News In Brief
- Washington state is one of the nation's best for wellness, according to a new study from lifeextension.com. The wellness company used 11 metrics across three main categories in all 50 states and the District of Columbia: physical and mental health, access to national parks and nature, interest in integrative health practices. The Evergreen state ranked No. 4 in the country. California claimed the top slot, followed by Arizona and Florida. Hawaii, Utah, Alaska, Wyoming, DC and New Jersey rounded out the top 10, respectively. Alabama ranked last on the list. Click here for the full report.
- New data from Carfax shows Washington state has more than 1 million vehicles on the road with an open recall, ranking 15th in the nation with the most recalls. Seattle ranks 13th among cities in the nation when it comes to the number of vehicles on the road with an open recall, with over 740,000 cars impacted. Carfax says sedans are more likely to be impacted than SUVs. Some of the problems include engine failure, failing windshield wipers and airbags that deploy when they're not intended to. Recalls are given when the car has several safety issues, ranging from airbag failure and engine fires to smaller problems like tail-light bugs. Experts say finding out about the issues could be the difference between life and death. Carfax says remedying recalls is just a matter of taking it into the dealership, and most repairs are typically free. To check for open recalls, Carfax has an online tool that makes it easy. You just need your vehicle identification number.
- The Washington Supreme Court has agreed to review a decision by a lower court that overturned a new capital gains tax on high-profit stocks, bonds and other assets. Attorney General Bob Ferguson appealed the March ruling directly to the state Supreme Court, and the court's order means the case will be decided by the high court instead of first going to the Court of Appeals. A date for oral arguments has not yet been set. The measure - approved by the Washington Legislature last year - imposed a 7% tax on the sale of stocks, bonds, and other high-end assets in excess of $250,000 for both individuals and couples. It was projected to bring in $415 million in 2023, the first year the state would see money from the tax. In his written decision issued in March, Douglas County Superior Court Judge Brian Huber agreed with opponents of the new tax who had argued it was a tax on income that violates previous state Supreme Court rulings and the state constitution because it is not a uniform taxation on property. Supporters had argued that the tax is an excise tax, and thus, constitutional.
- Roughly 44 million American households rent rather than own, according to WalletHub, which released a new report ranking the best and worst cities in which to rent in the country. Seattle was found to be the 48th-best city to rent in America, according to the report, which used 22 "key measures of rental attractiveness and quality of life" ranging from rental rates to cost of living and job availability. Columbia, Md. ranked No. 1 on the list. Vancouver, Wash. ranked 175th, the eighth-worst on the list. Spokane ranked 120th, Portland took home the No. 126 slot and Tacoma placed No. 149. Click here for the full report from WalletHub.
- Two voting change options will be on the November ballot after the Seattle City Council approved an alternative to a signature-driven effort - and either would change the city's primary election process. In a special meeting last month, the council OK'd asking voters to consider ranked-choice voting alongside approval voting, The Seattle Times reported.
Voters currently choose one candidate in a primary election and the top two proceed to the general election. The move away from more traditional voting has gained momentum across the country as advocates seek more equitable elections. Approval voting will be on the ballot as Initiative 134 after a successful petition effort. That measure allows voters to vote for multiple candidates without ranking, meaning each selection is weighted equally. Under ranked choice, voters rank candidates by preference. If no candidate gets a majority of first-choice votes, subsequent rankings are considered until a majority is reached. Ranked choice is used in dozens of cities and states, including New York City, San Francisco and Oakland, California. Approval voting is only used in a few locations, like St. Louis and Fargo, North Dakota.
- In a ranking that no one saw coming, Seattle has been named one of the best cities in the nation for singles, according to a recent report from Zillow. The Emerald City came in at #8 on the list, which compared cities on singles in the area, available rental listings and rental affordability. Seattle has the second-most-expensive market out of the cities in the top 10 list but also claimed the second-highest median income for singles. Check out the full ranking for yourself online.
