• Overview

    Too many are being left out of the economic success of the Seattle metro region. Outcomes are troubling among rural communities, veterans, ethnic minorities, and youth. A review of comparative state rankings demonstrates the distinct competitive advantages of the state. Public investments should be guided by a long-term strategic plan which links together key assets such as technology hubs, deepwater ports, natural resources, and educational institutions. Growth generates more public revenues to invest in services and infrastructure needed to support thriving communities. A globally competitive business environment with policies tailored to the state’s diverse regions lays the foundation for an economy that works for everyone.

    Goals

    Challenge Goal
    Top 5

    Per Capita GDP

    Bottom 5

    Percentage of People Living in Poverty

    39 of 39 Counties

    WA Counties With Median Household Incomes Above U.S. Average

    Current Rank

    9th

    18th lowest

    13.2%

    12 of 39 Counties

    Source

    Bureau of Economic Analysis

    Bureau of Economic Analysis

    U.S. Census Bureau

    Why it matters

    Per capita GDP is a broadly accepted macro measure of economic activity, which broadly translates into opportunities for residents.

    This goal captures whether residents are meeting a basic minimum threshold of economic well being.

    Washington is above U.S. median household income, but prosperity is highly concentrated in the Central Puget Sound region.

    Per Capita GDP
    Challenge Goal

    Top 5

    Current Rank

    9th

    Source

    Bureau of Economic Analysis

    Why it matters

    Per capita GDP is a broadly accepted macro measure of economic activity, which broadly translates into opportunities for residents.

    Percentage of People Living in Poverty
    Challenge Goal

    Bottom 5

    Current Rank

    18th lowest

    13.2%

    Source

    Bureau of Economic Analysis

    Why it matters

    This goal captures whether residents are meeting a basic minimum threshold of economic well being.

    WA Counties With Median Household Incomes Above U.S. Average
    Challenge Goal

    39 of 39 Counties

    Current Rank

    12 of 39 Counties

    Source

    U.S. Census Bureau

    Why it matters

    Washington is above U.S. median household income, but prosperity is highly concentrated in the Central Puget Sound region.

    Strategies

    • Compete Globally

      Effective branding of the state and marketing of its competitive advantages attracts companies, investors, and tourism. Washington is an emerging product development leader with capabilities in advanced materials, 3D printing, robotics/automation, composite recycling, flexible cells, and smart manufacturing. The state’s clean and inexpensive energy resources make it a strategic location for energy intensive production. Private investments in research and development are among the highest in the country.

      The state’s business climate performs toward the front of the pack, at 8th of 50 states. It ranks closer to the middle in effective tax rates. State government has become increasingly reliant on “fees” for services once included in general taxes. Fees are charged for permitting, use of state parks, and a large share of post-secondary tuition. Small and medium-sized businesses, who lack the political leverage of the state’s largest firms, feel at a loss to advocate for more favorable tax treatment. Dissatisfaction with the state’s regulatory system stems less from the standards themselves and more from the inconsistency and inefficiency of their application.

      Recommendations
      1. Promote Washington. Invest in the Washington Tourism Act, creating an industry-led plan to provide sustainable funding for a statewide tourism marketing and promotion program.
      2. Invest in the Innovation Economy. In an increasingly competitive environment, forty other states offer tax incentives for high tech firms. The state should renew tax abatements for R&D and the Sales & Use Tax Deferral Waiver. Foreign students who receive an education in the U.S. need a simpler and less limited pathway to H1-B work visas. The E-B5 Immigrant Investor Program should be reformed to require investments in distressed and rural communities without gerrymandering zones that allow for investments to occur in thriving areas.
      3. Harmonize Government Regulations Across Jurisdictions. Implement user-friendly digital infrastructure to improve navigation through licensing, permitting and fee collection. Instead of a patchwork of laws and regulations, business needs a comprehensive and balanced state-level compromise on increasing the minimum wage. All layers of government should work together to streamline processes, lower compliance costs, and reduce delays.
      4. Enable Tax Increment Financing (TIF). Amend the state constitution to allow for TIF. The mechanism allows local governments to leverage private sector dollars, capitalizing on future revenue gains to secure financing for affordable housing developments, infrastructure improvements, and other public investments. Only two states – Washington and Arizona – lack TIF-enabling legislation.

