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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Here are some highlights:
Today's podcast topic is our new comprehensive report on K-12 education funding in Washington and the state Supreme Court's McCleary ruling, which mandates full state funding of basic education by 2018. We discuss the report, what the Legislature's done so far (a lot) and what it still has left to do (a lot).