April 8, 2019
Fast Facts
Bringing Business Up to Speed
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Spokane voters may have chance to weigh in on city income tax ban and public view of collective bargaining

Better Spokane is submitting a pair of initiatives that would allow city voters to decide whether to ban a local income tax and to require that the city's collective bargaining be open to the public.

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Updated employer toolkit now available for Paid Family & Medical Leave

As employers and employees both become acquainted with Washington's new Paid Family & Medical Leave law, the Employment Security Department has put together an updated employer toolkit.

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Election 2020: Candidates begin to emerge in state attorney general race

With Attorney General Bob Ferguson a presumed candidate for governor next year, a number of names are emerging of potential candidates for the post of attorney general.

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Strong jobs report keeps unemployment low, pushes markets higher

Friday's U.S. Department of Labor report showed a stronger than expected increase of 196,000 new jobs, up from just 33,000 new jobs in February. Unemployment remains steady at 3.8 percent, and wages grew as well.

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'Rural Community Vitality' listening tour coming to Toppenish, Aberdeen, Colville and Quincy

The Washington Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board and the U.S. Department of Labor are holding a series of listening sessions in different corners of Washington.

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New report: Puget Sound Energy's LNG plant would reduce greenhouse gas emissions

A new report from the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency concluded that a new liquefied natural gas plant planned by Puget Sound Energy would reduce greenhouse gas emissions overall. Supporters cheered the news, while opponents vowed to keep fighting.

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Rural jobs bill still alive in state Senate; support for rural Opportunity Zones remains strong throughout the country

Opportunity Washington highlighted a new report that shows 17 states are considering opportunity zone bills, which aim to encourage investment in struggling local economies.

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Applications open for AgForestry Leadership Program

The AgForestry Leadership Program, provided by the Washington Agriculture & Forestry Education Foundation (WAFEF), is accepting applications to participate in the program through April 30.

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

Water shortages are predicted in the Methow, Okanogan and Upper Yakima basins this summer, despite a good snow season for many parts of the state. Gov. Jay Inslee declared a drought emergency in these watersheds, which clears the way for emergency services like water leasing.

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Spring Meeting
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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