Studying the studies in the budget

Tucked into the $43.7 billion operating budget are several requirements for studies and audits. They didn’t make it into our overview of the budget, but I thought some are worth highlighting:

New brief: Legislature Passes 2017–19 Operating Budget That Increases Spending by $5.3 Billion

In a new policy brief, we provide an overview of the 2017-19 operating budget, as passed by the Legislature on June 30. Briefly:

Our Seattle Times op-ed on manufacturing jobs & state tax policy

We have an op-ed in today's Seattle Times on Gov. Inslee's recent veto of a reduced Business & Occupation (B&O) tax rate for manufacturing companies in Washington state. We argue that manufacturing jobs are a crucial component of providing workers with good-paying middle-class jobs, and that tax incentives will encourage companies to come here, stay here and possibly expand here:

The operating budget compromise included a reduction of the B&O tax rate for all manufacturers—will it be signed by the governor?

In order to balance the operating budget, the Legislature passed two bills that will increase revenues by an estimated $2.070 billion in 2017–19 and $3.358 billion in 2019–21. 

The state average wage increased in 2016, which will affect some state programs with benefits tied to it

According to the Employment Security Department, the average annual wage in the state increased to $58,957 in 2016. (The 4.8 percent increase over 2015 is apparently the largest percentage increase since 2007.) The 2016 average weekly wage was $1,133.

Gov. Inslee signed the operating budget but vetoed several provisions

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.

Policy changes in the compromise budget versus those passed in March

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.

2017–19 operating budget compromise would appropriate $43.7 billion

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.

Novel research adds to our understanding of Seattle’s minimum wage

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.

Study finds minimal impacts from Seattle minimum wage law, but the jury’s still out

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.

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