Governor Inslee proposes capital gains tax to fill budget gap

By | December 18, 2014 | Comments

 

Gov. Jay Inslee says it’s time to “buck up” and invest in the state of Washington. He’s recommending a new capital gains tax to help close a $2 billion dollar gap in the next two-year budget.

“It is time to reinvest in our state and this budget does that,” Gov. Inslee said.

The Governor released his 2015-17 budget proposal Thursday. The $39 billion plan is a combination of cuts to current programs and new revenue. The focus is on four key areas: stronger schools, healthier kids, cleaner air, and a fairer tax system.

“There is one simple fact: we cannot balance this budget and educate our children on cuts alone.”

In addition to the charge on carbon polluters unveiled earlier in the week, Gov. Inslee proposes a seven percent capital gains tax on money made from the sale of stocks and bonds above $25,000 for individuals and $50,000 for joint filers. It would begin in 2016 and is estimated to raise $800 million dollars in the first biennium.

“This is a tax on fewer than one percent of Washingtonians,” the Governor explained.  “For those folks who have retirement accounts, stock in those accounts when they sell that stock, there will be zero capital gains on that.”

The Governor says Washington’s capital gains tax would be less than similar taxes in Idaho, Oregon and California.  Also exempt is money earned from the sale of homes, farms, and forestry.

“This is not intended to show any lack of respect for those who would pay under this proposal. We honor success in Washington. In fact, we treasure it, but we always have to push for fairness.” The Governor later explained why he believes a capital gains tax is a better option over a sales tax increase. “It would be unfair to working families in this tough economy, where you have such incredible income inequality, to put more tax burden on working families. I believe, in this circumstance where we’ve had such wealth creation in this state… That giving a beginning teacher, or a person who’s making $500,000 selling stocks and bonds, at this point we outta ask that wealthier person to step up to the plate.”

Among the other ideas on the list of new revenues, Gov. Inslee wants five tax breaks repealed, the state cigarette tax increased by 50 cents a pack, a new tax on e-cigarettes and vapor products, and a tax on bottled water.

Those new revenues add up to $1.4 billion dollars.

Given the size of the budget shortfall and the State Supreme Court mandate on McCleary, the Governor says statewide cuts are also needed. His budget proposal includes $211 million in General Fund spending cuts. Another $212 million was found by shifting General Fund costs to other fund sources and maximizing federal funds.

“The fact of the matter is we have made reductions of $12 billion dollars since the recession started. We have already slashed mental health way past the bone. We’re in the arteries.”  Governor Inslee said as a result the courts have held the state in contempt. “The point is this recession has put us $1 billion dollars in the hole, and we have slashed to the bone and now we’re looking into the cartilage to the tune of about $400 million dollars.”

The largest chunk of Gov. Inslee’s budget is dedicated to schools. He wants to spend $18.2 billion in order to meet McCleary. That would include money for smaller K-3 classes and full-day kindergarten for all students across the state.

Social and Health Services would get $6.4 billion. Washington colleges and universities would be allocated $3.4 billion, but in-state undergraduate tuition would be frozen.

When asked whether he changed his tune from the 2012 campaign when then-candidate Inslee vowed not to raise taxes: “The combination of the legislature not closing these loopholes… and increasing demands in education and mental health, we simply have not been able to generate the revenues necessary to provide vital services to Washingtonians. I have hoped to avoid this route. I have tried to avoid this route, but we now have an obligation to our children. They oughta have a first class education. It is a duty of ours and I intend to fulfill it.”

Immediately following the Governor’s news conference, the Senate Republican’s chief budget writer issued a statement. Sen. Andy Hill (R – Redmond) said, “Investing in student achievement and providing essential services should not depend on risky tax schemes that threaten our economy. Educating our children, caring for those in need and supporting our local economy demands thoughtful, bipartisan budget leadership. Tax increases should be the last resort, not the first response.”

You can see more of the details of the Governor’s 2015-17 budget proposal here.

