January 15, 2018
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Washington Research Council: Legislature has dipped into state Rainy Day Fund every biennium except 2011-13

Since the budget stabilization account (BSA, or rainy-day fund) was established in 2007, the Legislature has transferred or appropriated funds from it in each biennium except 2011-13. Since 2013-15, the state has experienced “extraordinary revenue growth,” most of which is required to be saved in the rainy-day fund.

Instead, the Legislature has spent almost all of it. The balance in the account is now $1.182 billion; in 2011, voters overwhelmingly supported a ballot measure that requires a supermajority vote (60 percent) from both chambers to tap the fund.

The Washington Research Council has published a new report, examining how the Legislature has used these rainy-day funds in nearly every biennium since the account was created.

"The state’s reserves have grown substantially in recent years, and the Legislature has not been shy about using the rainy day fund," the report notes. "Maintaining adequate reserves is an important part of responsible budgeting. In economic downturns, reserves can help states avoid service cuts and tax increases. Revenues, much less extraordinary revenues, will not keep increasing forever. That said, there are valid reasons to use reserve funds. The Legislature will consider whether circumstances warrant doing so this session."

Gov. Inslee’s proposed 2018 supplemental operating budget would use reserves, including the rainy-day fund.

Others, including the state treasurer, argue against it.

For more on the state budget, contact AWB government affairs director Clay Hill.

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Fix Hirst, Support Manufacturers

Support rural Washington

By The Wenatchee World Editorial Board

The Puget Sound region's economy is booming. But across the state, the post-recession economic recovery has been uneven. Much of rural Washington is still struggling, with higher rates of unemployment and comparatively modest economic gains.

Fixing Hirst and delivering tax relief to manufacturers will help expand our state's prosperity to rural counties.

Read the full editorial in The Wenatchee World
Costly and Unnecessary

No sense in carbon tax

By The (Longview) Daily News Editorial Board

Gov. Inslee is urging legislators to pass a $20 per ton carbon tax during the current legislative session. We urge you to call your local legislators and tell them to vote "no" on carbon tax legislation.

If passed, money raised from a carbon tax reportedly would fund schools; provide incentives for renewable energy, such as solar energy; be applied to research for new clean technologies; manage storm water runoff; help prevent forest fires; and more.

While all of these issues are worthwhile, the effects of a carbon tax on citizens and businesses far outweighs the benefits, which is why we don't support the tax.

The governor's staff indicated a carbon tax likely will increase power rates 4 percent to 5 percent for electricity, 9 percent to 11 percent for natural gas and 6 percent to 9 percent for gasoline.

If a carbon tax law is passed, utilities such as the Cowlitz PUD, will be negatively impacted and we believe the power rate increases would be pushed much higher than the governor's staff estimates. Citizens and businesses can't afford those types of increases...

Read the full editorial in The Daily News
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