       

    • Statewide Growth

      Exports are responsible for over 30% of the new jobs created in Washington State over the past 30 years. Investments in trade accelerators, Governor-led trade missions, and export vouchers reward Washington companies with sales protected from fluctuations in the local economy. The state’s abundant natural resources and prime location generate economic benefits on both sides of the cascades. Companies that export grow sales faster, hire more employees, and pay higher wages. Traded sector jobs typically pay wages 25% higher than other sectors, and are an important driver of the middle class.

      Washington’s Department of Commerce has identified critical industry clusters across the state in sectors such as aerospace, agriculture, defense, retail & e-commerce, life sciences, and global health. A network of institutions support the growth of these clusters from manufacturers and suppliers, to research facilities and training centers. Directing private and public investments at strengthening these clusters reinforces the competitive advantages of the region and encourages new business formation. While there are excellent program models to extend technology tools and training to aid entrepreneurs, low awareness poses a challenge.

      RECOMMENDATIONS
      1. Renew State Investment in Centers of Excellence. Centers of Excellence are guided by industry representatives and provide flexible, quality education and training programs tailored to meet the needs of targeted industries.
      2. Energize Technology Transfer at the University Level and at our National Laboratory. Promote a culture of entrepreneurship on campuses by incentivizing entrepreneurial activities and developing user-friendly approaches to commercializing intellectual property produced from research.
      3. Stronger Entrepreneurial Supports. Fund export assistance vouchers which help small and medium-sized businesses enter foreign markets. Encourage participation in the state’s Startup 365 program, Score Business Mentors, Fund Local, Make It In Washington, and U.S. Department of Energy Small Business Vouchers. Legislators should consider an administratively simpler B&O tax, such as a Single Business Tax, with accommodations for startups and small businesses that create jobs.
      4. Expand Tax Incentives for Distressed Regions. The state currently offers tax abatements for manufacturing and research expenses in qualifying regions. Expanding the incentives to include service sector construction and equipment costs will further encourage job growth in high unemployment areas.
  • Overview

    In 2012, the state Supreme Court ruled that Washington is failing to meet its constitutional duty to fully fund K-12 education, while recognizing that "pouring more money into an outmoded system will not succeed.” Since then the state has made significant investments into K-12 learning with new money for all-day kindergarten, school supplies, and K-3 class size reduction. Fully satisfying the court will require billions more in coming years. As part of a comprehensive solution, the state needs to address the achievement gap that divides student outcomes across incomes levels and ethnic backgrounds. Only five states rank worse than Washington in terms of the gap between graduation rates for low-income students (65%) and rates for non-low income students (87%).

    Poor outcomes for K-12 students aggravate the growing workforce skills gap. By 2018, two-thirds of jobs in Washington State will require some level of postsecondary education. Some of the most acute shortages exist in advanced manufacturing, aerospace, clean energy, construction trades, information technology, logistics, maritime, and healthcare. Half of all STEM jobs are available to workers without a 4-year degree. These jobs pay an average of $53,000 per year. The state legislature took an important step forward by expanding K-12 computer science learning in 2015.

    Goals

    Challenge Goal
    1st Place

    4th Grade Reading & 8th Grade Math

    90%

    High school graduation rates

    155,000

    Annual attainment of certificates, credentials, apprenticeships and degrees

    Current Rank

    10th in reading;

    7th in math

    77.2%

    72,715

    Source

    NAEP State Comparisons

    U.S. Dept. of Education

    Results Washington

    Why it matters

    Good math and reading skills are essential to being competitive in today’s workforce. Student success begins in the K-12 system.