You can also hear more from Governor Inslee’s budget director, David Schumacher.  He is the  guest on this week’s “Inside Olympia.”

Governor Jay Inslee to Release Entire Budget Proposal Thursday

By | December 17, 2014 | Comments

Governor Jay Inslee will release the entirety of his proposed 2015–17 biennial budget on Thursday at 10:30 a.m.

TVW will carry the event live, both on TV and on our website.

Here’s the link to watch it live from your computer.

Washington Works to Protect Students From Natural Disasters

By | December 17, 2014 | Comments

The Oso landslide and fierce summer wildfires show how natural disasters might impact Washington schools. And to help school districts plan ahead, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction has released its final “K-12 Facilities Hazard Mitigation Plan.”

For three years, staff researched the natural dangers facing our schools, making us one of the first states in the country to tackle such a large study.

The six major natural disasters most likely to occur in Washington: earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, wildfires, volcanic events and landslides.

The hope is school districts will use the report to help plan renovations to old buildings, and safer designs for new ones that can be ready for the disasters pinpointed for their region.

The final report is available here.

It’s also one of the topics on “The Impact” this week which airs on TVW Wednesday at 7 & 10 p.m.

Also on the show this week: The Governor’s budget proposal, including a carbon pollution charge to raise money for schools and transportation, and the school district building an innovative new school to protect kids from an earthquake followed by a tsunami.

Categories: The Impact, Uncategorized

Inside Olympia: Paroles & Pardons

By | December 12, 2014 | Comments

Deciding whether to parole or pardon prisoners is a difficult, politically dicey task. Austin Jenkins interviews Gov. Jay Inslee’s General Counsel Nick Brown, Clemency and Pardons Board Chair Jennifer Rancourt, and Indeterminate Sentence Review Board Chair Lynne DeLano.

Watch here:

Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony

By | December 11, 2014 | Comments

It’s Officially Christmas at the Washington State Capitol. For the 26th year, the annual Holiday Kids’ Tree is lighting up the Capitol rotunda.

Photo: Courtesy AWB

It’s a noble fir grown in Olympia and donated by the Winkleworld Noble Fir Tree Farm. The tree is 35 feet tall and wrapped with five-thousand LED lights. The 200 decorations covering the tree fit the theme of Disney’s “Frozen.” Once the tree is taken down after Christmas, all the stuffed characters will be wrapped and given to patients at Seattle’s Children’s Hospital.

The Tree is sponsored by the Association of Washington Business and also helps raise money for rural families in need.

You can get in the holiday spirit and watch the Holiday Tree Lighting ceremony here.

Categories: Uncategorized

House Environment Leaders Talk About Priorities for the 2015 Legislative Session

By | December 11, 2014 | Comments

Climate change legislation is just one of the many big topics Washington’s House Environment Committee will tackle during the 2015 legislative session.

Committee Chair, Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (D – Burien), and ranking minority member, Rep. Shelly Short (R – Addy), stopped by TVW this week to talk about that and another big priority, oil train safety.

Be sure to watch this week’s episode of The Impact.

 

 

House Democrats Announce Committee Leadership

By | December 11, 2014 | Comments

After reorganizing House committees for the next biennium, Democrats announced Wednesday who will be leading those committees.

The list is as follows:

·       Agriculture and Natural Resources: Rep. Brian Blake (Aberdeen), chair; Rep. Kris Lytton (Anacortes), vice-chair

·       Appropriations: Rep. Ross Hunter (Medina), chair; Rep. Timm Ormsby (Spokane), vice-chair

·       Business and Financial Services: Rep. Steve Kirby (Tacoma), chair; Rep. Cindy Ryu (Shoreline), vice-chair

·       Capital Budget: Rep. Hans Dunshee (Snohomish), chair; Rep. Derek Stanford (Bothell), vice-chair

