We're delighted to welcome state Rep. Drew Stokesbary (R-Auburn) to the podcast. As soon as we saw all the "Arrested Development" gifs populating his Twitter feed we knew he'd be the perfect guest. We sat down at the state Capitol in Olympia to chat about him being a younger member of the Legislature, how he got into politics and government, and his approach to working across the aisle. Other random topics of discussion: Kim Jon Un and Dick Cheney. Plus, Drew fits in a reference to "The Office" and we totally miss it.
In this episode we discuss our recent Special Report, "Using Tax Policy to Promote Economic Vitality." Too often, adjustments to our state tax system are portrayed simply as "breaks" that give certain industries and/or companies special treatment. But as our report shows, these adjustments play a crucial role in keeping Washington competitive with other states for jobs and economic activity that could very easily go elsewhere.
The Senate Ways & Means Chair presented his 2017–19 operating budget proposal yesterday. I provided some highlights yesterday. Today the committee is expected to act on the budget bill (SB 5048) in executive session.
The Senate Ways & Means Committee’s chair has released his 2017–19 operating budget proposal. (There will be a public hearing on the proposal this afternoon.) Under the proposal, near general fund–state plus opportunity pathways (NGFS+) spending would increase by $4.814 billion over the 2015–17 biennium. NGFS+ spending would total $43.268 billion for the biennium. Of the increase, $3.742 billion would go to public schools.
Last week Senators Brown, Hobbs, Braun, Mullet, Frockt and Warnick introduced SB 5866, which would create a tax court. Additionally, Senators Brown, Hobbs, Braun, Mullet, Fain and Warnick introduced SJR 8209, which would amend the constitution to authorize the tax court.
In a new policy brief, we look at Washington's Steady Move to an Economic Nexus Standard for Taxes.
The state Economic and Revenue Forecast Council (ERFC) held its quarterly meeting today. The forecast of general fund–state (GF–S) revenue for the current biennium (2015–17) increased by $247.4 million to $38,227.1 million. The forecast of general fund-state revenue for the upcoming biennium (2017–19) increased by $303.0 million to $40,816.7 million, and the forecast of general fund-state revenue for the subsequent 2019–21 biennium increased by $186.0 million to $43,841.6 million. From 2015–17 to 2017–19 GF–S revenue growth equals 6.8 percent; from 2017–2019 to 2019–21, 7.4 percent.
Washington isn't the only state grappling with K-12 education funding issues. On March 2, the Kansas state Supreme Court ruled that the State of Kansas was violating the state constitution by not adequately funding public schools. Sound familiar? The Kansas City Star reports:
We're pleased to welcome state Rep. Brian Blake (D-Aberdeen), who took time out of his busy schedule during the legislative session in Olympia to join our podcast. Rep. Blake represents the 19th Legislative District on Washington's southwest coast, a district whose counties have traditionally voted Democratic in presidential elections but last year largely went for Donald Trump.