    Not graduating high school correlates strongly with chronic poverty and unemployment. This goal matches a national target set by the Grad Nation coalition.

    Increasing educational attainment is vital to the well-being of Washingtonians and critical to economic vitality. However, lots of valuable postsecondary learning doesn’t involve degrees.

    4th Grade Reading & 8th Grade Math
    Challenge Goal

    1st Place

    Current Rank

    10th in reading;

    7th in math

    Source

    NAEP State Comparisons

    Why it matters

    Good math and reading skills are essential to being competitive in today’s workforce. Student success begins in the K-12 system.

    High school graduation rates
    Challenge Goal

    90%

    Current Rank

    77.2%

    Source

    U.S. Dept. of Education

    Why it matters

    Not graduating high school correlates strongly with chronic poverty and unemployment. This goal matches a national target set by the Grad Nation coalition.

    Annual attainment of certificates, credentials, apprenticeships and degrees
    Challenge Goal

    155,000

    Current Rank

    72,715

    Source

    Results Washington

    Why it matters

    Increasing educational attainment is vital to the well-being of Washingtonians and critical to economic vitality. However, lots of valuable postsecondary learning doesn’t involve degrees.

    Strategies

    • Teach Relevant Job Skills in K-12

      Career and technical education in K-12 can help in closing both the achievement and skill gaps. Through hands-on learning, students acquire critical problem-solving skills and applied STEM knowledge. Incorporating relevant job skills into curriculum provides students the foundation to earn advanced degrees or industry credentials leading to fulfilling employment. It can also encourage at-risk students to stay in school. Students enrolled in career and technical education programs graduate high school at a rate more than 10% above the state average. Dropping out of K-12 significantly increases the odds of having a low wage job, becoming dependent on government benefits, and being incarcerated. During this time of new K-12 investments driven by the McCleary decision, career and technical education should be a major priority recognized for the substantial contributions it can make, among other interventions, to improving student outcomes.

      Recommendations
      1. Expand Access to Career and Technical Education. Barriers include relatively high per student costs for necessary materials and qualified teachers. Business, labor, and education organizations should convene a workgroup to develop strategies for extending access and adequately funding career and technical education and skill center programs for K-12 students.
      2. Provide Academic Support Outside the School Day. Students from low-income families are more likely to succeed with focused support services. Schools should develop replicable program templates to establish diverse learning environments that provide students with academic support outside the school day.
      3. Know Before You Go. State law should require universities to report program-specific metrics, such as job placement and earnings. Directing more students into postsecondary pathways that deliver higher return on investment will help align degree choices with economic opportunities.
    • Workforce Readiness & Competency-Based Education

      In the United States, fewer than 5% of young people train as apprentices. In Germany, where the youth unemployment rate is the lowest in the developed world (7.7%), around 60% of youth participate in apprenticeships. Within nine months of completing their program, 86% of apprentices in Washington State report employment at a median wage of $30.47 per hour. Several states offer tax credits to small and medium-sized businesses who take on an apprentice, but Washington does not.

      The legislature made national headlines headlines in 2015 by reducing tuition 15–20% at public universities, and 5% at community colleges. This brings relief to students pursuing two or four-year degrees. The challenge going forward is to contain costs and increase the value of degrees, while better equipping those already in the workforce to enhance and diversify their skills. Ten years after their high school graduations, only 21% of Washington students hold bachelor’s degrees. Recent federal legislation encourages the workforce system to closely align training and curriculum with employer-articulated needs.

      Recommendations
      1. Expand Customized Industry Training. Promote adoption of the National Career Readiness Certificate and other industry-recognized skill standards. Translate Military Occupational Specialty guides into workforce credentials to help veterans find work. Engage employers to train and hire people with disabilities. Special support is needed to help small and medium-sized businesses articulate their hiring needs and connect with available training resources.
      2. Reinvest in the Community College System. Encourage business and community college partnership to reduce the costs of operating apprenticeship programs and increase the effectiveness of workforce training programs. Oregon has made community college more accessible by offering free tuition with strong accountability measures for students.
      3. Create a Regulatory Framework for Income Share Agreements (ISAs). ISAs enable college students to avoid the risk of taking on debt by selling fixed-percentage shares of their future earnings. ISAs have the potential to help students reach better decisions about degree paths and keep debt-averse students in school, but regulatory clarity is needed.