·       Commerce and Gaming: Rep. Chris Hurst (Enumclaw), chair; Rep. Sharon Wylie (Vancouver), vice-chair

·       Community Development, Housing, and Tribal Affairs: Rep. Sherry Appleton(Poulsbo), chair; Rep. June Robinson (Everett), vice-chair

·       Early Learning and Human Services: Rep. Ruth Kagi (Lake Forest Park), chair; Rep. Brady Walkinshaw (Seattle), vice-chair

·       Education: Rep. Sharon Santos (Seattle), chair; Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self (Everett), vice-chair; Rep. Chris Reykdal (Tumwater), vice-chair

·       Environment: Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (Burien), chair; Rep. Strom Peterson (Edmonds), vice-chair

·       Finance: Rep. Reuven Carlyle (Seattle), chair; Rep. Steve Tharinger (Dungeness), vice-chair

·       General Government and Information Technology: Rep. Zack Hudgins (Tukwila), chair; Rep. Tana Senn (Mercer Island), vice-chair

·       Health Care and Wellness: Rep. Eileen Cody (West Seattle), chair; Rep. Marcus Riccelli (Spokane), vice-chair

·       Higher Education: Rep. Drew Hansen (Bainbridge Island), chair; Rep. Gerry Pollet (Seattle), vice-chair

·       Judiciary: Rep. Laurie Jinkins (Tacoma), chair; Rep. Christine Kilduff (University Place), vice-chair

·       Labor: Rep. Mike Sells (Everett), chair; Rep. Mia Gregerson (SeaTac), vice-chair

·       Local Government: Rep. Dean Takko (Longview), chair; Rep. Mia Gregerson (SeaTac), vice-chair

·       Public Safety: Rep. Roger Goodman (Kirkland), chair; Rep. Tina Orwall (Des Moines), vice-chair

·       State Government: Rep. Sam Hunt (Olympia), chair; Rep. Steve Bergquist (Renton), vice-chair

·       Technology and Economic Development: Rep. Jeff Morris (Mount Vernon), chair; Rep. Gael Tarleton (Ballard), vice-chair

·       Transportation: Rep. Judy Clibborn (Mercer Island), chair; Rep. Jessyn Farrell (Seattle), vice-chair; Rep. Jake Fey (Tacoma), vice-chair; Rep. Luis Moscoso (Mountlake Terrace), vice-chair

You can find the entire list of House Democratic committee assignments on their website.

 

Categories: Democrats, WA House

House Democratic Leaders Reorganize Committees

By | December 10, 2014 | Comments

Democrats have a new structure for House committees for the 2015 legislative session. Some committees have been canceled, others added, and some of the remaining will have new names and roles.

According to a document given to House members, there are now 21 committees instead of 23. The committees canceled include the appropriations subcommittees on education and the one on health and human services, along with the Government Accountability and Oversight Committee.

There is a new committee being formed to deal specifically with issues related to marijuana and gambling. It’s called the Commerce and Gaming Committee. The description on the document: “The House Commerce & Gaming Committee considers issues relating to commerce in alcohol, tobacco and cannabis and issues relating to the regulation and oversight of gaming, including tribal compacts.”

Also new next session, a State Government Committee. It will take over the ethics, campaign finance and other state agency issues often heard by the Government Operations and Elections Committee.

There is a new name and focus for the Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government and Information Technology. It’s no longer considered a subcommittee and will address issues of state government, LEAN management, and audits.

The new Labor Committee has a shorter name. The Workforce Development part was dropped from that committee and moved to the Higher Education Committee.

To read the House committee descriptions: 2015-16 committee issue areas (2)

Majority Coalition Caucus Selects all Republican Committee Leaders

By | December 10, 2014 | Comments

With Republicans firmly in control of the Washington State Senate, the Majority Coalition offered all committee chairmanships to members of the majority party. No Democrats were included on the list of chair assignments released by the caucus Tuesday afternoon.

