtown north to the University District, and state...
(A) There's Movement On Budget Stalemate, As Special Session Opens Monday

There’s Movement On Budget Stalemate, As Special Session Opens Monday

Introduced Friday on the first day of an overtime session, Washington State Senate Republicans’ new supplemental budget proposal includes $145 million more in spending...
Overtime Session Foreshadows An Even Bigger Budget Challenge In 2017

Overtime Session Foreshadows An Even Bigger Budget Challenge In 2017

As the state Legislature heads into a special session to conclude negotiations on mid-course adjustments to the $38 billion 2015-2017 state budget, some lawmakers...
Second Real Estate Excise Tax Would Hurt Housing Affordability

Second Real Estate Excise Tax Would Hurt Housing Affordability

A cascade of reports and analyses have already established that Washington State's Growth Management Act and its implementation locally drives up housing costs in Seattle...
Economic Lubricants Would Get Blow-Dried

Economic Lubricants Would Get Blow-Dried

Where one may see a tax preference, another may construe a tax incentive. Washington retailers, distributors, service providers and financial institutions through current state tax...
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