       

  • Overview

    More than 25% of our state’s total economy comes from industries directly dependent on natural resources, such as agriculture and food products, forestry, and maritimeAdditionally, the state’s stunning natural environment drives tourism spending in hospitality and recreation. Natural capital accounting is a tool to help manage these resources, allowing for the “design [of] a management strategy that maximizes the contribution of natural resources to economic growth while balancing tradeoffs among recreation, agriculture, subsistence livelihoods and other ecosystem services like flood protection and groundwater recharge.”

    Unlike the country as a whole, Washington’s largest source of emissions is the transportation sector. The state’s low-cost, hydro-based grid provides a unique and leverageable asset to reduce carbon emissions across all sectors. The clean grid supercharges the environmental benefits of electric vehicle adoption and enables energy-intensive industries to do business with a lower carbon footprint than in other states. Washington has improved its carbon competitiveness at a rate rate of 3.5% each year over the past five recorded years, placing it at seventh best in the U.S. at growing its economy while simultaneously lowering emissions.

    Goals

    Challenge Goal
    Top 5

    Carbon Competitiveness

    Meet New Load Growth while Maintaining a Top 5 Rank

    Carbon Intensity of Electricity

    Maintain | Top 5

    Clean Water & Air

    Current Rank

    6th

    2nd

    2nd (water)  |  28th (air)

    Source

    EPA, BEA

    EIA

    ERFC

    Why it matters

    Expresses ratio between greenhouse gas emissions and gross domestic product. Also known as the GHG intensity of economy.

    The amount of carbon used to create a megawatt-hour of electricity. Washington state has one of the cleanest electrical systems in the nation.

    Clean air and drinking water are key determinants of health and quality of life.

    Carbon Competitiveness
    Challenge Goal

    Top 5

    Current Rank

    6th

    Source

    EPA, BEA

    Why it matters

    Expresses ratio between greenhouse gas emissions and gross domestic product. Also known as the GHG intensity of economy.

    Carbon Intensity of Electricity
    Challenge Goal

    Meet New Load Growth while Maintaining a Top 5 Rank

    Current Rank

    2nd

    Source

    EIA

    Why it matters

    The amount of carbon used to create a megawatt-hour of electricity. Washington state has one of the cleanest electrical systems in the nation.

    Clean Water & Air
    Challenge Goal

    Maintain | Top 5

    Current Rank

    2nd (water)  |  28th (air)

    Source

    ERFC

    Why it matters

    Clean air and drinking water are key determinants of health and quality of life.

    Strategies

    • Protect Natural Capital

      Improving our understanding of natural capital accounting can help illuminate smarter choices to mitigate or eliminate environmental threats. Local examples include an assessment of the Puget Sound Basin as well as the Nisqually Watershed. These analyses offer the foundation for a systems-based regional view of well-managed ecological systems. More sophisticated and locally-focused climate modeling will enable the state to plan for a more sustainable future.

      Taking action can be beneficial on multiple fronts. Harvesting the more than 247 million board feet of authorized Olympic-region timber that went unsold over the last decade would have funded local schools and municipalities, created jobs in rural Washington, and reduced wildfire risk.

      Recommendations
      1. Strengthen Regional Disaster Preparedness and Climate Resiliency. New best practices can be applied to forest management and agriculture to reduce the risk of fire and drought. Uncertain snowpack encourages investment in reservoir water storage for rain. Floodplains by design projects offer needed protection for homes, businesses, and natural habit.
      2. Apply LEAN to the Stormwater Regulatory Process. Redesign the stormwater regulatory process to be “compiler-centric,” and harmonized across jurisdictions. Foster a coordinated effort among ports and tenants in pursuit of a healthier Puget Sound.
    • Achieve Low Carbon Prosperity

      Current policy is leading Washington toward a cleaner grid in 2025, with the elimination of in-state coal electricity. Much like utilities helped drive energy efficiency improvements like LED light bulbs, they can play a similar role in electrifying transportation and converting industrial machinery to cleaner fuels.

