New regulatory reform for small business

This week Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law House Bill 1120, a regulatory reform bill sponsored by state Rep. Norma Smith (R-Clinton). According to a news release from Rep. Smith, the legislation was

School-siting bill clears state House, heads to governor's desk

Legislation long sought by overcrowded school districts to grant flexibility for building new schools cleared its final legislative hurdle this week. The state House Tuesday approved changes made by the Senate last week to House Bill (or as it's now known as, Engrossed Substitute House Bill) 1017, which allows school districts - in some circumstances - to build schools outside of the state Growth Management Act's (GMA) mandated "urban growth areas."

Policy Today podcast: Comparing the House & Senate budget plans

Today we're discussing the differences between the state House and state Senate budget plans in the Washington Legislature. We've got a handy new Policy Brief with a bar graph and chart comparing the two. With a scheduled April 23 adjournment date looming, and the House proposing $1.5 Billion more in tax revenues than the Senate, it seems unlikely lawmakers will complete their business in the regular session; a "special" session appears likely.

Pew Research: More than two-thirds of federal spending goes to social insurance

The Pew Research Center last week broke down how federal dollars are spent. The vast majority of spending is on social-insurance programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid:

WRC Annual Dinner: May 23 in Bellevue

You're invited to join us at our Annual Dinner on Tuesday, May 23, at the Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue. Our guest speaker is Ian Toner, Chief Investment Officer of Verus Investments, whose topic will be "Working Without A Map? How Phase-Shift Changes in Politics, Markets, and Economies Might Impact Our Future."

Here are the details:

Washington Research Council Annual Dinner

Tuesday, May 23

Meydenbauer Convention Center - 11100 NE 6th St - Bellevue, WA

Policy Today podcast: What the new federal education law means for states, with AEI's Rick Hess

When then-President Obama signed the bipartisan "Every Student Succeeds Act" into law in late 2015, it marked a significant change in federal education policy. The previous law, President George W. Bush's "No Child Left Behind," had grown increasingly controversial for what critics on both the left and right called excessive federal overreach into local education policy.

New Special Report: Proposals For A State Capital Gains Tax

We're out today with a Special Report looking at proposals in the Legislature for a state capital gains tax. You can read it here.

Here are some highlights:

Relief may be in sight for school districts with school-siting bill

This year's contender for the Little Legislation That Could, House Bill 1017, appears to finally be on its way to passage in the state Legislature.

Policy Today podcast: A more fair tax-appeals process for Washington state

In today's episode we discuss Washington state's less-than-stellar system for tax appeals, and how it could be improved. We recently wrote a report on making the state tax-appeals process more fair -- which could include the creation of a state tax court. Bipartisan legislation to do just that has been introduced in the state Legislature this year.

Common Ground podcast: Rep. Drew Stokesbary

We're delighted to welcome state Rep. Drew Stokesbary (R-Auburn) to the podcast. As soon as we saw all the "Arrested Development" gifs populating his Twitter feed we knew he'd be the perfect guest. We sat down at the state Capitol in Olympia to chat about him being a younger member of the Legislature, how he got into politics and government, and his approach to working across the aisle. Other random topics of discussion: Kim Jon Un and Dick Cheney. Plus, Drew fits in a reference to "The Office" and we totally miss it.

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