Seattle City Council Rent-Control Runaround

The Seattle City Council continues its streak of government-intrusive policies, on Monday unanimously passing restrictions on how much landlords can charge tenants for move-in costs. You can read all about it in The Seattle Times:

InFocus Podcast: New state revenue & employment numbers, McCleary, labor policy updates

New state revenue numbers are out, with good news for the state budget. However, there's still a big budget hole to fill in order to comply with the McCleary ruling, which requires full state funding of basic K-12 education by 2018. We also discuss new employment numbers, as well as the Obama administration overtime rule that's been suspended by a court order, and the latest on the City of Seattle's moves toward more restrictive regulations on employers.

Results from the federally-funded research on paid family leave in WA

Last week Gov. Inslee’s office released some research on paid family leave.

Labor policy reprieves, in Seattle and the nation

Some updates from the past week on the status of the federal overtime rule and funding for Seattle’s Office of Labor Standards (OLS):

HCA and OFM offer prescription drug purchasing ideas for the state

Last week we released a report on prescription drug spending and Medicaid, and their impacts on the state budget. Coincidentally, the Health Care Authority (HCA) and Office of Financial Management (OFM) released a report to the Legislature the same day, called, “Review of Prescription Drug Costs and Summary of Potential Purchasing Strategies.”

Economic Profile: Washington State Convention Center Addition Project

Today we're out with an Economic Profile paper on the Washington State Convention Center addition project in downtown Seattle.

Some highlights:

Ag and timber in the news

I wanted to point out a couple of interesting stories I’ve read this week on the agriculture and timber industries.

First, Dick Davis writes in the Fall 2016 edition of Washington Business Magazine (see page 30) about new advances in agricultural technology. He discusses genetics, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, field architecture, and robots.

New Washington health exchange report shows steady enrollment so far in 2016

Yesterday the Washington Health Benefit Exchange sent out a press release headlined, “Washington Healthplanfinder Sees Jump in Enrollment.” I thought they must be announcing initial enrollment numbers for the first few weeks of the current open enrollment period (which runs from Nov. 1, 2016 through Jan. 31, 2017).

The new budget outlook includes an estimate of final McCleary costs, despite a lack of agreement on what that number will be

Yesterday the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council (ERFC) adopted a new budget outlook that includes the end of the 2015–17 biennium, 2017–19, and 2019–21. It is controversial in that it includes an estimate for how much it will cost to complete compliance with the McCleary decision on school funding.