      Reducing emissions can align with improving profits. The critical question for the economy is the amount of carbon reduction that is technologically feasible, and the cost effectiveness of making those investments. Looking to 2030, it is estimated that nationally 40% of the identified technology solutions could generate a net savings to the economy. However, realizing this potential requires overcoming persistent barriers to market efficiency. Less understood is the availability and cost effectiveness of  carbon reduction investments at the state level. For example, given Washington’s unique energy profile the advantages of electrification are more pronounced than in other states. Washington's rich forestry resources can also provide a sequestration benefit equal to 30 percent of net carbon emissions.

      Recommendations
      1. Leverage Washington’s Natural Advantage in Clean, Affordable Electricity. State law should recognize the ratepayer interest in shifting carbon intense activities to clean electric power. To encourage investment in grid enhancement, integration of intermittent renewable energy, and reductions in transportation and industrial sector emissions, the state should adopt technology-neutral standards which account for the whole range of utility investments that reduce carbon.
      2. Recover Wasted Energy. Through 2030, the state can meet 85% of its new electricity needs with conservation and efficiency investments. Shifting more activity to electric power will increase demand for electricity, but the greater efficiency of electric motors will decrease overall energy use and waste. State policy should encourage the development of nascent clean energy technologies such as nuclear and hydrogen power to someday meet the energy demands of the region and beyond.
      3. Electrify Transportation and Expand the use of Low Carbon Fuels. Amend utility regulations to enable them to provide incentives encouraging adoption of electric vehicles and charging infrastructure. Implement time-of-use electricity rates. The definition of “energy conservation” should be broadened to include the conservation of electricity and oil. Standards are needed to evaluate fuels and technologies for their carbon reduction benefits, with subsidies and compliance credits awarded accordingly. Natural gas should be evaluated fairly with other advanced fuels, not singularly discouraged.
      4. Support Low Carbon Procurement. Government and businesses can apply purchasing power throughout supply chains and be proactive in making cost effective energy efficiency and carbon reduction investments.
  • Overview

    Across the county a bipartisan movement of public servants is growing. They have resolved to eliminate waste, improve responsiveness, and deliver results that will win back people’s trust in government. Borrowing best practices from business, these reforms aim at improving everything from the waiting time for a driver’s license to the quality of education. The National Governors Association’s Deliver Results, the Brookings Institute's Global Cities Initiative, and Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Works Cities are examples of national initiatives to identify and promote best practices across issue areas.

    There are many excellent examples of this type of leadership in Washington State. Results Washington is the body tasked with setting common goals for state agencies and encouraging systemwide strategic planning and Lean implementation. New performance standards for tax preferences and a four-year balanced budget requirement have raised the bar for legislative decision-making. Data portals like those offered by Spokane Community Indicators set the stage for collective problem-solving.

    Goals

    Challenge Goal
    AAA

    Credit Rating

    No less than A-

    Budget Transparency

    Top 5

    Voter Participation

    Current Rank

    AA+ (28th highest)

    Grade: B

    22nd

    13th,

    Average of 2012 (64.8%)
    and 2014 (42.2%)

    Source

    Standard & Poor

    U.S. PIRG

    State Auditor’s Office

    Why it matters

    A high score reflects a comprehensive evaluation of the state’s governance and financial management which directly translates to lower funding costs for the state.

    Evaluation of how effectively online state spending information is "encompassing, one-stop, and one-click searchable and downloadable."

    The share of registered voters participating in elections -- a basic indicator of civic engagement. More participation tends to create more representative government.

