January 14 , 2022 - Emily Makings

SB 5873 would lessen some of the impact of two payroll tax increases

In a policy brief last year, we wrote about how UI taxes work and how they were increasing due to the pandemic. The UI tax rate is made up of three taxes, including a social tax. The social tax is based on the amount by which systemwide benefits exceed systemwide revenue. Generally, the amount of […]

January 13 , 2022 - Emily Makings

“Public investment impact disclosures” would not be a good addition to ballot titles

Two similar bills have been introduced that would require “public investment impact disclosures” in ballot titles for initiatives and referenda that make tax changes. The bills give the impression of transparency but would not provide meaningful context for voters. Under current law, the Office of Financial Management must prepare a fiscal impact statement for initiatives […]

January 12 , 2022 - Emily Makings

Long-term care program solvency would improve with 18-month delay, but the premium rate would still need to be higher than 0.58%

Yesterday the Appropriations Committee heard HB 1732 and HB 1733. HB 1732 would delay the state’s long-term care (LTC) program by 18 months and make individuals born before 1968 eligible for the program if they pay premiums for at least a year (benefits would be prorated). HB 1733 would add voluntary exemptions for veterans with […]

January 11 , 2022 - Emily Makings

Several fiscal bills have been introduced today: Reserves, tax relief, long-term care

First, HB 1875 (Stokesbary) would transfer $1.0 billion from the Washington rescue plan transition account back to the budget stabilization account (BSA, or the rainy day fund). The enacted 2021–23 budget had needlessly transferred $1.0 billion from the BSA to the new Washington rescue plan transition account. This shadow reserve account is not subject to […]

January 11 , 2022 - Emily Makings

To reduce administrative burden, Treasury’s final rule for the coronavirus state & local fiscal recovery fund includes a $10 million standard allowance for the revenue loss provision

The U.S. Department of the Treasury has released the final rule for the coronavirus state & local fiscal recovery funds (SLFRF). (An overview is available here.) The SLFRF is $350 billion in federal relief that was appropriated as part of the American Rescue Plan Act. This is a fairly flexible pot of relief money. It […]

January 10 , 2022 - Emily Makings

Enrollment stabilization or accelerated learning opportunities?

A summary document of Gov. Inslee’s 2022 supplemental budget proposal notes, “The state’s K-12 allocations during the pandemic have been reduced due to declining enrollments. Inslee proposes reinvesting more than $900 million of those funds to help schools address students’ social and emotional and academic needs.” Indeed, enrollment is still down significantly compared to school […]

January 07 , 2022 - Emily Makings

Pre-filed tax bills include proposals to reduce the B&O tax for manufacturers and repeal the capital gains tax

As we’ve written, the substantial budget surplus means that the Legislature will not need to increase taxes to maintain current services. Moreover, tax cuts could be considered. Several bills have been pre-filed that would either reduce or (in a few cases) increase taxes. Although there are no fiscal notes available yet, here are some proposals […]

January 06 , 2022 - Emily Makings

Under Gov. Inslee’s budget proposal, state allocations for school nurses and other support staff would increase

Gov. Inslee’s 2022 supplemental operating budget proposal would increase appropriations from funds subject to the outlook (NGFO) by $173.9 million “to increase the number of school nurses, social workers, psychologists, and guidance counselors to support the physical and social emotional needs of students throughout the state.” The Office of Financial Management requested a bill that […]

January 05 , 2022 - Emily Makings

Washington’s long-term care program could be delayed by 18 months (and other pre-filed bills would make other changes to the program)

A slew of bills has been pre-filed that would make changes to the state’s long-term care (LTC) program. As we’ve written, the Legislature should consider whether the state should be in this line of business. In December, Gov. Inslee, Senate Majority Leader Billig, and House Speaker Jinkins announced that they were “delaying” the premium assessment, […]

January 04 , 2022 - Emily Makings

The McCleary decision and school construction funding

Last week Wahkiakum School District sued the state because the state “does not amply fund the facilities needed to safely provide all Wahkiakum School District students the ‘education’ to which they have a positive, constitutional right under Article IX, §1 of the Washington State Constitution.” Article IX, Sec. 1 states, “It is the paramount duty […]