The Bigger Initiative Picture

An article in the Wall Street Journal today is worth reading.  It's about what is going on with the Washington ballot initiatives:

So look past the billionaires. At issue on this Washington ballot is how government is to respond when it is spending more money than it takes in.

Initiatives 1100 and 1105: Ending the State's Liquor Monopoly

We have posted a brief on Initiatives 1100 and 1105, either of which would end the state's liquor monopoly. This brief is available here.

Seattle Jobs

Kent Kammerer mentioned our 2009 brief “Seattle’s Lost Decade” Monday in Crosscut (“Why businesses worry about Seattle's policies”). The brief is available here.

Here is an update of Chart 2 from the brief, extended through March 2009, the most recent date for which employment in Seattle is available.

Two More New Briefs

We have posted briefs on Initiatives 1082 and 1107. "Initiative 1107: A Response to Last Minute Tax Increases" in available here, while "Initiative 1082: A Choice for Industrial Insurance" is available here.

Taxes Influence Decision-making

In a New York Times op-ed over the weekend, the economist Greg Mankiw, using himself as an example, illustrates how higher taxes on the rich incentivize them to work less, thereby providing fewer services to the non-rich.  The article is a response to the general idea of increasing taxes on the wealthy, in light of the current debate on extending the Bush tax cuts.  It is also applicable to the debate on I-1098 here in Washington.  (Our policy brief on I-1098 is available

Two New Briefs

Today we have posted two new briefs. The first, Now is Not the Time To Raise Seattle Taxes, is available here. The second, I-1098 Income Tax Proposal: Wrong Diagnosis, Wrong Prescription (Second Edition), updates our June 8 brief on Initiative 1098 and is available here.

Lessons From Canada

"Canada's Budget Triumph," a recent paper from David Henderson (published by the Mercatus Center) is well worth the read.  It is particularly instructive as Washington implements immediate spending cuts and faces a $4.5 billion deficit for the 2011-13 biennium.

Debt and Taxes

A Stateline article notes that nationally this year the bulk of the ballot initiatives focus on fiscal, rather than social issues.  This is certainly the case in Washington, where we have initiatives affecting taxes and state debt, among others.  Yesterday we posted policy briefs on two of these:  Referendum 52 and Initiative 1053.

R-52 and I-1053

The Research Council has pubished briefs on Referendum 52 and Initiative 1053:

The first, Referendum 52: $505 Million to Fund Energy Savings at Universities, Colleges and Public Schools, is available here.

The second, Initiative 1053: Requiring a Two-Thirds Majority to Increase Taxes, is available here.

Two charts on Seattle's finances

Here are two charts to give some perspective as Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn releases his budget proposals for 2011 and 2012. In “the worst economy since the Great Depression,” the City of Seattle’s revenue collections have held up relatively well.

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