Jmercier

Collective bargaining reform receives attention in special session

April 29, 2015 in Blog

Today marks day one of the "special" session and public hearings are already scheduled. Among the bills up for consideration today is SB 6098: Defining financial feasibility for collective bargaining agreements. According to the bill report:

Is a capital gains tax an excise or income tax?

April 22, 2015 in Blog

With discussions continuing of imposing the first in the nation capital gains tax for a state without an income tax, questions have been raised about whether this would be an excise tax or an income tax. This distinction is very important since an income tax exceeding 1% would be unconstitutional in Washington.

Statement from Brian Sonntag on importance of public trust in State Auditor

April 21, 2015 in Blog

Brian Sonntag, former 20 year State Auditor and current Washington Policy Center Board member, issued this statement today on the importance of public trust in State Auditor:

Is 2002 state collective bargaining law constitutional?

April 9, 2015 in Blog

On the eve of budget negotiations, Governor Inslee's budget office (Office of Financial Management) sent lawmakers a letter expressing concern with several provisions of their budgets. Among the concerns expressed:

Whether to raise taxes to fund state employee contracts sticking point in budget debate

April 7, 2015 in Blog

Now that the House and Senate have approved their versions of the 2015-17 budget, legislative budget negotiators will be hard at work trying to come to an agreement before the end of session on April 26.

Quick review of House and Senate budgets

April 1, 2015 in Blog

The budget cards are now on the table. Now we'll see if House and Senate budget negotiators can find a winning hand to get out of Olympia with a budget agreement by April 26. We're still reviewing the details of the proposals but here are a couple of first impressions.

Citizens to have unprecedented time to review House budget before public hearing

March 27, 2015 in Blog

Today was going to be like just any other budget rollout day in Olympia. A short press conference highlighting a summary of a budget proposal running hundreds of pages long and spending billions of dollars (not to mention potential new tax increases being proposed). Then just a few hours later Washingtonians were to be expected to have read, digested, and traveled to Olympia to offer public testimony on the proposed spending plan for their tax dollars.

80 plus years is long enough for a "temporary/emergency" tax

March 23, 2015 in Blog

On March 13 the House Finance Committee held a public hearing on HB 2150: Reforming the business and occupation tax to provide fairness and administrative simplicity. This proposal is a variation of the Single Business Tax reform that Washington Policy Center first proposed in a 2010 study.

"Choose Washington" - no capital gains taxes

March 3, 2015 in Blog

To help market the state of Washington to potential businesses the Department of Commerce runs a website called "Choose Washington." Under the tab "Why Washington" you can select "Our Strengths." Under that tab you will find a page called "Pro-Business."

Will the Senate vote to enforce its rules?

March 3, 2015 in Blog

On the first day of session the Senate, using the powers granted to it by Article 2, Section 9 of the state Constitution, adopted rules to govern its proceedings. Among the rules adopted was Rule 64 to require a supermajority vote to move a bill creating a new tax from second to third reading.

Should volatile capital gains taxes be relied on to fund the state's "paramount duty"?

February 26, 2015 in Blog

In our prior blog post we looked at the volatility of capital gains taxes and how California adopted a constitutional amendment to force more savings of its revenue from that source versus spending it to reduce the state's rollercoaster budgeting.

Are capital gains taxes "secure and stable" or highly volatile?

February 25, 2015 in Blog

When releasing his 2015-17 budget plan Governor Inslee said, “We have a very solid, fiscally sound, secure and stable way of financing everything I’ve talked about today." Among the new taxes he proposes to fulfill this statement is a 7% capital gains tax to generate an estimated $798 million.

B&O tax reform bill would exempt nearly 286,000 small businesses from tax

February 18, 2015 in Blog

A major B&O (Business & Occupation) tax reform proposal was introduced today by Rep. MacEwen. The proposal (HB 2150) is a variation of the Single Business Tax WPC first proposed in 2010.

Title only bill would provide every Washingtonian one free drink a week (satire)

February 12, 2015 in Blog

While traveling to Olympia to testify on a bill on a holiday may not be a high priority for most Washingtonians, you may want to make an exception for next Monday. The title only bill, HB 2082 (Relating to commerce in liquor) is scheduled for a public hearing and executive action that day. Based on my best interpretation of that blank piece of legislation, it would provide every Washingtonian one free drink a week paid for by the per diem of lawmakers. Who could object to that?