On October 6, 2016, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled in the so-called “Hirst” case. The implications of this decision have the potential of eliminating all or nearly all new household or exempt wells in rural Washington.
During the 2017 legislative sessions, press conferences of all four corners (both caucuses in both houses) and the Governor’s office repeatedly told the press there would be a Hirst fix, yet it didn’t get done. BIAW commissioned HR2 Research and Analytics to examine the economic impacts resulting from the Court’s decision. The results from the study reveal a significant impact to rural communities and residents as well as other parts of Washington state:
- $6.9 billion lost in economic activity each year in Washington, predominantly in rural communities
- $452.3 million in lost employee wages due to the impacts of Hirst, annually
- Nearly 9,300 lost jobs (FTEs) in rural Washington, annually
- $392.7 million in lost taxes to state and local governments, annually
- $4.59 billion in losses to the construction industry, annually
- $37 billion in lost property values in areas impacted by Hirst
- $346 million in property taxes shifted to other properties in Washington due to the decision
The HR2 report indicates that the Hirst decision will have exponential and far-reaching impacts in Washington state, with large effects and costs to rural communities.
To read the entire report click here.