With approval of I-1366, is Washington (once again) on the path to becoming the 18th state in the country with a supermajority for taxes restriction? Currently 17 states have some form of tax increase restriction. Among them is Colorado which has the strictest one requiring voter approval of all tax increases at the state and local level.
Earlier this month the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association awarded Governor Inslee with its Walter C. Woodward Freedom’s Light Award. This award recognizes commitment to open government and freedom of the press.
According to Rowland Thompson, executive director of Allied Daily Newspapers:
This is the most open administration I’ve ever worked with. The governor is extremely transparent about the realities of governing.
How important are five votes out of seven million Washingtonians? The vote of just five state Supreme Court Justices could be the difference between Washington maintaining its competitive advantage of not imposing state income taxes and the eight decade old dam of legal precedent preventing these types of taxes being torn down.
After several recent controversial decisions by the state Supreme Court the Seattle Times this weekend took a closer look at the electoral competition, or rather lack thereof, for the Justices. According to the Times:
Elections for the high-court seats have grown less competitive in recent years — with spending dominated more by liberal groups.
Overshadowed by last week's shocking and controversial charter school decision by the Supreme Court is another important ruling by the court to allow the public to vote on Initiative 1366 ("Taxpayer Protection Act"). On September 4, 2015, the Supreme Court issued a brief order unanimously allowing Initiative 1366 to appear on the 2015 general election ballot.
In a 9-0 decision this morning the state Supreme Court ruled that the text messages of government employees that relate to official business, even on their private phone, are public records. From the ruling:
Now that the 2015-17 state budget has been signed into law the public is able to request details from last summer's secret contract negotiations between state employee unions and Governor Inslee's office. I just received the first batch of public records (more to come in October) with some of these details.
Last month we posed this question: Is Initiative 1366 a constitutional amendment? The answer to this question will determine whether voters will have the opportunity to pass their own judgement on the policies proposed by the ballot measure.
Yesterday the State Supreme Court in a 9-0 ruling took the unprecedented step of fining the state (i.e. taxpayers) for the Legislature's failure to adopt a detailed plan showing how lawmakers plan to meet certain K-12 funding goals by 2018.
Jason Mercier is the Director of the Center for Government Reform at Washington Policy Center and is based in the Tri-Cities. He serves on the boards of the Washington Coalition for Open Government and CandidateVerification, and was an advisor to the 2002 Washington State Tax Structure Committee. Jason is an ex-officio for the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce. In June 2010, former Governor Gregoire appointed Jason as WPC’s representative on her Fiscal Responsibility and Reform Panel.