    Credit Rating
    Challenge Goal

    AAA

    Current Rank

    AA+ (28th highest)

    Source

    Standard & Poor

    Why it matters

    A high score reflects a comprehensive evaluation of the state’s governance and financial management which directly translates to lower funding costs for the state.

    Budget Transparency
    Challenge Goal

    No less than A-

    Current Rank

    Grade: B

    22nd

    Source

    U.S. PIRG

    Why it matters

    Evaluation of how effectively online state spending information is "encompassing, one-stop, and one-click searchable and downloadable."

    Voter Participation
    Challenge Goal

    Top 5

    Current Rank

    13th,

    Average of 2012 (64.8%)
    and 2014 (42.2%)

    Source

    State Auditor’s Office

    Why it matters

    The share of registered voters participating in elections -- a basic indicator of civic engagement. More participation tends to create more representative government.

    Strategies

    • Government that Works

      Spending decisions in Washington State should be prioritized using a comprehensive strategic plan. Interplay over the budget is to be expected between the governor and the four legislative caucuses, but the process can be better structured. Past leaders have built consensus by establishing shared governing priorities. The table below describes an approach to budgeting that both political parties can embrace.

       

      MOVING AWAY FROM
      MOVING TOWARD

      Two-year budgeting focused on “balancing” the budget

      Budgeting within fiscal constraints to meet long-term outcomes

      Funding specific agencies

      Funding programs designed to achieve outcomes

      Debating levels of funding

      Debating the results we want to achieve with state spending

      Spending all available revenue

      Saving and creating fiscal sustainability

      Competition for funding between agencies

      Agencies jointly responsible for program delivery

      Disconnected agency performance indicators

      Success measured by outcome indicators

      Recommendations
      1. Pass the SMART Act (State Money Accountability, Review or Termination). The bill would require all state expenditures to include a Performance Statement wherein the Joint Legislative Audit & Review Committee would recommend continuing, modifying or terminating the program, as is currently done for tax preferences.
      2. Better Connect Spending to Outcomes. Create a state version of the federal evidence-based policymaking commission proposed by Senator Patty Murray and Representative Paul Ryan. A Citizen Initiative Review process and printing projected fiscal impacts in the voters pamphlet will help voters make informed decisions regarding initiatives and referenda. The implementation of management systems across state agencies will support a culture of continuous improvement leading to better results.
      3. Launch Open Data and Digital Leadership Initiative. Getting more datasets online supports an economy of businesses and nonprofits, watchdog groups and journalists, and software application developers. Look to leading states like Utah, and encourage the participation of the local computing employer base in bringing the talent and knowledge to transition state agencies to digital service delivery.
      4. Authorize Pay for Success Bonds. Pay-for-success contracts (aka: social impact bonds) leverage private capital to create better public outcomes, by compensating private investors if their investments reduce state liabilities or generate revenue. The legislature should authorize a pilot project related to health & social services.
      5. Reduce Tax Burden on Lower Income Households. The Washington State tax system places disproportionate tax burden on lower income households. Property tax circuit breakers and homestead exemptions, alongside school levy reform could reduce the inequity of the state tax system. Enacted in 2008 but never funded, the Working Families Tax Credit would create a state version of the successful federal Earned Income Tax Credit.
  • Overview

    The State Health Care Innovation Plan is an opportunity for unified action toward health system transformation. The federal government has awarded Washington $65 million to implement the plan — with the potential to generate at least $1 billion in savings across all payers.

    In 2015, the state legislature authorized creation of an All-Payer’s Claims Database to bring greater transparency to the healthcare market. The database pools information about the costs and quality of health care. Access to this data presents an opportunity for better decision-making by patients and policymakers alike. Business can lead by emphasizing workplace wellness and promoting value-based benefit designs that reward high-value providers and low-cost delivery systems. The state took a big step forward by approving reimbursement for telemedicine services.

