October 1, 2018
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Washington's economy -- and tax revenues -- continue to grow

State tax collections will increase by $348 million beyond previous expectations in the current two-year budget cycle, and another $443 million in 2019-21. That was the official forecast released last week by the Washington Economic and Revenue Forecast Council, which said a strong state economy will continue to see state tax collections expand beyond previous forecasts.

Overall, that means Washington state government will have $791 million more in tax collections than had been predicted in June. Read the full revenue forecast online here.

Employment in Washington is expected to grow by 2.9 percent this year, according to the report. That is an improvement on the 2.5 percent growth it had forecast in June. Personal income in Washington is expected to increase by 6.6 percent this year -- up from the 5.8 percent the group had predicted in June.

"Nationally, consumer confidence continues to strengthen with respondents reporting favorable perceptions of job prospects and economic growth. Major threats to the U.S. and Washington economies remain, including international trade concerns, geopolitical risks and a maturing economic expansion," the council said in its forecast, issued on Wednesday.

Opportunity Washington, in reviewing the economic forecast, took note of the concern about international trade, but said even with that note of possible dark clouds on the horizon, the report is good news.

In other budgetary news, The Washington State Wire reports on several notable “asks” among state agency requests to the governor. These are key preliminary requests that offer "clarity (on) what the state bureaucracy believes it needs to do its job optimally."

And at the national level, the U.S. economy grew at robust 4.2 percent rate in the second quarter of the year, which was the best performance in four years, the federal government reported last week. If growth continues at an above-average pace, the U.S. economy would be on pace for 3 percent average growth in 2018 -- the best performance since 2005.

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On the Road Again
Vote No on I-1631

No vote urged on pollution fee initiative

By The Walla Walla Union-Bulletin Editorial Board

Earlier this year we opposed Gov. Jay Inslee's effort to impose a carbon-emissions tax in the Washington state Legislature.

We now oppose a similar effort to impose a carbon tax -- now dubbed a pollution fee -- through Initiative 1631. We urge a no vote on I-1631 on the November ballot.

This does not mean we oppose all efforts to combat climate change, which we see as a real and serious threat to all of us.

But any effective effort to reduce the carbon emissions that contribute to climate change should be done on a national scale at the federal level. A state-by-state approach such as the initiative adopts won't achieve much except to create an economic burden on those living in Washington state...

Read the full editorial in The Union-Bulletin
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