business climate

90 Seconds podcast: Washington ranks high for business tax burden

In this 90 Seconds episode we briefly cover our recent report on Washington businesses' tax contributions to state and local governments, and our state's high rankings for the tax burdens it places on business.

InFocus Podcast: Washington businesses pay 58% of state & local taxes, plus more

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.

New Policy Brief: Washington State Businesses Pay 58 Percent of State and Local Taxes

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:

Special Report: Expanded state environmental regulations have negative impacts for Washington

Today we're publishing a new Special Report, "The Expanded SEPA [State Environmental Policy Act] Has Reduced Regulatory Certainty in Washington." You can read the report here.

In 2013 and 2014, the state Department of Ecology expanded the scope of review for the purposes of the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) beyond state borders, in a seemingly arbitrary manner.

Aerospace tax incentives could help lure startup to Seattle

The Puget Sound Business Journal reported earlier this week on some new business that may be coming Washington state's way:

Spike Aerospace, a Boston startup developing an ambitious new supersonic business jet, is talking with Washington state officials and aerospace suppliers about possibly locating its new manufacturing plant in Seattle.

Policy Today, Common Ground edition: Rep. Norma Smith on reforming state regulations

Today we're joined by 10th District state Rep. Norma Smith, R-Clinton, who along with the State Auditor's Office has spearheaded a number of successful bills to make state agencies more efficient and customer-friendly in the way they regulate and issue permits to business owners and startups.

Rep. Norma Smith, R-10Rep. Smith hopes to reach a point where Washington can have a one-stop portal for people to get information on all the permits they need to open, expand, or continue their business. First, however, there have been and continue to be preliminary steps needed to make state government more customer-friendly. One of her bills, for example, dealt with online availability of license and permit applications. Notes Rep. Smith:

"Even though we had an entire agency dedicated to helping [business owners] know what licenses were out there, we found out only 16 percent of Washington state's licenses were on the BLS [Business Licensing Service] website, and only two of the most 10 requested. So we had to run a bill that told the agencies to do that."

Washington ranks No. 8 in latest Forbes "best states for business" rankings

In Forbes magazine's 2014 Best States for Business, Washington finishes in 8th place. Not bad in the 50 state field. Win, place and show go to Utah, North Dakota and North Carolina, respectively.

Supporting biotech and more with growth-oriented tax policy

H. Stewart Parker, a pioneer in Washington's life sciences industry, writes in today's Seattle Times that our state risks falling behind in the competition for biotech investment.

Washington stays at No. 11 on Tax Foundations 2015 State Business Tax Climate Index

The Tax Foundation today releases its 2015 State Business Tax Climate Index, again finding Washington among the best, just out of the top ten at No. 11.


Thumbtack gives Washington a C grade for "small business friendliness" - low marks for regulation

Another business climate ranking came out recently. This one comes from, with support from the Kauffman Foundation.  Washington doesn't do so well. Unsurprisingly, the regulatory environment pulled the overall score down considerably.

Some of the key findings for Washington include: