Washington Research Council

Emily Makings

November 30 , 2022 - Emily Makings

PFML task force votes on final rate structure recommendations

Today the Legislative Task Force on Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Premiums voted to recommend changes to the paid family and medical leave (PFML) program rate structure. At the end of last week’s meeting of the task force, it didn’t sound like members would be prepared to vote today. But they apparently had productive […]


November 30 , 2022 - Emily Makings

Capital gains taxes in the November revenue forecast

In March, a Superior Court judge ruled that the state capital gains tax is unconstitutional. (Despite that, the Legislature chose to include capital gains revenues in the operating budget, as we explained here.) The state Supreme Court will hear the case on Jan. 26, but a decision could come after capital gains taxes are due […]


November 30 , 2022 - Emily Makings

November revenue forecast improves the balance sheet, but how will inflation impact state costs?

The November revenue forecast increased the estimates of revenues from funds subject to the outlook (NGFO) compared to the September revenue forecast, as Kriss reported. Compared to the Feb. 2022 forecast, on which the current operating budget is based, NGFO revenues are now expected to be up $3.078 billion over 2021–23 and 2023–25. The 2023–25 […]


November 29 , 2022 - Emily Makings

Task force on paid family and medical leave premiums considers proposals to change the rate structure

The Legislative Task Force on Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Premiums met last Tuesday to discuss five proposed recommendations for changes to the paid family and medical leave (PFML) premium rate structure. Premium rates would be above 0.6% in all scenarios through at least 2027. Changes are necessary because the program has run deficits […]


November 21 , 2022 - Emily Makings

The 2021 increase in private long-term care insurance coverage in Washington led the nation

New data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) show—unsurprisingly—that long-term care (LTC) insurance coverage jumped in Washington in 2021. The 2019 legislation establishing the state’s LTC program exempted people with private LTC insurance policies from the state program. This provision was amended in 2021 to specify that individuals had to purchase private LTC […]


November 17 , 2022 - Emily Makings

Adjusting the NGFO balance sheet for the most recent information on revenues and spending indicates an estimated $150 million shortfall in 2023–25

David Schumacher, director of the Office of Financial Management, has tried to get state agencies to manage their expectations for the 2023–25 operating budget. And rightly so: we estimate that the balance sheet for the biennium is already in a negative position. When the Legislature adopted the 2022 supplemental to the 2021–23 biennial budget, it […]


November 15 , 2022 - Emily Makings

Businesses in Seattle pay 64% of city taxes

A new analysis from ECONorthwest (prepared for the Downtown Seattle Association) looks at taxes in Seattle. According to the report, “Since 2013, City of Seattle taxes collected have grown by 94 percent, while employment grew by 19 percent and population grew by 22 percent.” The city’s main sources of tax revenue have historically been property, […]


November 14 , 2022 - Emily Makings

November caseload forecast is estimated to increase spending by about $103 million in 2021–23 and $602 million in 2023–25

The Caseload Forecast Council (CFC) adopted a new caseload forecast last week. This forecast will help inform the maintenance level (the cost of continuing current services, adjusted for inflation and enrollment) for the governor’s budget proposal. According to a preliminary cost estimate from the Office of Financial Management, the forecast is estimated to increase general […]


November 10 , 2022 - Emily Makings

School districts in Washington have spent 52% of their federal relief money; of the amount spent, 44.5% is categorized as “indirect” or “other”

Last week the Seattle Times editorial board wrote about recent student test scores and asked why so much of the federal relief money for schools is still unspent. Further, it wrote, “It’s puzzling to examine school district spending choices so far.” There were three rounds of federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER). Washington […]


November 09 , 2022 - Emily Makings

Washington’s workers’ compensation benefit costs (the nation’s highest) are increasingly driven by supplemental pension fund COLAs

According to the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI), Washington once again had the nation’s highest workers’ compensation benefit costs per covered worker in 2020. They were $824.53 in 2020 (up from $777.91 in 2019); the second-highest benefit costs per covered worker were $804.30 in Wyoming. (There is a two-year data lag.) As a percent […]