November 27, 2017
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Good news in latest economic revenue forecast

The Washington Economic and Revenue Forecast Council met last week and released its latest forecast of anticipated tax revenue. The news was good for budget-writers -- anticipated tax collections are expected to increase by $319 million for the current two-year budget. The state is now projected to collect $44.4 billion in this biennium. The Associated Press covered the news.

Rep. Terry Nealey, R-Dayton, the House Republican representative on the council, cautioned budget writers against letting the money burn a hole in their pockets. The state's rainy-day fund is just $1.7 billion against a state operating budget of $44 billion, he said, and would evaporate quickly in the event of a dip in the state's economy.

“Several days ago, Georgia-Pacific announced a major portion of its Camas mill will be closing next year. We really don’t know yet how employers will cope with the new $11.50 minimum wage and the new paid sick and safe leave, both of which take effect the first of January. The threats of a new carbon tax and a new income tax continue to fuel more uncertainty. Plus, we know from experience the cyclical nature of our state economy. These all create question marks as we move ahead," Nealey said.

Gov. Jay Inslee will release his proposed state supplemental operating budget next month. The Legislature will convene Jan. 8 for its 60-day session, which will include mid-biennium budget adjustments.

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Investments Denied

State regulatory agencies are killing our jobs

By John Stuhlmiller, Washington Farm Bureau, and Lee Newgent, Washington State Building & Construction Trades Council

The time has come to have "the talk" about Washington's economy and the role of government.

In a nutshell, it's not working.

For months now, regulatory agencies have been taking action that is basically killing jobs and private investment in our state. This has occurred in communities outside of Seattle and King County, where the economy has been slower to recover and tech jobs are few and far between...

In Longview, the Department of Ecology usurped five years of state regulatory process, denying Millennium Bulk Terminals a water quality permit for a proposed export terminal based on criteria wholly unrelated to water quality...

Another major regulatory hurdle interestingly also involving Ecology: the Hirst fix. This fight over water resources has held up the state's $4.2 billion capital budget for months now, putting construction for residential homes, K-12 schools and mental health facilities on hold -- along with the local jobs those projects create. This is to say nothing of the impact on rural landowners who find themselves with land, and wells, they cannot use.

Absent clarity from the state, this stalemate will likely drift on, leaving rural communities in the lurch...

Read the full op-ed in The Seattle Times
Necessary to Compete Overseas

America needs a strong Ex-Im Bank

By Meghan Milloy, director of financial services policy at American Action Forum

A fully functional Ex-Im Bank is important to strengthen American competitiveness abroad. There are 27 countries that require support from an export credit agency before they will even consider a bid from an international company.

When Congress allowed Ex-Im's authority to expire in 2015, General Electric announced that it was forced to move 500 jobs to France as a direct result of lost export credit agency support, as 80 percent of its total sales for aviation-related turbines came from those 27 countries over the past three years. Many of the commercial aircraft deals awarded to Airbus, in contrast, benefitted from France's export credit agency...

If U.S. companies do not have a fully functional Ex-Im Bank, barring them from competing for many projects in these major markets, we can expect to see more jobs move overseas.

For an administration with an "America first" agenda, it is imperative that the remaining board nominees be confirmed, and that Ex-Im has a president who will support sufficient levels of export credit to keep jobs and companies in the United States.

Read the full op-ed in The Hill
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