    Goals

    Challenge Goal
    Top 5

    Health Determinants and Outcomes

    Top 5

    Quantity of primary care physicians

    Bottom 5

    Healthcare expenditures as a share of personal income

    Current Rank

    14th in determinants,
    & 19th in outcomes

    15th

    14th

    Source

    United Health Foundation

    United Health Foundation

    U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

    Why it matters

    These two high-level indices assess the health care systems’ effectiveness in keeping people healthy.

    Wellness care and chronic disease management keep patients out of expensive emergency rooms and hospitals, but require qualified primary care physicians.

    When paired with data on health outcomes, health costs as a share of personal income reveal the value residents get for dollars spent on health care.

    Health Determinants and Outcomes
    Challenge Goal

    Top 5

    Current Rank

    14th in determinants,
    & 19th in outcomes

    Source

    United Health Foundation

    Why it matters

    These two high-level indices assess the health care systems’ effectiveness in keeping people healthy.

    Quantity of primary care physicians
    Challenge Goal

    Top 5

    Current Rank

    15th

    Source

    United Health Foundation

    Why it matters

    Wellness care and chronic disease management keep patients out of expensive emergency rooms and hospitals, but require qualified primary care physicians.

    Healthcare expenditures as a share of personal income
    Challenge Goal

    Bottom 5

    Current Rank

    14th

    Source

    U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

    Why it matters

    When paired with data on health outcomes, health costs as a share of personal income reveal the value residents get for dollars spent on health care.

    Strategies

    • Align to the Triple Aim

      The triple aim is framework to guide the design of health system transformation. The approach calls for:  1) enhancing the patient experience, 2) improving health outcomes of populations, and 3) reducing per capita costs.

      Modest investments in chronic disease prevention have been shown to yield dramatic health impacts and cost savings. Recent research indicates that prevention costing only $10 per person could result in a national savings of $16.5 billion dollars over five years. Medicaid and Medicare recipients suffer disproportionately from chronic disease. While an effective delivery system is critical, 80% of health is determined by physical environment, health behaviors, and socioeconomic factors.

      Recommendations
      1. Build a Culture of Robust Quality and Price Transparency. Demand transparency, benchmark performance, enable value-based purchasing, and promote competition. Build upon the foundation of an All Payers Claim Database by pooling more types of data in real-time and strengthening the analytical capacity of the health system. Washington health systems should implement ongoing procedural reforms and innovations targeting healthcare mishaps such as hospital-acquired infections, medication errors, and all “never events.”
      2. Emphasize Prevention and Chronic Disease Management. Washington residents who suffer from high-prevalence, high-cost chronic conditions (cardiovascular disease, diabetes, asthma, COPD, and depression) should receive a comprehensive, ongoing assessment of medical needs; and development of a plan to obtain needed medical services, actively overseen by a care provider or case management professional. State law can be modified to expand the role of mid-level practitioners to fully perform work for which they are trained.
      3. Borrow from Oregon’s Accountable Care Innovations. Oregon was granted an “innovation waiver” via the Affordable Care Act that allows it to spend its Medicaid dollars in a unique manner and shift risk away from the public sector. Washington should monitor the situation closely and stand ready to replicate what works.
  • Overview

    Years of advocacy and collaboration between business, labor, and bipartisan legislators led to the passage of a new transportation package in 2015. Over the next 10 years, 16 billion dollars will be invested in critical maintenance and infrastructure projects. The pressure to make additional investments in state transportation infrastructure will continue for years to come with a projected 26% population growth from 2014 to 2040.

    The health of Washington’s supply chains are threatened by bottlenecks in urban areas where passenger vehicles compete with commercial freight. Congestion and increasing commute times generate more pollution and keep drivers away from their families. Effective transit options take drivers off the road and decrease congestion. Density and mixed zoning increase the return on transit investments. With every 10% decrease in urban sprawl, Americans are 4.1% more likely to climb from the lowest to the highest income quintile.

