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MRSC Insight Blog


Posts for Revenues

Where Do Our Sales Taxes Go?

Where Do Our Sales Taxes Go?

April 9, 2018 by Steve Hawley
Category: Revenues

Have you ever wondered exactly where local sales taxes go or why one jurisdiction has higher (or lower) sales taxes than another?  A new tool from MRSC can help provide some answers.

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Increased Marijuana Excise Tax Distributions for Cities and Counties

Increased Marijuana Excise Tax Distributions for Cities and Counties

March 28, 2018 by Toni Nelson
Category: Revenues , Recreational and Medical Marijuana

Cities and counties that allow marijuana businesses will soon be seeing an increase in state shared revenue distributions following passage of the 2018-2019 state supplemental budget. Finance Consultant Toni Nelson addresses the issue. 

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My Can of Coke Costs What?!!!

My Can of Coke Costs What?!!!

March 1, 2018 by Paul Sullivan
Category: Revenues

Since January 1, 2018, Seattle residents and visitors have found that drinking sweetened drinks cost a little bit more. Legal Consultant Paul Sullivan looks at the city's new sweetened beverage tax, one that is projected to raise almost $15 million in 2018. 

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Ballot Measures Part 1: Affordable Housing Taxes, Revenue Measures, and Low Voter Turnout

Ballot Measures Part 1: Affordable Housing Taxes, Revenue Measures, and Low Voter Turnout

November 9, 2017 by Steve Hawley
Category: Revenues , Elections

Senior Communications Coordinator Steve Hawley recaps some of the local funding measures in this year’s general election, including the state’s first affordable housing sales tax, the failure of a voted REET 2 measure, and low turnout causing problems for bonds and levies.

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“Unconfusing” Marijuana Tax Distribution

“Unconfusing” Marijuana Tax Distribution

October 24, 2016 by Jim Doherty
Category: Revenues , Recreational and Medical Marijuana

RCW 69.50.540, the statute that provides the details on marijuana excise tax appropriations and distributions, is confusing. Here’s my attempt to provide a compressed, simplified version of the statute.

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Keeping Up with Inflation: Strategies for Increasing Revenue to Keep Up with Cost Increases

Keeping Up with Inflation: Strategies for Increasing Revenue to Keep Up with Cost Increases

May 31, 2016 by Shawn Hunstock
Category: Revenues , Finance Advisor

One of the strategies cities can use to maximize revenue potential is to ensure they are getting all the revenue they can from their existing revenue sources. For cities in Washington the three largest revenue sources are property tax, sales tax, and utility taxes. For the most part, cities have very little influence on the amount of revenue that is generated from these three sources to cover current and future costs.

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Multimodal Transportation Funds Released To Cities and Counties on April 15

Multimodal Transportation Funds Released To Cities and Counties on April 15

April 14, 2016 by Toni Nelson
Category: Revenues

The initial distribution of this new fund should include the first two quarters of the state biennium that were missed (September 2015 and December 2015) along with the March 2016 distribution.

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Small City Perspective: Is State Shared Revenue a Necessity or Burden?

Small City Perspective: Is State Shared Revenue a Necessity or Burden?

January 15, 2016 by Randy Hinchliffe
Category: Revenues , Finance Advisor

Randy Hinchliffe from the City of Waitsburg provides his perspective on dealing with the lack of local control of state shared revenues.

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Tax Changes for Recreational Services and Athletic/Fitness Facilities

Tax Changes for Recreational Services and Athletic/Fitness Facilities

December 29, 2015 by Toni Nelson
Category: Revenues

Recent legislation has changed the definition of a retail sale and the new change becomes effective on January 1. Here is some guidance on what this change may mean for your 2016 tax report.

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Updated Revenue Forecasts for Motor Vehicle Appropriations and Marijuana Tax Distributions

Updated Revenue Forecasts for Motor Vehicle Appropriations and Marijuana Tax Distributions

October 7, 2015 by Toni Nelson
Category: Revenues

Revised forecasts for some of the state shared revenue funds.

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Are You Calculating Your City Utility Tax Correctly?

Are You Calculating Your City Utility Tax Correctly?

July 10, 2015 by FCS GROUP
Category: Revenues , Finance Advisor

This post was written by Gordon Wilson and Tage Aaker of the FCS Group.

Many Washington cities have a city utility tax or a business & occupation (B&O) tax that applies to utilities within city boundaries. These taxes are usually defined in the city code as a “gross receipts” tax—that is, a percentage of the gros...

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Not to Be Too Alarmist, but, Being a Realist …

Not to Be Too Alarmist, but, Being a Realist …

January 27, 2015 by Jim McEntire
Category: Revenues , Council-Commission Advisor

Aside from locally derived tax revenues, cities and counties with slow-to-no economic growth coupled with higher-than-state-average unemployment can expect scant additional financial help from the State and Federal budgets.

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Block Grants Celebrate the “Big 4-0” and Other Updates from HUD

Block Grants Celebrate the “Big 4-0” and Other Updates from HUD

August 11, 2014 by Lynn Nordby
Category: Revenues , Housing

I recently received an email update from the Northwest Regional Office of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that noted some interesting facts and...

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Important New Court Decision on a City's Utility Tax Authority

May 20, 2014 by Bob Meinig
Category: Revenues

In a decision issued today (5/20/2014), Division III of the state court of appeals decided that a code city has the legal authority to impose its utility tax on the revenues of a public utility district's provision of water service to customers within the city limits, except to the extent that the district's revenues "were derived from governmental activities." The court's decision in

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Are Local Government Revenues Lagging Behind the Economy?

Are Local Government Revenues Lagging Behind the Economy?

June 17, 2013 by Tracy Burrows
Category: Revenues

Using past recessions as a guide, the rule of thumb is that the recovery in local government revenues will lag...

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How May the Revenues from the Sales Tax Authorized for Rural Counties in RCW 82.14.370 Be Used?

May 22, 2013 by Pat Mason
Category: Revenues

RCW 82.14.370 provides "rural" counties the authority to impose an up to 0.09 percent sales and use tax for the purpose of financing "public facilities serving economic development purposes in rural counties and finance personnel in economic development offices." (A "rural county" under this statute is one having a population density of less than 100 persons per square mile or one smaller than...

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Are Donations to Local Governments Tax Deductible?

Are Donations to Local Governments Tax Deductible?

March 27, 2013 by Bob Meinig
Category: Revenues

Local governments may accept donations, but are those donations deductible from the donor’s federal income taxes? In most cases, yes.
A gift to a local government entity is tax deductible if it is solely for “public purposes." The...

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Have You Reviewed Your Excise Tax Worksheets Lately?

August 1, 2012 by FCS GROUP
Category: Revenues , Finance Advisor

Is your utility taking full advantage of the deductions and exemptions specified in the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) and the Washington Administrative Code (WAC)? Given that the tax rules applicable to utilities in the State of Washington are complex and can change over time, it is relatively easy to overpay or underpay taxes – because tax reporting is an annual issue with potentially...

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