Today we're discussing the differences between the state House and state Senate budget plans in the Washington Legislature. We've got a handy new Policy Brief with a bar graph and chart comparing the two. With a scheduled April 23 adjournment date looming, and the House proposing $1.5 Billion more in tax revenues than the Senate, it seems unlikely lawmakers will complete their business in the regular session; a "special" session appears likely.
When then-President Obama signed the bipartisan "Every Student Succeeds Act" into law in late 2015, it marked a significant change in federal education policy. The previous law, President George W. Bush's "No Child Left Behind," had grown increasingly controversial for what critics on both the left and right called excessive federal overreach into local education policy.
In today's episode we discuss Washington state's less-than-stellar system for tax appeals, and how it could be improved. We recently wrote a report on making the state tax-appeals process more fair -- which could include the creation of a state tax court. Bipartisan legislation to do just that has been introduced in the state Legislature this year.
We're delighted to welcome state Rep. Drew Stokesbary (R-Auburn) to the podcast. As soon as we saw all the "Arrested Development" gifs populating his Twitter feed we knew he'd be the perfect guest. We sat down at the state Capitol in Olympia to chat about him being a younger member of the Legislature, how he got into politics and government, and his approach to working across the aisle. Other random topics of discussion: Kim Jon Un and Dick Cheney. Plus, Drew fits in a reference to "The Office" and we totally miss it.
In this episode we discuss our recent Special Report, "Using Tax Policy to Promote Economic Vitality." Too often, adjustments to our state tax system are portrayed simply as "breaks" that give certain industries and/or companies special treatment. But as our report shows, these adjustments play a crucial role in keeping Washington competitive with other states for jobs and economic activity that could very easily go elsewhere.
We're pleased to welcome state Rep. Brian Blake (D-Aberdeen), who took time out of his busy schedule during the legislative session in Olympia to join our podcast. Rep. Blake represents the 19th Legislative District on Washington's southwest coast, a district whose counties have traditionally voted Democratic in presidential elections but last year largely went for Donald Trump.
In this episode we offer a brief overview of the four-year balanced budget requirement passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor in 2012.
To read our Policy Brief on the requirement (from May 2012), click here.
To read our blog post (from April 2016) defending the four-year balanced budget requirement, click here.
The biggest job for the Washington state Legislature this year is public school funding for grades K through 12. Right now there are four major plans before lawmakers, all responding to the state Supreme Court's McCleary ruling, which found that the state is not fully funding basic education. We discuss all four plans in this episode.
Read our Policy Brief offering a side-by-side comparison of the four plans here.
Healthcare spending in general, and prescription drug prices specifically, continue to be a major issue in both state and federal budgeting. Today's guest is Saumil Pandya, Senior Director of Policy & Research at PhRMA, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.
In this episode we briefly discuss basic education, which is at the heart of the state Supreme Court's McCleary ruling. In that ruling the court said the state is not fulfilling its constitutional "paramount duty" to fully provide for basic education in public schools.