Washington Research Council

Emily Makings

January 20 , 2021 - Emily Makings

A new bill would use the rainy day fund to provide COVID–19 relief for individuals, businesses, and schools and direct how to allocate federal relief funds

Today Rep. Stokesbary introduced HB 1334. The bill would appropriate $4.175 billion in state and federal funds for COVID-19 relief for the 2019–21 biennium. Of that, $1.735 billion would come from the budget stabilization account (BSA, or the rainy day fund) and $2.440 billion would come from federal funds. The federal funds allocated are from […]


January 20 , 2021 - Emily Makings

Bill would add teeth to the state statute requiring across-the-board cuts in case of a cash deficit

Rep. Stokesbary, the ranking minority member of the House Appropriations Committee, has introduced HB 1163. The bill would require the governor to determine whether there is a cash deficit in the state general fund or in the near general fund–outlook. Last August, following a very ugly June revenue forecast, the Office of Financial Management (OFM) […]


January 15 , 2021 - Emily Makings

Recommendations for Washington from the Senate’s Special Committee on Economic Recovery

Last May, the Senate formed the bipartisan Special Committee on Economic Recovery “to address the state’s long-term economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.” After four meetings last year, the committee released its recommendations this week. There is a lot here, and some recommendations are more specific than others. They are grouped in five categories. Some […]


January 15 , 2021 - Emily Makings

Scenarios in the Tax Structure Work Group preliminary report

As usual, many new taxes have already been proposed in the Legislature this year. Meanwhile, there is a separate effort to more broadly study Washington’s tax structure, which won’t be complete for several years. The Tax Structure Work Group’s (TSWG) preliminary report was released at the end of December (here is the technical report). (I […]


January 14 , 2021 - Emily Makings

Bill would exempt amounts businesses have received in government-funded grants and forgiven loans from the B&O tax (and other state taxes)

Through Aug. 8, 2020, 107,659 paycheck protection program (PPP) loans were made to businesses in Washington. The total amount of the loans was $12.465 billion. Nationally, $525.012 billion was loaned to 5,212,128 businesses. The program was first established in the federal CARES Act, to provide funding for businesses—mainly to keep employees on the payroll during […]


January 13 , 2021 - Emily Makings

Another year, another capital gains tax proposal

Gov. Inslee’s 2021–23 budget proposal includes a capital gains tax, which has been introduced in the Senate as SB 5096. The bill will be heard by the Ways & Means Committee tomorrow. SB 5096 would levy “an excise tax . . . on the sale or exchange of long-term capital assets.” The rate of the […]


January 11 , 2021 - Emily Makings

The prospects for early action on relief this legislative session

Today is the first day of the 2021 legislative session. At the annual Associated Press Legislative Preview last week, Gov. Inslee, House Speaker Jinkins, House Minority Leader Wilcox, Sen. Dhingra, and Sen. Short talked about the session. There seemed to be agreement on the need to act quickly to provide relief, and that the rainy […]


January 08 , 2021 - Emily Makings

Taxes and competitiveness

On Dec. 31, the preliminary report of the Tax Structure Work Group (TSWG) was published (the technical notes are here). (I wrote about some of the findings after they were presented by the Department of Revenue to the TSWG last month.) As part of the report, the Department of Revenue contracted with Western Washington University […]


January 06 , 2021 - Emily Makings

The rainy day fund and the governor’s budget

The governor’s proposed 2021 supplemental operating budget would drain the budget stabilization account (BSA, or the rainy day fund), as I noted last month. Based on the November revenue forecast, the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council estimated that the BSA’s ending balance in 2019–21 would be $1.943 billion—the highest it has ever been. That figure […]


January 04 , 2021 - Emily Makings

A “shared benefit” rulemaking and odds and ends from Gov. Inslee’s 2021–23 budget proposal

Gov. Inslee’s 2021–23 operating budget would appropriate $148.2 million for a “shared benefit adjustment.” For the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), this would “cover the estimated claims for the variance between services provided under the shared benefit equation and the full amount of the benefit while rulemaking takes place.” This is related to […]