Friday, July 9, 2010

Retail sales down, largely due to construction

The Department of Revenue released its revenue report for the first quarter of 2010. There are some gains since this time last year in sales of cars and food service, but those small gains were overshadowed by a huge lag in the construction sector.

The overall decline in taxable retail sales is 2.9 percent. This is disappointing news for a state that relies on these sales for about 40 percent of state revenues. But it isn't unexpected, given the slow and bumpy economic recovery so many states are trying to manage.

For more information, you can check out DOR's numbers here.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Monday will be a quiet day at many state agencies

Next Monday marks the first of ten mandatory furlough days for workers at dozens of state agencies. Need to call someone at DSHS? The only ones there on Monday will be the child protective services workers. Have a licensing question or need to talk to someone at L&I? Try again Tuesday.

The furloughs (time off with no pay) are just one of many cost-cutting measures taken by the Legislature this past session. Some agencies have opted to find equivalent savings in other ways, but many are going the furlough route.

You can check out the full schedule of which agencies will be closed and when over the next 12 months.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The "Transforming Washington's Budget" roadshow starts in two weeks

A couple weeks ago Governor Gregoire announced a new budgeting process that would take place with the help of a committee made up of public- and private-sector experts in economics, industry, labor and more.

The new process is also designed to include the help of Washington residents via a series of public hearings. For anyone interested in learning more about our budget challenges and, more importantly, providing feedback on ways the state can do more with less in these difficult times, these meetings are a rare chance to do it in person.

Here's the July schedule:
July 19: Tacoma, 7-9 PM (UWT-William W. Phillip Hall, Milgard Assembly Room, 1900 Commerce Street)

July 21: Everett, 7-9 PM (Everett Community College, Parks Building, Multi Purpose Room, 2000 Tower Street)

July 27: Vancouver, 7-9 PM (WSU-Vancouver, Administration Building Room 110, 14204 NE Salmon Creek Avenue)

July 29: Spokane, Time TBA, (Spokane City Hall, City Council Chambers, 808 W. Spokane Falls Boulevard)