For the last two year, with two Democratic members of the MCC, the caucus had given the chair position to Democrats on two committees: Financial Institutions & Insurance, chaired by Sen. Steve Hobbs (D – Lake Stevens), and Agriculture, Water & Rural Economic Development, chaired by Sen. Brian Hatfield (D – Raymond). In 2014, Sen. Hobbs was demoted to co-chair in order to share the position with Sen. Jan Angel (R – Port Orchard). Former Sen. Tracey Eide (D – Federal Way) co-chaired the Transportation Committee. The Democrats turned down other chair positions that had been initially offered.

This year the only Democratic member of the Majority Coalition Caucus is Sen. Tim Sheldon (D – Potlach).

New this year, the Majority Coalition created the Accountability & Reform Committee. Senator-elect Mark Miloscia, who was once a Democrat, (R – Federal Way) will chair that committee. In a Senate Republican press release, new Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler (R – Ritzville) said the committee is a priority for the caucus. “We have a crisis of confidence and competence,” said Schoesler. “Our main focus will be to restore people’s trust and to make sure state government works for the people who pay the bills and not just special interests.”

Other committees that will be lead by new chairs:

-Agriculture, Water & Rural Economic Development
Chair: Senator-elect Judy Warnick (R – Moses Lake)

-Commerce & Labor
Chair: Sen. Michael Baumgartner (R – Spokane)

-Financial Institutions & Insurance
Chair: Sen. Don Benton (R – Vancouver)

-Trade & Economic Development
Chair: Sen. Sharon Brown (R – Kennewick)

-Transportation
Chair: Sen. Curtis King (R – Yakima)

The remaining committees will be led by the same chair:

-Early Learning & K-12 Education
Chair: Sen. Steve Litzow (R – Mercer Island)

-Energy, Environment & Telecommunications
Chair: Sen. Doug Ericksen (R – Ferndale)

-Governmental Operations
Chair: Sen. Pam Roach (R – Auburn)

-Health Care
Chair: Sen. Randi Becker (R – Eatonville)

-Higher Education
Chair: Sen. Barbara Bailey (R – Oak Harbor)

-Human Services, Mental Health & Housing
Chair: Sen. Steve O’Ban (R – Tacoma)

-Law & Justice
Chair: Sen. Mike Padden (R – Spokane Valley)

-Natural Resources & Parks
Chair: Sen. Kirk Pearson (R – Monroe)

-Ways and Means
Chair: Sen. Andy Hill (R – Redmond)

On TVW: Joint transportation committee, audit and review committee

By | December 5, 2014 | Comments

Here’s what TVW is covering live:

Wedensday, Dec. 10 at 10 a.m.: The Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee is meeting to discuss several items, including the reauthorization of a process that allows the University of Washington to pre-qualify contractors for certain medical facility construction projects.

Wednesday, Dec. 10 at 2 p.m.: TVW will be live with the Initiative 900 subcommittee.

Thursday, Dec. 11 at 10 a.m.: The Joint Transportation Committee has a number of items on the agenda, including a rail update. TVW will be live on television and the web.

Friday, Dec. 12 at 10:30 a.m.: TVW will be live with the Clemency and Pardons Board.

Categories: TVW

Minimum wage debate revived at Capitol

By | December 4, 2014 | Comments

People rally at the Capitol for higher minimum wage

Advocates for a higher statewide minimum wage rallied at the Capitol on Thursday following a hearing in the House Labor & Workforce Development committee on the issue.

Lawmakers heard from supporters who say the state’s minimum wage of $9.32 an hour isn’t keeping up with inflation, as well as detractors who warn it will drive business out of the state.

David Burroughs, vice chairman of Cascade Design, told legislators that Seattle’s $15 dollar-an-hour wage campaign took him by surprise. He estimates it will cost his business $2 million dollars per year.

The company, which makes outdoor gear and equipment, will have three to five years to phase in the higher wage under Seattle’s new law. But Burroughs says he has been “forced to look at alternatives,” including possibly moving some work outside of Washington.

