State Treasurer warns against use of emergency funds in budget proposal

State Treasurer warns against use of emergency funds in budget proposal

Governor Jay Inslee’s proposed 2018 supplemental budget released Thursday brought forth mixed tidings of discomfort and joy. His operating budget would add $1 billion...
Seattle makes “long shot” appeal on income tax

Seattle makes “long shot” appeal on income tax

The city of Seattle is moving forward with its “long shot” appeal to the King County Superior Court ruling on its income tax ordinance....
Washington high court adds doubt to Seattle income tax appeal

Washington high court adds doubt to Seattle income tax appeal

A Washington State Supreme Court ruling issued Thursday may have just added yet another hurdle for any possible appeal by the city of Seattle...
Seattle, think tank income tax arguments are “frivolous,” says plaintiff

Seattle, think tank income tax arguments are “frivolous,” says plaintiff

The plaintiffs challenging the city of Seattle’s income tax have succeeded so far, with a November 22 ruling in King County Superior Court overturning...
Study findings may discourage legislators’ budget tinkering

Study findings may discourage legislators’ budget tinkering

Washington benefits from one of the more stable revenue streams in the nation, and the best among the West Coast states. That’s according to...
More GMA fine-tuning needed for rural counties, say lawmakers

More GMA fine-tuning needed for rural counties, say lawmakers

As Washington continues to grow, rural counties throughout the state are struggling to attract new businesses and jobs for their residents. Some state and...
King County court smacks down Seattle income tax

King County court smacks down Seattle income tax

If the city of Seattle’s message to residents was “you can leave if you don't like our income tax,” King County Superior Court perhaps...
Washington high court still unsatisfied with education spending

Washington high court still unsatisfied with education spending

When asked how much money is enough, industrialist John Rockefeller replied: "Just a little bit more." That seemed to be the Washington State Supreme...
Washingtonians overwhelmingly oppose new state taxes in advisory votes

Washingtonians overwhelmingly oppose new state taxes in advisory votes

Washington voters soundly rejected in non-binding advisory votes three tax measures approved by the state legislature this session. But it remains to be seen...
The bottom-up strategy to reform collective bargaining

The bottom-up strategy to reform collective bargaining

Progressive income tax advocates have hoped to use local governments to push for statewide implementation of that tax. While that stratagem may soon get...
State Auditor’s budget request "bombshell"

State Auditor’s budget request “bombshell”

The State Auditor’s Office (SAO) hasn’t performed an accountability audit on 55 state agencies for more than four years, and four new state agencies...

Hirst impact study reveals troubling tax implications

A recent economic impact study found that the 2016 Washington Supreme Court decision in Whatcom County v. Eric Hirst will likely increase real estate taxes...

How Seattle might defend its progressive income tax

The city of Seattle has invested nearly $400,000 into crafting and legally defending its progressive income tax ordinance against numerous lawsuits. That amount includes...

City of Seattle withholds $50,000 consultant report on progressive income tax ordinance

Update: Shortly after this article was published, the city of Seattle released one of the documents requested by Jason Mercier, who has written a...

Lawmakers take second look at possible collective bargain reforms

Some state lawmakers are looking at ways to avoid a repeat of this year’s extended special session – the longest in Washington history. One contributor...

Workers comp cases need increased state oversight, employers say

After four years of battling a reportedly fraudulent workers’ compensation claim, one Washington construction business has decided to drop the case to avoid further...

Washington foresters: Hirst solution worth delay of wildfire-related projects

The failed passage of a capital budget during the legislative session could postpone many forest health restoration projects planned by the Washington Department of...

Legislature continues work to address Hirst, capital budget

Even though the legislature adjourned last week without a solution to the 2016 Supreme Court Hirst decision or passage of a capital budget, lawmakers...

Washington Becomes 5th State to Mandate Paid Family and Medical Leave

10 years after the Washington legislature first approved a framework without a clear plan for implementation, Governor Jay Inslee has signed a bill into...

New Buildable Lands Law Projected to Improve Data, Fill Gaps In State Housing Inventory

Washington homebuilders and realtors are praising a new law that would clarify what land is considered buildable under Growth Management Act (GMA) comprehensive plan...
The Debate Over Greater Transparency In Budget Talks

The Debate Over Greater Transparency In Budget Talks

Although the state legislature avoided a government shutdown with the passage of the 2017-19 operating budget June 30, concerns have been raised about transparency...

Construction Business Owner Shares His Struggle With Unresolved Workers’ Compensation Claim

A long-standing workers’ compensation claim can be enough to put a company out of business, take away the owner’s ability to stay profitable, or...