- The Seattle/Bellevue/Tacoma area is one of the most educated in the country, according to a new report from WalletHub. The personal-finance website ranked the most educated cities in America using 11 key metrics, including share of adults 25 and older with a bachelor's degree or higher, quality of the public-school system and gender education gap. WalletHub ranked Seattle/Bellevue/Tacoma ninth in the nation. The Puget Sound region ranked eighth in percentage of associate's degree holders or college-experienced adults. Ann Arbor, Mich., San Jose, the District of Columbia, Madison, Wis., San Francisco/Oakland, Boston and Durham/Chapel Hill, NC, ranked Nos. 1-8, respectively. Visalia, Calif., ranked last at No. 150. Click here for the full report.
- Washington state ranked No. 1 in the country for UFO sightings, according to new research from journoresearch.org. The Evergreen state took home the top spot with 88.03 sightings per 100,000 residents, beating out Vermont (87.98), Montana (86.21), Alaska (83.94), Maine (81.55), New Hampshire (80.13), Oregon (79.04), New Mexico (73.96), Idaho (67.13) and Wyoming (66.86). California had to the most sightings in total at 15,280, which only amounts to 38.94 per 100,000 residents. According to the website, July is the best month to spot a UFO, with 603 reports filed on average.
- According to a study from WalletHub, Washington state ranks No. 2 in the country for best states for teen drivers, falling only to New York. The personal-finance website used 23 key metrics, including the number of fatalities, average cost of car repairs and presence of impaired-driving laws. Washington state ranked No. 2 for driving laws, No. 9 for safety and No. 35 for economic environment. Oregon placed fifth on the list. North Dakota, South Dakota, Missouri, Wyoming and Montana ranked Nos. 46-50, respectively. Click here for the full study from WalletHub.
- The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce will not continue to pursue a lawsuit against the city's JumpStart tax initiative, after two years of opposing the payroll tax. A lawsuit filed by the chamber in 2020 argued that the tax - which requires high-earning companies to pay an annual tax on salaries over $150,000 - argued that the tax was unfairly and illegally placed on people earning a living wage. After a King County court dismissed the suit in 2021, the chamber appealed to an appellate court, which in June deemed it was an "appropriate" use of the city's taxing authority. In a letter to members on Monday, president and CEO Rachel Smith said that the chamber will drop the case after discussions with legal counsel, members and the chamber's executive board. The tax, passed by the Seattle City Council in 2020, requires businesses with at least $7 million in annual payroll to pay between 0.7% and 2.4% on salaries and wages paid to Seattle employees who make at least $150,000 per year. The highest rate is applied only to salaries of at least $400,000 at companies with at least $1 billion in annual payroll. In 2021, JumpStart brought the city $231 million in revenue, exceeding the city's $200 million estimate.
- At the beginning of 2022, Americans owed more than $1 trillion in credit card debt, according to WalletHub. So, how does Washington state stack up within the country? WalletHub released a new report ranking all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and Washington state ranked No. 3 in the country with a median credit card debt of $2,471. Only Alaska ($3,206) and DC ($2,788) ranked higher than Washington on the personal finance website's list. Oregon ($2,208) claimed No. 6 on the list. Mississippi boasted the least credit card debt, with a median debt of $1,806. According to WalletHub, the median time until payoff for Washingtonians is 14 months, 21 days. Click here for the full report from WalletHub.
- According to Elliot Eisenberg (the Bowtie Economist on Elliot's Brief Blog), investor home purchases peaked at 27.6% of sales in 22Q1, up from 24.8% in 21Q4 and 19.2% in 21Q1, the first quarter of elevated investor purchases. In 2019, investor purchases averaged 16%/quarter. Numerically, investor purchases rose from 200,000/quarter in 2019, peaked at 416,000 in 21Q3, then eased to 321,000 in 22Q1, as overall sales declined. Startlingly, non-investor purchases declined 33% between 21Q2 and 22Q1, all sales fell 29%.