“Our lowest-skilled positions won’t be viable in Seattle,” he said.

Ben Henry of the Alliance for a Just Society was among supporters of a higher wage who told legislators the wage should be increased to keep up with the cost of living. He said people are being forced to make trade-offs to make ends meet, such as foregoing health insurance.

“Our current minimum wage is indexed to inflation, but we see evidence that it isn’t enough,” he said.

TVW taped the hearing. Watch it here.

Categories: Minimum Wage

Senate, House leaders talk about priorities for session

By | December 3, 2014 | Comments

Newly elected Republican Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler says some Democrats will be starting session with a “preordained goal of raising taxes” to pay for education — something he says should only be a “last resort.”

The GOP-led Majority Coalition Caucus is focusing on “efficiencies and savings” to close the budget gap, Schoesler said. As an example of inefficient spending, he cited a $600,000 workshop in Tacoma for Department of Social and Health Services employees at the same time the agency was facing layoffs.

“The agency directors down through mid-management have to understand, we think lean management is a great idea,” he said. “They need to get it, or get out.”

Democratic House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan said that after five years of budget reductions, “finding additional room for cuts is more difficult than ever.”

Sullivan said Democrats are focused on funding education while also protecting services. “That’s got to be foremost goal,” he said. “Whether we pay for it in existing revenue is the debate we’ll have.”

Both leaders spoke on this week’s edition of “The Impact” – watch it below.

Categories: WA House, WA Senate

Mark Schoesler elected Senate majority leader

By | December 2, 2014 | Comments

Mark Schoesler

Senate Republicans on Monday elected Sen. Mark Schoesler of Ritzville to be the new majority leader.

Schoesler succeeds Sen. Rodney Tom, a Democrat who joined with Republicans two years ago to form the Majority Coalition Caucus. Tom did not seek re-election to his seat.

The Majority Coalition Caucus will continue to use the name. The group controls the Senate with 25 Republicans and one Democrat, Sen. Tim Sheldon of Potlatch. Democrats hold 23 seats in the chamber.

Republican Sen. Linda Evans Parlette of Wenatchee will continue as chair of the caucus. Sen. John Braun, R-Centralia, will be deputy leader, Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, will serve as whip and Sen. Joe Fain, R-Auburn, was re-elected as floor leader.

Democrats control the House with a 51 to 47 vote majority. The party selected its leaders last month.

Rep. Frank Chopp of Seattle will continue as speaker, Rep. Pat Sullivan, D-Covington, will serve as majority leader and Rep. Eric Pettigrew, D-Seattle, will be the caucus chair.

On TVW: House committee week, legislative ethics board and nuclear energy

By | December 1, 2014 | Comments

It’s committee week in the House, and TVW will be covering several meetings live on television and on TVW.org.

Tuesday, Dec. 2 at Noon: The Legislative Ethics Board is meeting to discuss the number of free meals that legislators should be allowed to accept from lobbyists, and how to define “travel” for lawmakers. TVW will broadcast the meeting live on television, and it will be webcast at this link.

Wednesday, Dec. 3 at 10 a.m.: TVW will be live on television with the Joint Task Force on Nuclear Energy. The meeting will be webcast at this link.

Thursday, Dec. 4 at 8 a.m.: The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Education will be broadcast on TVW. The panel is holding a work session on several items, including the impact of Initiative 1351, which mandates smaller class sizes.

Thursday, Dec. 4 at 12:30 p.m.: TVW will be live with the Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee.

Thursday, Dec. 4 at 1:30 p.m.: The House Labor and Workforce Development is holding a work session to discuss minimum wage, and paid sick leave. TVW will carry the meeting live on television.

Thursday, Dec. 4 at 3:30 p.m.: TVW will be live with the House Appropriations committee as members get a budget preview for the 2015 session.

All other committee hearings held on Thursday, Dec. 4th will be live webcast on TVW.org.

