New brief: How Should the State Spend Its Substantial Surplus?
When the 2021–23 operating budget was enacted, it left an unrestricted ending balance for funds subject to the outlook (NGFO) of $83 million in 2023–25. With ever improving revenue forecasts and new, lower spending assumptions, we estimate that the unrestricted NGFO ending balance is now $8.649 billion. Additionally, the budget stabilization account (BSA, or the […]
New brief: Should Washington Be in the Long-Term Care Insurance Business?
Key dates for Washington’s long-term care insurance program—and its accompanying payroll tax—are fast approaching. Beginning Jan. 1, 2022, a payroll tax of 0.58% will be levied on every employee’s wages. The tax is expected to generate revenues of more than $1 billion a year. Long-term services and supports trust (LTSST) benefits will then be available […]
New economic profile: The Economic Contribution of Washington State’s Petroleum Refining Industry in 2019
We have updated our report on the impact of Washington’s five major petroleum refiners on the state’s economy. In 2019, the refiners directly provided 2,050 full-time jobs, paying an annual average wage of $148,683. In addition, the refiners employed, at high wages, 3,643 contract workers on an average day, doing maintenance, capital repair and capital […]
New brief: With No Budget Shortfall to Address, Legislature Spent Heavily and Potentially Created Budget Challenges for the Future
Although the state did not have a budget shortfall to address this year, the Legislature raised taxes (including a new capital gains tax) and drained the rainy day fund. It also significantly increased spending. The enacted 2021–23 operating budget (including vetoes) appropriates $59.067 billion from funds subject to the outlook, an increase of 12.4% over […]
New brief: Senate- and House-Passed Operating Budgets Would Needlessly Drain the Rainy Day Fund
The Senate and House have passed broadly similar operating budgets. Both would impose a capital gains tax. Both would increase spending from funds subject to the outlook (NGFO) by double digits in 2021–23. Both would appropriate billions of dollars in federal relief funds. Both would drain the rainy day fund. Across the 2021 supplemental and […]
New brief: State Revenues Are Back to Pre-Pandemic Levels
State revenues are now expected to match the pre-pandemic Feb. 2020 revenue forecast. Revenues in 2019–21 are now forecast to be $52.334 billion (an increase of 13.6% over 2017–19). In 2021–23, revenues are expected to grow by 8.2%, to $56.615 billion. In 2023–25, revenues are expected to grow by 5.8%, to $59.906 billion. Given the […]
New brief: Washington Does Not Have a Budget Shortfall
The state budget situation looked dire last summer. Since then, both the revenue and spending sides of the balance sheet have improved. Revenues in 2019–21 are expected to be 10.7% higher than in 2017–19 (following several biennia of extraordinary revenue growth). Enacted 2019–21 appropriations from funds subject to the outlook are 20.2% higher than 2017–19. […]
Captive insurers are insurance companies that are controlled by the company, group, public entity, or individual they insure. They can provide a less costly way to manage risk. Current law in Washington does not recognize captive insurers as a distinct form of self-insurance that is different from commercial insurance. The Office of the Insurance Commissioner […]
New brief: Unemployment Insurance Taxes Will Be a Headwind for the State Economy
Unemployment insurance tax rates are adjusted annually and will be much higher this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The amount of unemployment insurance tax paid by Washington businesses is expected to increase dramatically, from $1.12 billion in 2020 to $2.11 billion in 2021 and then to $2.99 billion in 2022. This rising UI tax […]
New brief: Washington’s Business Taxes Exceed National Average
In fiscal year 2019, Washington state’s tax code relied heavily on businesses, which paid almost half of state and local taxes. Washington businesses paid nearly a quarter more in state and local taxes per employee than the average of their counterparts in other states. On all measures, Washington ranked at or above the national average, […]
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