New brief: Mandating Paid Sick Leave in Washington

We have a new policy brief today: Mandating Paid Sick Leave in Washington.


  • HB 1356 would require employers statewide to provide a paid sick and safe time benefit.
  • The amount of leave would be dependent on the size of the employer.
  • All businesses with more than four FTEs would be affected.
  • Employees could use three days of paid sick leave before having to document their illness.
  • Anyone (not just employees) could sue employers for violations.
  • The limited economic literature on the impacts of such mandates is inconclusive.
  • Seattle employers report no change in presenteeism even with paid sick leave in place.
  • Small businesses are more likely to be affected by this mandate.
  • Paid sick leave is an additional labor cost that, combined with other costs, would make Washington less competitive.

New report: The Long-Lasting, Negative Consequences of the Minimum Wage

We have a new report today: The Long-Lasting, Negative Consequences of the Minimum Wage. Briefly:

  • High labor costs hurt a state’s economic competitiveness.
  • In Washington, these costs include the nation’s highest minimum wage.
  • Unlike the federal minimum wage, Washington’s is indexed to inflation and has no tip credit.
  • HB 1355 would increase Washington’s minimum wage to $12 in 2019.
  • 3.03 percent of Washington’s FTE jobs were at the minimum wage in 2012.
  • Nationally, workers under 25 are about half of those paid the federal minimum wage.
  • Minimum wage increases have long-lasting, negative effects on workers.
  • Minimum wages reduce employment for those with fewer skills.
  • For each 10 percent increase in the minimum wage, about one-sixth fewer jobs are created.
  • Higher minimum wages reduce the earnings of the lowest-skilled.
  • Minimum wages do not reduce poverty.
  • Minimum wages limit human capital acquisition.
  • Minimum wages reduce consumer, employee, and employer choices.

We also talked about the minimum wage on the podcast — see here for the episode.

New policy brief: Gov. Inslee’s Capital Gains Tax Proposal

Our new brief on Governor Inslee’s Capital Gains Tax Proposal is available through this link.

New brief: Governor Inslee’s 2015–17 Operating Budget Proposal

Today we’ve published a policy brief on Gov. Inslee’s 2015-17 operating budget proposal. It would increase spending by $5.2 billion. It would also increase revenues over amounts already forecast by $1.6 billion.

New WRC report: The Economic Contribution of Washington State’s Petroleum Refining Industry in 2013

Here is a link to our new report quantifying the impact of Washington’s five major petroleum refiners on the state’s economy in 2013.

New Brief: Washington’s Business Taxes Continue to Exceed National Average

In a new brief, we look at this year’s Council on State Taxation report, which summarizes state and local business tax collections in 2013. Washington continues to impose above average business taxes.


New Brief: 2015–17 Budget Preview: McCleary Not the Only Cloud on the Budget Horizon

In a new policy brief, we preview the upcoming 2015–17 state budget. It is based on a budget outlook presentation from the Office of Financial Management.

The upshot is that even before considering new education funding under the state Supreme Court’s McCleary decision, legislators face a significant budget challenge. If voters approve Initiative 1351 (which would reduce class sizes for grades K-12), the outlook will be much worse. (For more on I-1351, see here.)

New Brief: Initiative 1351 Class Size Reduction: A $4.7 Billion Unfunded Mandate with Dubious Educational Merit

In a new policy brief, we look at Initiative 1351, which will be on the ballot in November. I-1351 would reduce class sizes for kindergarten through 12th grade. Below are a few main points about the initiative, which are fleshed out in the brief.

  • It would increase state K–12 spending by $4.7 billion through 2019—over and above what must already be spent to comply with the state Supreme Court’s McCleary decision. Local spending would also increase.
  • The initiative contains no dedicated funding source, so the Legislature would have to cut other programs or raise taxes.
  • It goes far beyond what is required under the McCleary decision (which calls for lower class sizes only in grades K–3).
  • The evidence on the benefits of class size reduction is mixed, but doing so for grades 4–12 appears to be a poor investment.

New Policy Brief: About That Mythical $8.7 Billion Tax Break . . .

We have posted a new policy brief regarding aerospace tax incentives: About That Mythical $8.7 Billion Tax Break . . .


A competitive tax policy is not a “subsidy” that costs the state money. It is, rather, a pragmatic response to the marketplace, including the global competition for major industrial projects. Tax policies adopted in 2003 were essential for securing the 787. Extending those policies in 2013 helped to win the 777X.