On today's InFocus podcast we're covering the latest news, including our new Policy Brief on business taxation in Washington state. Washington businesses pay 58 percent of state and local taxes, and have some of the highest tax burdens in the country. We also talk about the latest state budget outlook, and problems many school districts are facing with Washington's land-use law, the Growth Management Act.
We're out with a new policy brief on business taxation, "Washington State Businesses Pay 58 Percent of State and Local Taxes." It gives an overview of how and how much Washington businesses are taxed, and compares us to the rest of the country.
Here are some highlights:
Yesterday President Donald Trump officially abandoned the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, just as he'd promised during the campaign. The TPP, as it is known, was a pending deal between the U.S. and 11 other nations. You can read more, and listen to our podcast about it, here.
In today's podcast we do a deep dive into Gov. Jay Inslee's 2017-19 state budget proposal, the subject of our latest Special Report which you can read here.
The governor's budget plan includes $4.762 billion in new spending and $4.369 billion in new and increased taxes, including a new carbon tax and a new capital gains tax.
The Tax Foundation is out with a new ranking: "Which States Rely the Most on Federal Aid?" Washington state is #33, with 29.2 percent of its Fiscal Year 2014 state general revenue coming from the federal government.
The Foundation notes:
The state Legislature begins its 2017 session today. This being an odd-numbered year, session is scheduled to last 105 days, with an April 23 adjournment date. Almost nobody believes lawmakers will finish their business by then, however, in which case the governor can call a special session (or a series of special sessions as the case may be).
Big issues on tap for this year include:
New Economic Profile: The Economic Contribution of Washington state's Petroleum Refining Industry in 2015
Today we're publishing a new Economic Profile of Washington's petroleum refining industry, "The Economic Contribution of Washington state's Petroleum Refining Industry in 2015."
In Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, every year on Feb. 2 residents await the sign of a groundhog - Punxsutawney Phil - to forecast the onset of spring. In the Washington state Legislature, lawmakers and other observers were awaiting a sign yesterday of how much members of the Joint Education Task Force could agree on solutions for full state funding of K-12 education (as required by the state Supreme Court's McCleary ruling) in 2017.
Our last podcast of the year is in a pub, with special guest David Postman, Gov. Jay Inslee's chief of staff. We sit down over beers (and a Coke for Postman, who's on cold meds) at the delightful Hopvine Pub in Seattle to chat about Postman's career in journalism and now government, as well as what's in store for the upcoming legislative session.
Today's topic is the expanded state environmental regulations that, due to their arbitrary and excessive nature, threaten to send good-paying jobs - many of them union jobs - out of Washington state.