Friday, Dec. 5 at 8 a.m.: TVW will be live with the House Finance committee, and taping the House Capital Budget hearing for air later.

Friday, Dec. 5 at 10 a.m.: The House Public Safety Committee will get an update on sex trafficking in Washington.

Friday, Dec. 5 at 1:30 p.m.: Protecting student data is on the agenda for the House Education committee, which TVW will air live.

All other committee hearings held on Friday, Dec. 5th will be live webcast on TVW.org.

Categories: TVW

School districts cutting programs since losing No Child Left Behind waiver

By | November 21, 2014 | Comments

Schools have been forced to cut after-school programs, preschool sessions and other extra services for students since the state lost its No Child Left Behind waiver earlier this year, school district representatives told a legislative committee Friday.

The U.S. Department of Education revoked the state’s waiver because the Legislature failed to pass a bill last session requiring student test scores to be a factor in teacher and principal evaluations. As a result, public schools no longer have flexibility in spending about $40 million in federal funding.

“Since we haven’t had the waiver, it’s been devastating,” said Linda Sullivan-Dudzic, the director of special programs and elementary education for the Bremerton School District. “We can’t take another year without the waiver.”

“Quite frankly, I’m wondering why we have to chose between tying our teacher evaluations to an assessment that we have not even taken yet and having the flexibility and doing the best by No Child Left Behind,” Sullivan-Dudzic told the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education committee during a work session Friday.

Before the waiver was revoked, the district had an after-school program that served 360 students with 70 hours of instruction. That’s since been cut to 20 student who receive 18 hours of instruction, Sullivan-Dudzic said.

Other school districts are experiencing similar reductions.

Rosalind Medina of Tacoma Public Schools said the district had to cut some services to students, including before and after-school programs and extended learning opportunities.

Wapato School District cut two sessions of preschool and teacher interventions for at-risk students, according to superintendent Becky Imler.

“When we had the waiver, there was a difference for kids. My story is not just true in Wapato, it’s true throughout the Yakima Valley. We’re an area of high Title 1 need. We need the flexibility, we need the local control because with it we can make a difference,” Imler said.

Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe,  D-Bothell, questioned why the districts haven’t applied to be a NCLB provider, which would provide supplemental educational services for disadvantaged students.

“I think what you’re facing here is the current underfunding of basic education. If this Legislature steps up and funds basic education, you won’t have these stories,” McAuliffee.

Committee chair Sen. Steve Litzow, R-Mercer Island, said after the hearing that not having the waiver has been a “huge detriment” to the students who need the help the most. He said he is working on a bill for the upcoming session that would require test scores to be part of teacher evaluations.

“There’s clearly an impact in the school districts not having access to that funding,” said Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island, who also sits on the committee.

“If we were funding a lot of the programs that the state is supposed to be funding, would this loss of flexibility from federal government have been as big a deal?” Rolfes said.

Rolfes and Litzow discussed the waiver, along with other K-12 education issues, on “The Impact.” That show will air Wednesday, Nov. 26 at 7 & 10 p.m.

Community struggling with PTSD, economic recovery in the wake of Oso mudslide

By | November 20, 2014 | Comments

Eight months after the deadly Oso mudslide, people in the community continue to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and are struggling to move forward, local officials told lawmakers Thursday.

There is also a “tenseness” because of the uncertainty of what will happen to the Stillaguamish River during the flooding season, said Arlington mayor Barbara Tolbert at a meeting of the Senate Natural Resources and Parks Committee.

“We have very resilient people in the community,” said Tolbert, who said the region’s next challenge is recovering economically from the disaster. A federally-funded economic review is underway, and the report should be completed early next year, she said.

The Oso mudslide on March 22 killed 43 people, burying dozens of homes and part of State Route 530. The road reopened to two-way traffic in September.

The committee also heard testimony from people involved in the recovery effort at the mudslide. Retired forest service member Peter Selvig listed several problems he encountered in the days after the mudslide as he helped organize efforts on the Darrington side of the disaster.

