September 11–October 10 state revenue collections were $14.4 million above forecast

This morning the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council issued its monthly Economic and Revenue Update. Here are the key bullets on revenue from the summary:

Measuring workers' compensation costs

This week the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services released its workers' compensation premium rate rankings for 2014. By this measure, Washington looks slightly better than in 2012, but still not good. Our premium rates rank 17th, compared to 13th in 2012, 26th in 2010, and 38th in 2008.

Links: King County "living wage," WA cell phone taxes, and Microsoft predictions

1. Earlier this week the King County Council adopted a "living wage" for county employees and county contractors. The new requirement will be phased in to reach $15 in 2017.

Ports of Seattle and Tacoma to form Seaport Alliance

Today the ports of Seattle and Tacoma announced a plan

to unify the management of the two ports’ marine cargo terminals and related functions under a single Seaport Alliance in order to strengthen the Puget Sound gateway and attract more marine cargo for the region.

Seattle Times urges no vote on I-1351, CWU's president sees need for budget cuts

The Seattle Times editorial board is urging voters to reject Initiative 1351:

ON the surface, Initiative 1351 appears appealing, promising smaller classes in Washington public schools. But what it really does is unnecessarily complicate the state Legislature’s very serious job of meeting a state Supreme Court order to fully fund basic education. . . .

Davis column: Hard to do priority budgeting if you don't set priorities

My column this week suggests that the presidents of the six four-year colleges should have complied with the governor's budget office and shown the effects of a 15 percent budget cut.  They prefer to paint with broad brushstrokes as they make a strong case against any further reductions in the higher education budget. I write,

The Ports of Tacoma and Seattle generate significant economic impact -- and trade is good business

A new report looking at the combined economic impact of marine cargo operations at the Ports of Tacoma and Seattle finds that

McCleary, I-1351, and budgeting choices

Budgeting is fundamentally about choices. The McCleary decision and the prospect of I-1351 are making this plainly evident to many.

Last week the League of Education Voters decided to oppose I-1351. Even though they supported a previous class size reduction initiative (I-728), LEV said,

WA minimum wage to increase to $9.47

The Department of Labor and Industries announced today that Washington's minimum wage will increase from $9.32 to $9.47 in 2015. The increase is due to a 1.59 percent increase in the consumer price index. According to L&I, this change will affect more than 67,000 workers.

Class size Initiative 1351: Threat to safety net and higher education, yet no organized opposition

Seattle Times columnist and editorial board member Erik Smith writes that despite its $4.7 billion price tag with no funding attached, Initiative 1351 seems to be sliding to the November ballot with no significant opposition. This is all the more surprising because, as Smith points out, when informed arguments are presented, even those most predisposed to support the measure change their minds. He cites state Sen.