News In Brief
June was National Safety Month. With the U.S. recently hit hard by tragedies from hurricanes to mass shootings, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2018's Safest States in America. In order to help families find the most secure places to settle down, WalletHub compared the 50 states across 48 key metrics. The data set ranges from assaults per capita to unemployment rate to total loss amounts from climate disasters per capita.
Safety in Washington (1=Safest; 25=Avg.)
For the full report, please visit:
The Supreme Court is leaving in place a court order that forces Washington state to restore salmon habitat by removing barriers that block fish migration. The justices divided 4-4 Monday in the long-running dispute that pits the state against Indian tribes and the federal government. The tie serves to affirm a lower court ruling in favor of the tribes. Justice Anthony Kennedy stepped aside from the case because he participated in an earlier stage of it when he served on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. At issue is whether Washington state must fix or replace hundreds of culverts. Those are large pipes that allow streams to pass beneath roads but can block migrating salmon if they become clogged or if they're too steep to navigate.
More than six in 10 Americans (61 percent) don't know how much money they'll need to save for retirement, according to a new study from Bankrate.com. Millennials are most likely to be clueless about this (69 percent), but most older Americans - even Baby Boomers (59 percent) - aren't much closer to calculating their retirement budgets. The time to start saving for retirement is as soon as you start working. Contribute to your 401(k) plan at work, and if possible, set up an IRA. Let your money grow tax-free until you retire.
Washington state has ranked among the top 10 states for a summer road trip. WalletHub, a personal finance website, compared the 50 U.S. states based on 31 key metrics to find the most fun, scenic and wallet-friendly road-trip destinations - and the results were released Monday. Washington ended up No. 7 overall - and it was ranked the highest of the Pacific Northwest states (Oregon came in at No. 11 and Idaho was No. 27.) According to the report, the Evergreen State had a terrible ranking in terms of cost - including No. 48 in terms of gas prices - but the state's scenic beauty and cornucopia of activities more than made up for its expense. According to AAA, 64 percent of families traveling this summer plan to take road trips - despite the hassle and expense. The states that ranked ahead of Washington in the WalletHub survey were (1) Wyoming, (2) North Carolina, (3) Minnesota, (4) Texas, (5) Florida, and (6) Louisiana. New York came in at No. 8, Utah was No. 9 and Colorado was No. 10.
A new survey ranks the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue area as having the fourth-strongest economy in the nation. The new report, by Business Insider, ranked the strength of the nation's 40 largest metropolitan areas based on five criteria: unemployment rate, average weekly wage, job growth rate, gross domestic product per capita, and GDP growth rate. The survey then placed those criteria on a common scale and combined them to get a picture of the overall state of each metro area's economy. The study found that some metropolitan areas, such as Seattle, have particularly strong economies. Others, such as Cleveland, Virginia Beach and Providence, are much weaker. According to the report, Seattle's economy has been supercharged by hosting the headquarters of Amazon, even though the online giant has a mixed relationship with the locals of its home city. Seattle's 2016 GDP per capita of $86,889 was the fourth-highest among the 40 largest metro areas, and its third-quarter 2017 average weekly wage of $1,445 was the third-highest in the nation. The Portland-Vancouver area was ranked 13th, with an above-average GDP growth rate of 3 percent. The five metro areas with the strongest economies, in addition to Seattle, were (No. 1) San Jose, Calif.; (2) San Francisco, Calif.; (3) Austin, Texas; and (5) Denver, Colo.
In a win for commercial real estate, the U.S. Supreme Court announced a ruling today that states should be able to require online sellers to collect and remit sales tax on purchases. The National Association of REALTORS® submitted a friend-of-the-court brief in favor of this position, because it helps create an even playing field between brick-and-mortar retailers and online businesses. In the case, South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., the Court ruled that the "physical presence" requirement which previously controlled is out of date in an e-commerce era.NAR's position is that online retailers today have an advantage over brick-and-mortar stores. Brick-and-mortar stores must charge sales tax on purchases while the obligation to collect taxes in online purchases does not fall on the retailer.