He said he was twice denied flood lights, and he also received pushback on the number of portable toilets and body bags he ordered. Communications were focused on the Arlington side of the disaster, he said, leaving the Darrington side with minimal services.

“These are some of the confusions that just rip your gut apart thinking that this was happening and there was nobody there to respond,” Selvig told the committee.

Watch the hearing below:

Lawmakers facing budget shortfall, say Initiative 1351 ‘creates a problem’

By | November 19, 2014 | Comments

Economic forecasters said Wednesday the state is on track to collect $36.9 billion in the next two-year budget cycle, about $275 million more than they previously forecasted.

But it is still not enough to cover current government services and K-12 education obligations. Lawmakers will be facing about a $2.2 billion dollar shortfall for the 2015-17 budget.

Initiative 1351, a new measure approved by voters to reduce class sizes, added a significant cost to the budget projections — costing about $2 billion during the same budget cycle.

“If you look at the outlook as it stands today, we’re $2 billion short which matches pretty close to 1351,” said Sen. Andy Hill, R-Redmond.

“Overall, 1351 creates a problem. But if you take that out of the equation, it is kind of what we expected,” Hill said.

He said it is “too soon to tell” if the Legislature will vote to suspend the initiative. It would require a two-third supermajority vote of the Legislature to change a voter-approved initiative.

“I think we have to figure out, do we have two-thirds to change an initiative that just got passed by the people? There’s typically a lot of reluctance to change those,” said Rep. Ross Hunter, D-Medina.

Hunter noted the budget doesn’t include collective bargaining agreements for state employees “who have had a 15 percent reduction in real salaries in last six years,” nor does it include half of the state’s McCleary obligations. Looking ahead, the state can expect a $4.7 billion dollar gap by the end of 2019, he said.

Gov. Jay Inslee will propose a budget in December. The House and Senate will each release budget proposals during the 2015 legislative session.

Read the budget outlook from the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council. Watch today’s meeting below:

Categories: economy
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On ‘The Impact:’ State auctions off unclaimed treasures, carbon emissions update

By | November 19, 2014 | Comments

An unauthenticated Pablo Picasso sketchbook is up for auction

This week on “The Impact:” Look inside dozens of unclaimed safe deposit boxes that will be auctioned off by the state Dept. of Revenue.

A possible Pablo Picasso sketchbook, jewelry, coins, stamps and other collectibles are among thousands of items that have been turned over to the state after the owners of the safe deposit boxes defaulted on their payments. If the owners haven’t been found within five years, state law allows the Dept. of Revenue to auction off the contents.

James G. Murphy, Inc. will hold the auction on Nov. 19 and 20 in Kenmore. The Dept. of Revenue holds the cash proceeds — minus fees — in the safe deposit box owner’s name in case the owner comes forward later to claim the money.

The department is currently holding more than $1 billion in unclaimed funds. To check for a claim, go to claimyourcash.org.

Also on the show, an update on the report released this week by the Carbon Emissions Reductions Task Force. Interviews include Republican Sen. Doug Ericksen and task force member Perry England.

Update: Watch the show below:

Categories: TVW

Carbon task force issues report on cap-and-trade and carbon tax approaches

By | November 17, 2014 | Comments

A task force convened by Gov. Jay Inslee to help craft a carbon pricing policy released a report on Monday that examines both a cap-and-trade system and a carbon tax, although the group stopped short of making a policy recommendation.

The cap-and-trade approach sets a cap on the total amount of carbon that can be emitted during a specific time period. A fixed number of emissions “allowances” would be issued, and those allowances could be traded or auctioned off.

A carbon tax sets a price on each unit of carbon that’s emitted, with the price typically set in advance.

The task force said in its report that both strategies can “help the state build a coherent carbon emissions reduction strategy that aligns private incentives” to reach the state’s goal of reducing greenhouse gases below 1990 levels by the end of the decade.

