Ccargill

Judge strikes controversial initiatives from Spokane ballot

August 30, 2013 in Blog

By Mary Catherine McAleer

 

 

Voters in Spokane won't be seeing two controversial city initiatives on their November ballots.

Spokane Superior Court Judge Maryanne Moreno has ruled the two initiatives were outside the scope of city powers. The ballot measures--pushed by a range of special interest groups—sought to, among other things, amend Spokane’s City Charter to grant inalienable legal rights to the Spokane River’s water and sediment. 

Washington Policy Center loves facts, loathes inaccurate commentary

August 21, 2013 in Blog

In today’s Spokesman-Review in Spokane, liberal columnist Shawn Vestal attacked Washington Policy Center for its recent analysis on Spokane’s Public Safety costs.

Our analysis, released last month and available here, gives citizens an opportunity to review how Spokane’s public safety spending compares to other cities of similar size (Mobile, AL, Stockton, CA and Fort Wayne, IN), and to other Northwest cities (Boise & Portland).

Will proposed Tri-City aquatic center soak taxpayers?

July 15, 2013 in Blog

On a hot summer day what could sound better than a state of the art indoor/outdoor aquatic center and water park to cool off in? How about one that doesn’t require permanent and ongoing taxpayer subsidies, even under the best case financial projections, to stay afloat. 

Unfortunately, the proposal voters are being asked to consider on August 6 would do just that. Kennewick, Pasco and Richland will decide whether to authorize a sales tax increase of 0.1% to build and operate the new water facility.

Do you eat 18 pounds of fish a month? Yes, state bureaucrats insist

July 15, 2013 in Blog

The Washington state Department of Ecology is once-again on the fast track to adopting new fish consumption rates (FCR). And they’re getting an assist from Governor Jay Inslee.

The FCR is the amount of fish the state assumes you eat for the purposes of new regulations and further bureaucratic control. The higher the number, the more stringent the rules.

Yakima voters will have chance to approve WPC recommendation - the two-thirds requirement for tax increases

July 9, 2013 in Blog

This November, voters in Yakima will decide whether to adopt a reasonable taxpayer protection policy at the local level.

Supporters of a ballot measure to require a two-thirds vote of the Yakima City Council for tax increases have submitted the required amount of signatures to place the issue before voters.

State Supreme Court on Two-Thirds for Taxes: Do it like Pierce County, Spokane

March 1, 2013 in Blog

The Washington State Supreme Court on Thursday validated the actions of voters in Pierce County and the city of Spokane, who have recently adopted two-thirds requirements for tax increases locally.

The Tax Sharks Begin To Circle, and Spokane and Pierce County Voters Saw It Coming

February 27, 2013 in Blog

When city of Spokane and Pierce County voters recently approved a supermajority requirement to raise local taxes, supporters contended one of the main reasons was to prevent local tax increases that would be promoted by state officials.

Voters in Spokane want meaningful tax limitation

February 1, 2013 in Blog

Proposition 2 may be a controversial idea to the politicians and special interest groups who want to increase taxes, but it is not a controversial idea to the people of the Spokane area. We have approved the state-level requirement five times already.

Voters have a long history of strongly supporting a higher threshold to increase the financial burden public officials can place on citizens. Perhaps that is why opponents of Proposition 2 are so angry.

The Inlander’s Attack on WPC & Popular Tax Limitation Policy

January 29, 2013 in Blog

A weekly Spokane newspaper apparently thinks taxpayers should just be quiet and let politicians raise taxes as much as they like.

The editor of The Inlander recently wrote an editorial slamming the very idea of Spokane's Proposition 2. The measure would require a two-thirds vote of Spokane’s City Council in order to raise taxes. It’s an important policy change that will require elected officials to work together in an era of increased partisanship.

On Spokane's Prop. 2, understanding taxes vs. fees

January 16, 2013 in Blog

On February 12, Spokane voters will decide whether a taxpayer safeguard voters have already approved at the state level should apply to the city of Spokane.

Proposition 2 would require a majority plus one vote of the city council to raise any taxes.

In a recent Op-Ed piece in the Spokesman-Review, Council President Ben Stuckart and Councilwoman Amber Waldref expressed confusion over the difference between a fee and a tax.

On Spokane's Prop. 2, voters are best served by facts, not attacks

January 14, 2013 in Blog

Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart, and Spokane City Councilwoman Amber Waldref wrote an Opinion-Editorial piece in this weekend’s Spokesman-Review regarding Proposition 2 – the supermajority requirement to raise taxes in Spokane.

We are pleased the Spokesman-Review has also asked Washington Policy Center to write on the same issue. That piece, co-authored by Spokane Mayor David Condon and Spokane City Councilwoman Nancy McLaughlin, will be appearing in the newspaper this coming weekend.

Spokane City Council to vote on taxpayer protection measure Dec. 17th

December 5, 2012 in Blog

The Spokane City Council will decide December 17th whether to follow Pierce County’s lead and place a supermajority requirement to raise taxes before voters.

The charter change would require any new or increased taxes get a majority plus one vote - or five votes total - on the city council to pass.  Currently four “yes” votes are needed for the council to increases taxes on Spokane residents.

Should school construction savings be sent back to taxpayers?

August 23, 2012 in Blog

It’s always good news when projects come in under-budget – especially when they are taxpayer-funded.

In Spokane, the Spokane School District says it’s on track for bond-funded projects to come in $47.9 million below budget. That’s an enormous savings and the school district should be congratulated for making it happen. And taxpayers should be pleased.

The question now becomes what to do with that extra money? Spokane voters approved a $288 million bond in 2009 with the understanding that it would go toward specific projects.

Spokane mayor introduces no-growth budget with impressive accountability and accessibility

August 10, 2012 in Blog

When Spokane Mayor David Condon ran for office last year, he promised he would approach city government differently than his predecessors. If his first budget proposal is any indication, he plans on following through on that promise.

In 2012, the City of Spokane will spend $164.5 million in its General Fund budget. The mayor says the 2013 budget will not exceed that number. Even though it is dealing with a $10 million shortfall, the mayor did not use any money from reserves to make that happen. The mayor is also forgoing an annual increase in property taxes.

Spokane adopts new water rate structure, but misses opportunity

April 26, 2012 in Blog

The Spokane City Council has unanimously passed a plan supported by Mayor David Condon to throw out the city’s five-tier, punishing water structure.

The five-tier structure, put in place in 2010, at its highest level charged 23 times more for the last gallon of water used than for the first. The unfair, unneeded system was adopted by a previous administration and council to not only call attention to conservation, but also to “provide sustainable revenue” and protect the Rathdrum Prairie-Spokane Valley Aquifer.