The return of I-1351

As I wrote earlier, I-1351 is scheduled to become effective in 2019–21—within the four-year budget window. Plus, Gov. Inslee has proposed beginning to implement the initiative early, in 2017–19.

A new budget outlook, and possible budget process changes

Yesterday the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council adopted a four-year budget outlook based on Gov. Inslee’s proposed 2017–19 operating budget. According to the outlook, his proposal would leave a near general fund–state plus opportunity pathways (NGFS+) unrestricted ending balance in 2019–21 of negative $2.041 billion (and total reserves would be negative $596 million).

Not preventing invasive species would be costly

Last week the Washington Invasive Species Council released an economic impact study of invasive species in Washington. The study provides “a snapshot of total economic impact within a single year if no prevention or management activities occurred.”

The three worst offenders are apple maggots, rush skeletonweed, and scotch broom.

Roundup of Seattle business climate issues

Several policies impacting Seattle’s business climate have been in the news recently.

Side-by-side comparison of paid family leave bills

Two paid family leave bills have been introduced so far this session: SB 5032 (and the identical HB 1116) and SB 5149. Lens has a good story on the issue.

New report: Gov. Inslee's 2017-19 Operating Budget Proposal Would Significantly Increase Spending and Taxes

In a new report, we provide an overview of Gov. Inslee's proposed operating budget for the next biennium. Briefly:

Challenges mount for fossil fuel projects

For several years, oil terminal projects have been in the works at the Port of Grays Harbor in Hoquiam—Westway and Imperium. The Imperium project was canceled by the company in 2016, and Westway is now called Contanda.

Local government budgeting issues

At the Municipal Research and Services Center’s blog, Stan Finkelstein offers some useful budgeting advice for local governments. He notes,

Many local officials have incorporated into their 2017 budgets the filling of new positions, expansion or growth of services, and the incurring of new debt to be serviced by General Fund/Current Expense revenues.

Roundup of year-end agency news

A number of agency announcements have made my inbox over the last month:

Auditor: Room for improvement in agencies’ implementation of the Regulatory Fairness Act

The State Auditor’s Office has identified several ways to make Washington’s Regulatory Fairness Act work better. This new performance audit is part of a regulatory reform series the SAO began in 2011.

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