There are always a few items we’ve read during a 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, leading with the ongoing (if publicly muted) state budget talks:
The News Tribune: Lawmakers debate teacher raises as budget talks drag on
While the Legislature has already approved some policy changes — including launching a statewide teacher recruitment initiative — budget negotiators remain divided on whether they also need to boost teachers’ pay this year.
Mercier op-ed: Transparency needed in state budget battle
If we can’t be in the room with lawmakers, let’s look at other ways to improve the transparency of the budget negotiations. Lawmakers may say you can’t negotiate the budget in public (despite the requirement for local governments to do so), but there is no reason the proposals of each side can’t be publicly posted before the secret budget meetings, so that everyone can see what is being proposed and what is being assumed in a budget deal.
Washington Research Council: Still no budget agreement, but I-1366 gets its day in court
Eight days into the special session, the Senate and House still have not come to terms on a supplemental budget. The latest public proposal came from the Senate on Friday … Meanwhile, on Tuesday the state Supreme Court heard arguments on whether Initiative 1366 is unconstitutional.
Seattle Times: Obscure tax at center of attempt to end budget impasse
A change to a little-known tax provision has been floated that could bring in more revenue and help lawmakers break a stalemate over the state’s supplemental operating budget.
The proposal, which would lower the share of national advertising income that out-of-state broadcasters should pay taxes on, appeared Friday as part of the Republican state Senate’s latest budget plan.
Seattle Times editorial: Washington has a new export to China: Nuclear expertise
Experts from the Richland-based Pacific Northwest National Laboratory helped establish the Nuclear Security Center of Excellence, which opened near Beijing on Friday. The national lab’s experience handling nuclear materials extends back to its support of the Manhattan Project, which developed the atomic bomb in the 1940s. The nearby Hanford nuclear site played a role.
Calculated Risk: Preliminary March consumer sentiment decreases to 90.0
The preliminary University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for March was at 90.0, down from 91.7 in February:
Consumer confidence eased in early March due to increased concerns about prospects for the economy as well as the expectation that gas prices would inch upward during the year ahead.
Seattle Times: Seattle has more rich millennials than most other cities
Seattle’s median home value is $533,000 and its median rent is $2,364 a month, according to the company’s research.