Washington Research Council

Emily Makings

May 25 , 2023 - Emily Makings

Capital gains tax collections have come in higher than anticipated

The state’s March 2023 revenue forecast assumes that capital gains tax revenues will total $248.0 million in fiscal year 2023 (which ends on June 30). All of that would go to the education legacy trust account (ELTA). By statute, the first $500 million (adjusted for inflation annually) in collections goes to the ELTA (which is […]

May 24 , 2023 - Emily Makings

State continues to treat working families tax credit as a spending program instead of a revenue reduction (plus, remittances to date)

This is the first year in which low-income Washingtonians can claim the working families tax credit (WFTC). According to the Department of Revenue (DOR), through May 15, the state has returned $83 million to 175,886 taxpayers. The 2023 supplemental operating budget appropriates $221.0 million for WFTC remittances in FY 2023. (And the fiscal note for […]

May 22 , 2023 - Emily Makings

Operating budget vetoes add about $15 million in NGFO spending

Last week, Gov. Inslee signed the 2023 supplemental and 2023–25 operating budgets. He vetoed several provisions. Altogether, it appears that his vetoes increase appropriations from funds subject to the outlook (NGFO) by a net of $14.9 million. In the 2023–25 budget, the governor vetoed $1.6 million in NGFO appropriations and $5.1 million in assumed NGFO […]

May 18 , 2023 - Emily Makings

The state has appropriated over $400 million related to the Blake decision

On Tuesday, the Legislature held a special session to pass 2E2SSB 5536, a drug policy bill that is in response to the 2021 state Supreme Court decision in State v. Blake. (The Court held that the state’s drug possession law was unconstitutional because the state did not have to prove intent in order to convict.) […]

May 17 , 2023 - Emily Makings

Appropriations for public schools make up 10.1% of the capital budget

The 2023–25 capital budget (as passed by the Legislature) includes $871.5 million for public schools. Capital appropriations for schools account for 10.1% of total appropriations in the budget. The budget includes: Note that the $871.5 million includes $4.0 million for preconstruction grants and administrative implementation of SHB 1044, which would create a new school construction […]

May 16 , 2023 - Emily Makings

Housing funding in the operating and capital budgets

Last week Gov. Inslee signed several housing policy bills. The Seattle Times reports, “Washington will now allow multifamily housing in many more neighborhoods, encourage people to develop accessory dwelling units, and streamline development regulations, among other policies. The overarching effort to smooth regulatory barriers, like zoning and permits, to building housing garnered bipartisan support.” The […]

May 10 , 2023 - Emily Makings

State will save $2.473 billion over five years by reducing contributions to unfunded pension liabilities (even as the pension plans are still fully funded)

A major source of state savings throughout the budget outlook window is a policy change related to unfunded pension liabilities. The state has been making extra contributions towards unfunded actuarial accrued liabilities (UAAL) in the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) plan 1 and the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) plan 1. There is a minimum contribution […]

May 10 , 2023 - Emily Makings

Document recording fees: A backfill, a simplification, and an addition

The state imposes four document recording surcharges to help fund housing programs. As I wrote last year, the revenues from these surcharges have been falling short of estimates. The 2023–25 operating budget (as passed by the Legislature) includes funding to backfill these programs. According to the conference report summary document, $66.0 million from the general […]

May 08 , 2023 - Emily Makings

Budget appropriates $200 million for a reserve for the paid family and medical leave program

Last month Gov. Inslee signed SSB 5286, which makes changes to the paid family and medical leave (PFML) program rate structure. Beginning with calendar year 2024, the PFML rate will be set to maintain a three-month reserve for the program. (See here for more about the bill.) The family and medical leave insurance (FMLI) account […]

May 05 , 2023 - Emily Makings

Budget provisos related to taxes, transparency, benefits, and the economy

The 2023–25 operating budget includes many provisos on fiscally-related topics. Notably, though, it does not reauthorize the Tax Structure Work Group (TSWG). Accordingly, the last meeting of the TSWG will be May 8. However, the budget does appropriate $300,000 for a study of wealth taxes (which were considered and rejected by the TSWG). A status […]