Preliminary revenue forecast dimming hopes of avoiding a tax increase; spending is still expected to rise
NFIB/Washington State Director Patrick Connor reports from Olympia on the small-business agenda for the legislative week ending June 9.
It was another quiet week in Olympia with no formal action to report. Next week, the last full week of the second special session, the Senate will hold a few committee hearings. The House is not expected to meet until a replacement is named to succeed Rep. Jessyn Farrell, who resigned to focus on her Seattle mayoral campaign.
It has long been expected that the Legislature would wait until the June 20 report from the state Economic and Revenue Forecast Council before finalizing the 2017-19 biennial operating budget, with the hope that economic growth would allow more state spending without substantial tax increases. This week’s preliminary report actually predicts a mild economic downtick, although state revenue was “$44.4 million (1.6%) above expectations” since the March update. It appears unlikely a rosy forecast is forthcoming to help bridge the divide between House and Senate budgeteers.
Given that the last day allowed for this special session is the day after the next revenue forecast will be released, triple overtime is a near certainty.
Meanwhile, paid family and medical leave negotiators continue to meet with a goal of enacting a new program, complete with a payroll tax to fund it, before the Legislature adjourns for the year. While the negotiating materials are confidential, NFIB remains opposed to a paid family and medical leave deal because of supporters’ insistence that the program apply to small businesses and require a tax on employers to finance it.
There is a high likelihood paid leave backers will file a ballot initiative if a legislative bill is not passed.
Previous Reports and Related News Releases, Editorials
[Tile photo courtesy of Legislative Support Services]