However, the group cautioned that there are “substantial design challenges” in developing a policy.

Inslee talked about the report later in the day at a South Seattle community meeting about air quality.

“This morning, my task force gave me a report on a way to move forward to cap the amount of carbon and put a price for polluters to pollute our air and to me it makes sense that polluters who pollute our air ought not to be able to do that for free in unlimited quantities,” Inslee said.

“I’m excited to tell you we are going to be pursuing this in the next year in the state of Washington,” he said.

The task force wrote in the report that carbon prices should be established in a way that will “limit volatility and provide long-term certainty,” and take into consideration the impact it will have on businesses. The report also notes that the policy should “address equity and affordability concerns” for low-income and minority communities.

The transportation sector is the largest source of carbon emissions in the state, according to the report.

“With an explicit cost placed on carbon, the price of transportation fuel will increase,” it said.

The group recommends a comprehensive policy that addresses transportation-related issues, such as incentivizing the use of low or zero emission vehicles, expanding public transit and building alternative fuel infrastructure.

The task force concluded by saying that “certain important questions remain unanswered and further analysis will be important” to crafting a carbon pricing approach.

Read the full report here.

The 21-member group included representatives from business, labor, public health, tribal and government entities. The task force met half a dozen times throughout the year to draft the report.

The report will serve as an “important foundation” in developing a policy, Inslee wrote in a reponse letter to the report. “I understand your finding that each of the policy approaches under consideration offers strengths and weaknesses for Washington, and that market based approaches can make a unique contribution to reaching our statutory carbon emissions limits,” Inslee wrote.

Watch Monday’s carbon task force meeting below:

On TVW for committee week: 2015 budget preview, McCleary impact, ebola readiness and mental health

By | November 17, 2014 | Comments

It’s committee week, and TVW will be airing a number of meetings. Here’s a look:

Tuesday, Nov. 18 at 9 a.m.: Ebola readiness is on the agenda for a joint committee on Health Care Oversight, along with an update on the Affordable Care Act. TVW will be live on television and the web.

Wednesday, Nov. 19 at 10 a.m.: The Economic Revenue and Forecast Council will release its budget outlook and quarterly revenue forecast. TVW will be live on television and the web.

Wednesday, Nov. 19 at 1 p.m.: TVW will be live with the House Appropriations committee as it discusses how to implement the state Supreme Court’s McCleary decision and the fiscal impact of Initiative 1351, which mandates smaller class sizes.

Thursday, Nov. 20 at 10 a.m.: TVW will be live on television with the Senate Natural Resources Committee, which will discuss the Oso landslide impact and recovery efforts. We will also tape the Senate Energy Committee to be aired at a later time, or you can watch it live on the web at this link.

Thursday, Nov. 20 at 1:30 p.m.: TVW will be live on television with the Senate Ways and Means Committee, which is holding a “session preview” of the 2015 operating and capital budgets. We will also be live webcasting the Senate Transportation Committee as they discuss the Alaskan Way Viaduct, Interstate 405 and low carbon fuel standards — watch at this link.

Thursday, Nov. 20 at 3:30 p.m.: The Senate Human Services and Corrections committee will be live on television discussing psych bed certifications and other mental health issues. TVW will tape and live webcast the Senate Health Care committee, which is holding a work session on e-cigarettes and Hepatitis C.

All other committees on Thursday will be webcast on TVW.org.

Friday, Nov. 21 at 8 a.m.: TVW will be live on television with the Senate Early Learning and K-12 committee. Initiative 1351 is on the agenda, along with the impact of losing the No Child Left Behind waiver. We will tape the Senate Law and Justice Committee for air later and live webcast it at this link.

Friday, Nov. 21 at 10 a.m.: The Senate Trade and Economic Development committee will be live on television, and the Senate Agriculture committee will be taped and live webcast at this link.

All other committees on Friday will be webcast on TVW.org.

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