Policy Today

Policy Today podcast: Comparing the House & Senate budget plans

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.

Policy Today podcast: What the new federal education law means for states, with AEI's Rick Hess

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.

Policy Today podcast: A more fair tax-appeals process for Washington state

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.

Policy Today podcast: How Tax Policy Affects the Economy

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.

Policy Today podcast: Four plans in the Legislature for education funding

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.

Policy Today podcast: New report on Gov. Inslee's proposed state budget

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.

Policy Today podcast: Expanded state environmental regulations threaten union jobs

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.

Policy Today podcast: Gov. Inslee's Budget Proposal

This week Gov. Jay Inslee proposed a state operating budget for 2017-19. It would increase spending by $8.2 billion over the previous biennium - including $3.9 billion more for K-12 education - and raise taxes by $4.4 billion. His tax proposal includes a new capital gains tax. We delve into the details in this podcast.

You can read our quick analysis of his budget proposal here.

Common Ground podcast: Election Day Special

It's finally here, people: Election Day 2016. We've got Seattle Times political reporter Jim Brunner (follow him on Twitter @Jim_Brunner) joining us at the top of the podcast to talk Washington state campaigns, as well as his recent interview with independent Republican presidential candidate Evan McMullin. Next, we ruminate on the campaign season that was, guess who's going to win (we both pick Hillary), and speculate on how the new president - and Democrats and Republicans in Congress - will react.

Policy Today podcast: Trade & Washington's Tree Fruit Industry (including apples)

Washington's apple industry alone accounts for 40,000 jobs in this state. Add to apples our state's other tree fruit crops - cherries, pears, peaches and the like - and you've got a major economic driver. In this episode we talk with the president of the Washington State Tree Fruit Association, Jon DeVaney, about the importance of international trade agreements to keeping the sector healthy and competitive. As Jon points out, trade agreements lead to predictable, consistent trade rules for Washington apples, one-third of which are exported overseas.