May 11, 2015
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Stormy seas as budget negotiations resume in Olympia

Gov. Jay Inslee said "there's a long, long ways to go" as House Democrats and Senate Republicans meet to discuss a two-year operating budget for the state.

The main point of difference continues to be whether the $3 billion in increased tax collections for the 2015-17 budget cycle is enough, as Senate Republicans say, or whether the state needs an added $1.5 billion through new and higher taxes, as House Democrats claim. AWB supports responsible spending and budgets, remembering the consequences the last time the state spent beyond its means.

Both the Democratic and Republican budgets would allocate roughly $1.3 billion more to K-12 education, helping the state make progress on meeting the Supreme Court's McCleary education funding decision. Neither chamber, nor Gov. Inslee, proposes fully funding the multi-billion dollar initiative, I-1351, that voters narrowly approved last fall. That shared stance prompted teachers across the state to plan one-day walkouts this month in protest. According to KPLU, one in four students will see their classrooms closed during these rolling walkouts.

Gov. Inslee continues to push for a carbon tax as a way to increase state spending. Democrats say they will announce a "new approach" to the governor's cap-and-trade tax plan today, followed by hearings later this week.

The existing discussion of a 5 percent capital gains tax on 32,000 of the state's top-earning employers and individuals was joined by a new proposal last week for a 7 percent capital gains tax on the top 7,000 of the state's highest earners. Discussions also continue about property tax levy reform, a requirement of the McCleary decision.

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Everyone Would Pay for a Carbon Tax

Carbon Tax Economic Analysis: A Second Opinion

By the Washington Climate Collaborative

... both reports find that Washington is, in fact, making true progress towards reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. Our per capita GHG emission rate is now 36% below the national average and has been on a downward trend over the last 10 years -- despite growth in the economy and population. 

Both analyses show that the governor's plan will immediately raise the price of gas by $.11 per gallon -- $.41 increase above projections over time -- and raise costs of natural gas by 22 percent above projections over time. Despite his rhetoric about targeting only "big polluters," the Governor's own analysis shows every Washington family will be paying more for energy. ...

Click here to read the full post from the Washington Climate Collaborative
Trade Matters

Washingtonians need Pacific free trade pact

By The News Tribune

If you live in Washington, your community depends on international trade.

The state exported an estimated $90 billion worth of goods last year, according to the feds, and exports supported more than 390,000 jobs. Many of those are high-wage union jobs -- Boeing machinists, for example, and longshore workers at the ports of Tacoma and Seattle.

The state is home to at least 12,000 exporters, most of them small- to medium-sized businesses. Per capita, Washington benefits more from trade than any other state. ...

Click here to read the full column in The News Tribune
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