Red tape, delays contribute to the cost of housing

In a couple of stories yesterday, the Seattle Times writes about a proposal to tax nonresident buyers of Seattle real estate as a way to address the high price of Seattle housing. The Times reports that City Attorney Pete Holmes said such a tax would be illegal.

Will voters keep approving school levies?

Since at least the 1970s, when the state Supreme Court ruled on the precursor to the McCleary case, the use of maintenance and operations (M&O) levies has been limited to enhancements to basic education. In practice, they were sometimes used for basic education purposes, which was part of the problem identified in the McCleary decision. EHB 2242, the education funding bill enacted this year, renames them “enrichment levies” to better reflect their purpose.

What do school districts mean when they say they’ll be worse off under new funding system?

Several school districts have expressed concern about the state’s new method of funding public schools (as enacted in EHB 2242; here’s our report on the bill). As Melissa Santos reports in the News Tribune,

District officials in Tacoma, Olympia and Seattle say they’ll face budget deficits under the state’s new school funding plan, with some saying they’ll be worse off than if lawmakers had done nothing.

Policy Today podcast: McCleary Part 1 - Policy and Funding

Today we're discussing the K-12 education funding bill passed by the state Legislature, in response to the state Supreme Court's McCleary ruling on basic education. In this episode we cover funding and policy changes; in the next episode we'll cover tax revenues.

To read our Special Report on the McCleary bill, click here.

New special report: Has the State Finally Closed the Book on McCleary?

In a new special report, we dig in to EHB 2242, the education funding bill passed by the Legislature this session. Briefly:

Tax Foundation says the rich in America didn't pay significantly higher taxes in the 1950s

Recently The Tax Foundation looked into the commonly held belief that rich Americans used to pay much higher income taxes in the 1950s than they do today. It found that the difference between then and now isn't actually that significant:

Taking vetoes into account, the budget doesn’t balance over four years (plus, a note on minimum wage disemployment effects)

The Legislature passed a 2017–19 operating budget that balanced over four years; an outlook prepared for the compromise indicated unrestricted ending fund balances of $985 million in 2017–19 and $42 million in 2019–21.

Washington has highest estate tax in the nation

Last month the Tax Foundation came out with a special report on state's inheritance and estate taxes, which included a special distinction for Washington state:

The Evergreen State imposes the highest top marginal estate tax rate in the nation, imposing a 20 percent rate on taxable estate values above $9 million. The state has an inflation-adjusted exemption which currently stands at $2.129 million.

Research Council gets national nod for Growth Management Act report

We're pleased and honored to have received a Certificate of Merit for Most Distinguished Research from the Governmental Research Association, for our 2016 Special Report "The Growth Management Act at 25 Years."

The GRA's Most Distinguished Research category is for research that is

Legislature, AG to Court: McCleary response is complete

Yesterday the Legislature submitted what could be its final report to the state Supreme Court on its progress in responding to the McCleary decision.

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