Friday Roundup: Optimistic business economists, Seattle rental law rejected, road usage fee test begins, budget signed

There are always a few items we’ve read during the week that deserve more attention but don’t make it into our regular posts. So we bundle them for the Friday roundup.

Here’s this week’s bundle:

Associated Press: Survey of business economists finds growing optimism

Business economists are expressing optimism that tax cuts and increased government spending will accelerate economic growth over the next two years.

The latest survey by the National Association for Business Economics projects that the economy will grow 2.9 percent this year. That would be the best performance in three years, up from the NABE’s forecast of three months ago, which envisioned 2.5 percent growth this year.

Seattle Time: Judge rejects Seattle’s first-come, first-served rental law

Seattle’s law requiring landlords to choose among qualified applicants on a first-come, first-served basis violates the state constitution, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Adopted by the City Council in 2016, the law “has a laudable goal of eliminating the role of implicit bias in tenancy decisions,” King County Superior Court Judge Suzanne Parisien said in a written ruling.

But choosing a tenant “is a fundamental attribute of property ownership,” Parisien said in striking down the law.

FiberOne News Radio: Road Usage Charge Pilot Project rolls forward with 2,000 volunteer drivers statewide

The Washington Road Usage Charge Pilot Project has enrolled 2,000 drivers from across the state to explore a new way to fund state transportation improvements.

Over the next 12 months, the drivers will have an opportunity to test how a road usage charge could work in Washington.

“With the start of the 12-month road usage charge pilot project, Washington is taking the next step in figuring out how we can find a long-term replacement for the gas tax,” said state Rep. Judy Clibborn, chair of the House Transportation Committee and member of the Washington Road Usage Charge Steering Committee.

Spokesman-Review: Budgets, new laws may satisfy court order on public schools

Washington officials may have closed a contentious chapter on the state’s public school system Tuesday with the signing of budgets and other laws that likely bring them into compliance with a 2012 Supreme Court mandate.

The state’s supplemental operating budget for 2017-19 includes about $970 million for raises for public school employees, which could satisfy the court’s biggest problem with a long list of improvements the Legislature made last year.

“We are free at last. Free at last,” Gov. Jay Inslee said in signing legislation authorizing the salary increase.