April 8, 2019
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Inslee declares drought emergency for Okanogan, Methow and Upper Yakima basins

New forecasts from the Washington Department of Ecology show significant water shortages for the Methow, Okanogan and Upper Yakima watersheds, Gov. Jay Inslee’s office reports.

Inslee declared a drought emergency on Thursday.

The state reports that water supplies are projected at 72 percent of normal for the Methow watershed; 58 percent for the Okanogan; and 74 percent for the Upper Yakima.

Each of these regions are strong producers of Washington agricultural commodities, from wheat to apples and cattle.

“We must take steps to ensure that Washingtonians have the water they need to sustain their farms and livestock,” Inslee said. “Climate change means that we will continue to see lower water supplies all over the state and we need to plan now for the impact.”

The Department of Ecology has requested $2 million from the state Office of Financial Management for drought response programs, which could fund projects like water leasing and other emergency measures, the governor’s office reports.



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Practical Education


Expand career-connected learning across Washington state

By Maud Daudon

If you're a Washington business owner or manager wondering where to find skilled workers, you're not alone. And if you're a Washington parent or high school student, wondering how to get from school to a great job, you're not alone either.

You may also be the solution to each other's problem.

Last summer, the Career Connect Washington initiative convened groups of parents to discuss education and career preparation in Washington state. As part of a 10-year effort, we are learning how to better help students connect to both jobs and advanced education so they will be well positioned to step into the state's job market. Business, labor and education organizations are all stepping up; we need the Legislature to act as well...

Read the full guest column in The Seattle Times
Fiscally Unwise


A Capital Gains Tax Would Not Improve Budget Sustainability

By The Washington Research Council

Although the March revenue forecast increased estimated state revenues for the 2017-19 and 2019-21 biennia, the House Appropriations Committee Chair proposed a new capital gains tax along with his 2019-21 operating budget. The Senate is also considering a capital gains tax, although in this case the proceeds would be used to reduce other taxes rather than to increase the operating budget.

A capital gains tax would be highly volatile. Taxpayers can arrange their affairs to avoid them, and the value of capital gains realized by Washington taxpayers varies significantly year to year. Also, swings in capital gains are much bigger in percentage terms than swings in state sales tax revenue. Volatile taxes require stronger reserves to manage downturns, but the House bill would avoid constitutionally-required transfers to the rainy day fund by directing revenues from the tax to the education legacy trust account.

Additionally, a capital gains tax would certainly be challenged as an unconstitutional income tax. Even if it were eventually found to be constitutional, a court case would likely mean that any revenues would be suspended until after 2019-21. Building the budget around such a tax would be risky at best...

Read the full report from the Washington Research Council
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