A new fiscal year (2018) and a new biennium (2017–19) began on Saturday, July 1, but it doesn’t feel much like a fresh start.
The Senate has passed the compromise 2017-19 budget. If enacted, spending will increase by $5.254 billion (near general fund-state plus opportunity pathways) over 2015-17. Of that, about $2.071 billion is at the policy level. The chart below (click on it for a larger version) shows how the policy changes are distributed throughout the budget and compares the compromise with the budgets passed earlier this session by the Senate and House.
Budget negotiators reached an agreement on the operating budget for 2017–19 Wednesday morning, but details were not made public. The Senate Ways and Means Committee will have an executive session on the budget and other bills today at 8 am, and the budget must be passed and signed by the end of today. This tight timeline means that there was very little time for staff to get the numbers and language together.
The UW team that is studying the impacts of Seattle’s minimum wage ordinance released a study yesterday that finds that the increase to $13 last year (for some large employers) resulted in reduced hours for low-wage workers, which had the net effect of lowering their earnings by $125 a month on average.
A new study from Michael Reich, Sylvia Allegretto, and Anna Godoey of the University of California, Berkeley looks at the effects of Seattle’s minimum wage ordinance.
Washington ranks right in the middle nationally for wine taxes, according to new numbers from the Tax Foundation. Check out their map to see how we compare to other states:
There may be support for proposed online sales tax, but could Washington actually collect any revenues?
The 2017–19 operating budget that was passed by the House earlier this year assumes enactment of several new taxes. These include requiring remote sellers, marketplace facilitators and referrers to collect and remit sales taxes on online purchases made by Washington residents or report the sales to the Department of Revenue (so that it could then collect use taxes from the buyers directly). It’s estimated that it would increase revenues by $329.2 million in 2017–19.
In today's podcast we talk about the process of forecasting state revenues, and how that process relates to the state budget.
A recent blog post by James Pethokoukis at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), "Is automation really the worst enemy of the US middle class?," adds perspective to the ongoing debate over how much impact robots and automation have on jobs: