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April 2020

News In Brief

April 6, 2020

  • Seattle ranked as one of the most educated cities across the country, according to a new study printed on seattlepi.com. The study, conducted by AdvisorSmith, found Seattle took the seventh spot on the list of the most educated large cities in the country, defined as places that had a population of 500,000 or more. According to the study, 43.6% of people in Seattle ages 25 and older had a bachelor's degree and 16.8% had graduate degrees. Nationally, 35% of people had bachelor's degrees and 13.1% had graduate degrees, according to the study. The city that topped the list of the most educated large cities was Washington, D.C., which was followed by San Jose, California and Boston. Among all-sized cities, Seattle ranked 27th among the most educated. The city that topped the list of most educated cities of all sizes was Boulder, Colorado, a medium-sized city. The study found 62.5% of people in the Boulder metro area had a bachelor's degree or higher. Boulder was followed by Lawrence, Kansas, Ann Arbor, Michigan and Ithaca, New York -- cities that were small to medium-sized and all had high percentages of people who had obtained a bachelor's degree or higher. The study used data from the U.S. Census Bureau of people ages 25 and older. It looked at 511 metro areas and looked at the education people had received, from the percentage who had received high school diplomas, to those who had received graduate degrees.


  • The Global Traffic Scorecard from Kirkland-based transportation analytics company INRIX analyzed mobility trends in over 900 cities around the world and ranked Seattle as the 14th most congested city in the United States. The study found that the average Seattle driver spent 74 hours driving in congested areas in 2019, equating to the cost of $1,095 per driver. The analysis also included a map visualization of Seattle's day-to-day traffic trends which ultimately suggested that congestion in the city's center peaks around 8 a.m. Nearby Everett ranked much lower on the list as the 105th most congested city in the country, Spokane followed as the 113th and Olympia ranked 149th. Drivers in all three Washington cities spent less than 15 hours in congestion. The most congested American city was Boston. The most congested city on the West Coast was Los Angeles, where drivers spent a total of 103 hours in congested areas. Portland was ranked ahead of Seattle as the 8th most congested city in the US. While not all US cities were analyzed, the report found that Americans lost an average of 99 hours a year due to congestion. That equals $88 billion lost nationwide, or approximately $1,377 per person in 2019 alone.


  • King County postpones payment deadline to June 1 for individual property taxpayers. Individual residential and commercial taxpayers who pay property taxes themselves, rather than through their mortgage lender, can delay payment until June 1, 2020 due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak. Banks and other financial institutions that pay property taxes on behalf of their lending customers will still need to meet the original April 30 deadline.


  • The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear a challenge to Seattle's first-in-the-nation "democracy voucher" program for public financing of political campaigns. The high court issued its denial Monday in a challenge brought by two local property owners who said the program forces them - through their tax dollars - to support candidates they don't like. Seattle voters decided in 2015 to tax themselves $3 million a year; in exchange, each receives four $25 vouchers that they can donate to participating candidates in city elections. The Washington state Supreme Court has already unanimously upheld the program.


  • The U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service says Washington's statewide snowpack was 104% of normal on March 30. It was only at 47% on Dec. 27 and 80% a year ago. But Natural Resources Conservation Service state water supply specialist Scott Pattee says twice the normal amount of snowfall in January turned things around and enough snow continued in February and March to maintain a slightly above normal snowpack. The Capital Press reports irrigation water has begun flowing at lower Yakima Valley farms, and there should be plenty through the growing season because of the snowpack in the Cascade Range.