Value of agricultural production in Washington down slightly in 2016

According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, agricultural production in Washington in 2016 had a total value of $10.630 billion (down from $10.719 billion in 2015). The top ten commodities by value were apples, milk, potatoes, cattle and calves, wheat, cherries, hay, hops, grapes, and pears. Together, their value accounted for 71.7 percent of the value of all agricultural production in the state.

Workers’ comp benefit costs are highest in Washington, for the eighth year running

Last week the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) released its annual report on workers’ compensation benefits, coverage, and costs across states. For 2015 (there’s a two-year lag), Washington’s benefit costs were $788.62 per covered worker. This was the highest in the country, followed by California ($751.70) and Alaska ($719.93).

Policy Today podcast: Dr. Rick Evans on how computer science can improve economics

In this episode we're joined by Dr. Rick Evans of the University of Chicago, an expert on open source macroeconomics, which aims to use the power of computational modeling to enhance economic research and public policy analysis. It's a fascinating discussion on a groundbreaking new field.

To learn more about Dr. Evans, visit his website here.

New OSPI analysis of education bill’s tax and funding impacts

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction has posted two new spreadsheets showing updated estimates of the impacts of EHB 2242, the education funding bill passed this year. They are both available here.

Policy Today podcast: Seattle's surprisingly robust manufacturing industry

Today we're talking with the Manufacturing Industrial Council's Executive Director, Dave Gering, about the manufacturing industry - and manufacturing jobs - in Seattle. Dave talks about the 106,000 industrial jobs in the city, and what the industry is doing to educate students with the skills they need to find employment. With many open positions and employers having to import skilled workers from out of state, there are plenty of job opportunities in this robust sector of the local economy.

Seattle Tops Nation in Home Price Increases

Barron's reported yesterday that Seattle currently leads the nation in home price increases. According to the most recent S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Indices,

Workers’ comp rates could decrease next year

The Department of Labor and Industries is proposing that average workers’ compensation rates decrease by 2.5 percent in 2018. If the proposal is adopted in December, it will be the first average rate reduction since 2007. (Rates increased by an average of 0.7 percent in 2017 and 2 percent in 2016.)

New Special Report on Manufacturing Jobs (Part I)

We're out today with Part One of a series of special reports on manufacturing jobs in Washington state. "Rebalancing Priorities: The Case for Manufacturing Jobs, Part I" covers the role of manufacturing in Washington's economy, and discusses Gov. Jay Inslee's recent veto of a tax reduction for state manufacturing.

Tax Foundation reports on worldwide corporate tax rates; U.S. among highest

Last week the Tax Foundation issued a report on corporate tax rates around the globe. In terms of statutory tax rates (the rate as written in law, as opposed to the effective rate which is the amount actually paid), the U.S. has the fourth highest in the world and the highest among industrialized countries.

From the report's introduction:

An area of agreement between the State and plaintiffs in the McCleary case

On August 30, plaintiffs in the McCleary case submitted their post-budget filing to the Supreme Court, and four amicus briefs were filed by other groups. (I wrote about these filings here.)

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