    Goals

    Challenge Goal
    No less than A-

    Condition of Roads, Bridges, Rail, and Transit

    Under 20 Minutes

    Average Commute Time

    6 million TEUs

    Container Volume for Seattle-Tacoma Alliance Ports

    Current Rank

    C- (bridges),
    C- (rail),
    D+ (roads), &
    D+ (transit)

    39th best
    (25.4 minutes)

    3.5 million TEUs

    Source

    American Society of Civil Engineers

    U.S. Census Bureau

    American Association of Port Authorities

    Why it matters

    People and goods move through the state best when roads are well maintained and have adequate peak-hour capacity. Transit can offer choice and convenience, and can help control congestion and emissions.

    Longer commutes result in lost productivity and added pollution. Extended commutes are often the result of congestion and urban sprawl.

    Puget Sound ports have lost traffic while those in British Columbia are growing rapidly. Heavy trade volumes create high paying jobs and insulates the economy from downturns.

    Condition of Roads, Bridges, Rail, and Transit
    Challenge Goal

    No less than A-

    Current Rank

    C- (bridges),
    C- (rail),
    D+ (roads), &
    D+ (transit)

    Source

    American Society of Civil Engineers

    Why it matters

    People and goods move through the state best when roads are well maintained and have adequate peak-hour capacity. Transit can offer choice and convenience, and can help control congestion and emissions.

    Average Commute Time
    Challenge Goal

    Under 20 Minutes

    Current Rank

    39th best
    (25.4 minutes)

    Source

    U.S. Census Bureau

    Why it matters

    Longer commutes result in lost productivity and added pollution. Extended commutes are often the result of congestion and urban sprawl.

    Container Volume for Seattle-Tacoma Alliance Ports
    Challenge Goal

    6 million TEUs

    Current Rank

    3.5 million TEUs

    Source

    American Association of Port Authorities

    Why it matters

    Puget Sound ports have lost traffic while those in British Columbia are growing rapidly. Heavy trade volumes create high paying jobs and insulates the economy from downturns.

    Strategies

    • Private-Public Collaboration to Design and Fund the Future of Transportation

      Meeting future needs will require rethinking how the state funds and manages its transportation system: roads, freight rail, marine, and transit. Many states have found workable solutions through private-public partnerships. However, the Transportation Innovations Partnerships Act of 2005 has effectively discouraged new financing models within the state. A leveling off of vehicle miles traveled, and better vehicle fuel efficiency threatens the long term viability of the gas tax as the primary funding source for roads. Pay-for-what-you-use approaches to sustainable road funding and encouraging smart usage can be part of the solution.

      The Ports of Seattle and Tacoma are connected to $138.1 billion in economic activity in Washington State—approximately one third of the state’s GDP.  By joining together as the Northwest Seaport Alliance, the ports hope to reverse the loss of West Coast market share to ports in Canada and California. A state-level commitment to the maritime industry on the scale afforded aerospace would boost the long term competitiveness of the port system.

      Recommendations
      1. Expand Private-Public Financing. Share risk and expedite improvements by modifying the Transportation Innovations Partnerships Act to enable dozens of available private-public partnership models. To support freight rail investment, WSDOT has suggested tax credits and property tax reallocations for railroads, special taxing districts, use of lottery proceeds, third-party finance, a sales tax on motor fuels, or a portion of the road usage charge fees now under consideration. In the same way that companies like Uber and Lyft have filled demand for private cars, there is a role for the private sector to meet demand in areas like bus service.
      2. Support Road Pricing Pilot Program. An ongoing state assessment found a viable business case for a road user charge based on a time permit, odometer reading, or GPS system. Washington should implement a pilot program similar to Oregon’s.
      3. Explore New Management Models. Examine an informal proposal from within WSDOT to replace the department with a publicly-regulated private transportation utility. The continued coordination and seamless integration of regional transportation systems must be front and center for transit agencies.
      4. Rebuild Fishing Fleets. The legislature should create a tax exemption program for vessel recapitalization to boost the competitiveness of Washington’s fishing and seafood processing industries.

Developed by Bonsai Media Group

Plan Washington