Blog

January 21 , 2021 - Kriss Sjoblom

In Washington 19,212 filed initial claims for regular unemployment insurance last week

This morning the state Employment Security Department (ESD) gave its weekly report on unemployment insurance claims. ESD reported a total of 31,776 initial claims for unemployment insurance during the week ending January 16. Of this total, 19,212 initial claims were filed under the regular state unemployment insurance program; 4,482 claims were under the federal pandemic […]


January 20 , 2021 - Kriss Sjoblom

State tax collections again exceed forecast

Today’s monthly report from the state’s Economic and Revenue Forecast Council (ERFC) on general fund revenue collections once again brought good news. For the sales tax, the use tax, the business and occupation tax, the public utility tax, the tobacco products tax, and penalties and interest (collectively the Revenue Act receipts), this report covers payments […]


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 14 , 2021 - Kriss Sjoblom

In Washington 27,147 filed initial claims for regular unemployment insurance last week

This morning the state Employment Security Department (ESD) gave its weekly report on unemployment insurance claims. ESD reported a total of 41,947 initial claims for unemployment insurance during the week ending January 9. Of this total, 27,147 initial claims were filed under the regular state unemployment insurance program; 5,220 claims were under the federal pandemic […]


January 14 , 2021 - WRC

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 […]


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 […]