Revised School Siting Bill Passes, Inslee’s Support Expected

After several failed attempts and a partial veto from Governor Jay Inslee, the Washington state legislature passed on Friday, June 30 a bill that...

Lawmakers Pass Compromise Budget

After three special sessions, the Washington state legislature Friday approved a 2017-19 operating budget signed by Governor Jay Inslee just one hour before midnight...

How A Business-Friendly Climate in Kenmore Gave Rise To “Brew Row”

Washington’s craft brew industry has grown by leaps and bounds since 2006 when the state beer commission was first created by the state legislature....

Seattle’s Fight For $15 Killed 5,000 Jobs

A recent study of Seattle’s $15 minimum wage ordinance suggesting the second phase of the pay hike cost the city 5,000 jobs may give...
Reforming Public Sector Labor Talks

Reforming Public Sector Labor Talks

While the state Senate this session narrowly approved two bills to end secrecy surrounding the negotiation process for collective bargaining agreements (CBA) between the...
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...
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...
Senate Budget Rejects Inslee's Public Labor Agreements

Senate Budget Rejects Inslee’s Public Labor Agreements

Senate Republicans this week unveiled their proposed 2017-19 operating budget, which incorporates their basic education funding plan and mostly rejects Governor Jay Inslee’s $1.7...
State May Help Sonics, But Not With Cash

State May Help Sonics, But Not With Cash

State lawmakers January 26 kicked off the first of three planned work sessions to help decide if legislation would help bring the Seattle Sonics...
Cutting Red Tape On Job Licensing

Cutting Red Tape On Job Licensing

Nearly one-third of Washington jobs require government-issued occupational licenses or certificates, more than in all but two other states. Licensing delays and red tape...

Ericksen: Senate Duties Remain Key, But Would Consider Regional EPA Slot

In an interview with Lens Sunday evening, January 29, State Sen. Doug Ericksen (R-42) sought to tamp down any concerns that his high-profile temporary...
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...

Mixed Views On Transit Elections Bill

Transportation stakeholders including policy experts, a former state auditor, state lawmakers and local and regional officials, at a January 25 Washington State Senate Transportation...
Tourism Funding Gains Traction In Hous

Tourism Funding Gains Traction In House

The push to restore funding for statewide tourism in Washington accelerated Wednesday, January 25 at a public hearing of the House Community Development, Housing and Tribal Affairs Committee....
Paid Family Leave Debate Intensifies

Paid Family Leave Concerns Intensify

Washington state industry associations want lawmakers to pump the brakes on paid family and medical leave until they consult with affected employers. They say...
Engineering Economic Justice: It's Trickier Than You Might Think, As Lawmakers Learn

Engineering Economic Justice: It’s Trickier Than You Might Think, As Lawmakers Learn

Dueling gender pay equity bills from Washington State House Republicans and Democrats are prompting a closer look at the best ways to calculate if,...
Washington State Senate Majority In Flux As Trump Administration Plucks Talent

Washington State Senate Majority In Flux As Trump Administration Plucks Talent

The Trump-induced brain drain is making things tricky for the Republican-led majority controlling the Washington State Senate, in a year when fiscal conservative principles...
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...
Public-Private Pact Eyed For State Tourism

Public-Private Pact Eyed For State Tourism

A bipartisan group of lawmakers and tourism industry advocates have come together around HB 1123. The bipartisan bill would provide up to $5 million per biennium...

Regulatory Fairness Bill Could Have Legs

Prospects could be better than average for a bipartisan House bill meant to ensure state agencies fully comply with the Regulatory Fairness Act (RFA). That law aims to protect employers from excessive...
Debate Grows On Craft Distillery Sales

Debate Grows On Craft Distillery Sales

Owners of smaller privately-owned liquor stores Wednesday, January 18 at a public hearing told the Washington State Senate Commerce, Labor and Sports Committee they're...
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...
Paid Family Leave Battle Looms

Paid Family Leave Battle Looms

Employees in Washington state could claim up to 38 weeks of paid family and sick leave under companion bills introduced in the House and Senate...
State House Leaders Seek Middle Ground

State House Leaders Seek Middle Ground

Governor Jay Inslee wasn't the only one sounding off on the state of the state last week. The first day of the legislative session,...
Fixing School Siting: Round Two

Fixing School Siting: Round Two

Washington state lawmakers are again trying to help overcrowded school districts serve students with new facilities, which in some cases would have to be built...
Lawmakers Look To Loosen Sales Restrictions For Craft Distilleries, Wineries

Lawmakers Look To Loosen Sales Restrictions For Craft Distilleries, Wineries

A bipartisan group of Washington state lawmakers is aiming to lessen barriers to sales growth for Washington's wine and spirits industry. Two new bills,...
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...
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