Spin Control

Retail sales up in Washington

OLYMPIA – Retail sales in Washington jumped 8 percent in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period in 2012, hitting about $26 billion for all taxable sales, the state Department of Revenue reported Monday.

 

Double-digit growth in taxable sales for construction, building materials, and cars led improved sales for the state’s industries and retail sectors. Spokane County had taxable retail sales of $1.7 billion, up 6.6 percent from the first quarter of 2012, and the City of Spokane had taxable retail sales of $917 million, up 7.4 percent.

 

In other economic news for the state, Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Group both upgraded Washington’s credit outlook to Stable, up from Negative, based on improving economic conditions and strong financial management. The revisions will help generate investor interest in upcoming bond sales, State Treasurer Jim McIntire said. . .

 

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Are the two related? To a certain extent.

Standard & Poor, which earlier continued its stable credit rating for Washington said the state's sales-tax based revenue system is less sensitive to economic cycles than a system that relies primarily on income taxes, Jason Mercier of the Washington Policy Center notes.

But S&P also cited the state's relative well-educated workforce, strong financial policies and practices and well-funded pension plans. McIntire said Fitch also cited the state's economic and revenue performance and passage of a biennial budget with adequate reserves. Fitch also said the state's tax system makes it "particularly vulnerable to reductions in consumer spending."




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Jim Camden
Jim Camden is the Legislative and state government reporter, political columnist and blogger for Spin Control.

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