Tuition Transfer

This follow-up to Emily’s earlier post on the Senate’s early action supplemental budget proposal (Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1086) provides a bit more detail with respect to higher education.

House unanimously passes UI bill

Unanimous votes on important legislation are rare. Following the recent unemployment insurance contention, this outcome looks pretty good. Brad Shannon has the story in the Olympian.

Reducing the number of elected state officials and increasing accountability

That's the theme of my column today.

The Research Council has looked at the issue many times over the years. Gov. Gregoire's call for education reorganization, with specific implications for the elected superintendent of public instruction, raises the question: why stop there?

Let me know what you think.

President's UI tax plan far from a done deal...kind of like the governor's better idea

Yesterday Emily wrote about President Obama's plan to allow states to raise their unemployment insurance taxes and provide some temporary debt relief to states that have borrowed from the feds. Today that plan appears to be in a little trouble.

Is Manufacturing Back?

John Talton had a column titled "Manufacturing Is Back, But It Isn’t Pretty" in the Sunday Seattle Times. He sure got the “it isn’t pretty” part right.

Here are three charts to give some perspective on how manufacturing has fared in and after the Great Recession:

President's Budget and UI Taxable Wages

The Wall Street Journal reports that the President's budget (to be released next week) will include a provision that would increase the level of wages subject to the federal unemployment tax, as a way to "restock strained state unemployment-insurance trust funds."  Currently, the taxable wage base is set at $7,000; the President would increase that to $15,000 as of 2014.

Union Membership in Washington State, 2010

In January, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its annual report on union membership, which shows that Washington remains the 4th most highly unionized state in the nation. In 2010, 19.4 percent of Washington workers were members of a union. This is down from the 20.2 percent reported for 2009. Nationally, 11.9 percent of workers were union members.

2.4.11 pic

Senate W&M 2011 Supplemental Plan

Today the Senate Ways and Means (W&M) Committee released its plan to chip away some more at the remaining 2009-11 budget shortfall.  Like the supplemental passed by the House, this proposal would not close the entire shortfall.  Also like the House-passed version, Senate W&M would make transfers from numerous accounts into the general fund.  In all, the Senate W&M plan would

Health Care Hot Spots

Last week's New Yorker has an article about the idea that we can lower health care costs by focusing on the neediest patients.  It profiles a Camden, N.J.

Thrive Washington suggests positive ideas to put state on sustainable budget path

Thrive Washington, a research and communications partnership between the Research Council and Washington Roundtable, has looked at budget reforms, contracting out, and health care policy. This series of white papers provides a good platform for responsible state budgeting in hard times. And, these proposals will accelerate the transition to better times.