Blog

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 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 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 […]


January 03 , 2022 - Emily Makings

Governor’s budget includes funding for future homeless shelter capacity grants (plus, how document recording surcharges fund various housing programs)

The 2020 supplemental to the 2019–21 budget had appropriated $60.0 million from the home security fund account for local temporary shelter capacity grants. Then, the 2021 supplemental reduced that amount to $25.0 million. The enacted 2021–23 budget appropriated $35.0 million from the home security fund account for this purpose. Of the shelter capacity grant money, […]


December 30 , 2021 - Emily Makings

As tort liability has risen for Washington, the state liability account is in deficit

One major policy item in Gov. Inslee’s proposed 2022 supplemental operating budget is an appropriation of $217.0 million from the general fund–state to the liability account, “to ensure the account is not in deficit.” The liability account is used “for the payment of liability settlements and judgments against the state . . . or for […]