Jmercier

Electing the state Supreme Court by districts

November 12, 2014 in Blog

When the 2014 election is certified, only one of the nine justices on the state Supreme Court will be from Eastern Washington, Justice Debra Stephens. Had she not won her election, all of the state's Supreme Court justices would be from the Puget Sound region.

Governor Inslee on McCleary and tax increases: 2012 versus 2014

November 7, 2014 in Blog

At a post election press conference earlier this week Governor Inslee was asked about his 2012 campaign promise not to ask for tax increases and how that squares with his new calls for tax increases to address the McCleary K-12 funding ruling. When asked what changed since 2012 the Governor said on Wednesday:

And the election winner is . . . To be determined

November 3, 2014 in Blog

Voter turnout as of Saturday for the 2014 Election in Washington is a meager 24.4%. This means if we are to get anywhere close to the 62% forecast by the Secretary of State a flood of ballots will be hitting the mail in the next day. This likely means we'll be waiting several days to weeks to learn the winners of close races.

Will public employee pension costs cause your property taxes to increase?

October 30, 2014 in Blog

The House Finance Committee held a work session yesterday focused on the fiscal health of Washington's cities and counties. Among the presentations lawmakers heard was a pitch from the Washington Association of Counties to provide local governments more flexibility on existing tax sources while providing new tax options. One recommendation in particular of note from the Counties:

Updated legislative tax survey results

October 23, 2014 in Blog

Earlier this month we published the results of our legislative tax survey that asked legislators and candidates the following question:

Survey question to lawmakers and candidates: Would you vote to allow the people of Washington to have the opportunity to vote on a state constitution amendment to require a supermajority vote in the Legislature to raise taxes?

100 lawmakers and candidates respond to tax survey

October 14, 2014 in Blog

Curious to know if those that hope to represent you in the Legislature next year believe you have the right to settle the twenty year debate about whether tax increases should receive a supermajority vote or voter approval?

Harris v. Quinn lives in Washington

October 7, 2014 in Blog

It took a few months but we now know the U.S. Supreme Court's June 30 ruling in Harris v. Quinn will be implemented in Washington State. According to the tentative 2015-17 contract agreement between the state and SEIU 775 (Article 4):

State Supreme Court gives green light to retroactive tax increases

October 2, 2014 in Blog

It looks like the State Supreme Court is giving the Legislature a new tool to address its McCleary contempt order: retroactive tax increases. A unanimous Court ruling today said it was not unconstitutional when the Legislature approved a retroactive change to the state's death tax in 2013.

Will the state Supreme Court Jump the Shark?

September 11, 2014 in Blog

Responding to today's unanimous contempt order against the Legislature by the State Supreme Court Governor Inslee said: "This unprecedented action by the Supreme Court is a critical moment in our history."

Everything about this statement is true. Not only is the Court's contempt order against a co-equal branch of government unprecedented but what may come next could lead to a doomsday scenario against voters.

Governor Inslee opposed to new taxes on internet access

August 21, 2014 in Blog

What seemed almost impossible a few months ago is becoming more probable with each passing day; taxes being charged for internet access. The return of taxes on internet access may occur due to the failure of Congress to either extend temporarily or permanently the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA). The current ban on internet access taxes expires on November 1.

Does Harris v. Quinn apply to individual providers in Washington?

August 20, 2014 in Blog

That was the question I was hoping to answer today but after reviewing the state's August 20th response to the Centeno v. Dept. of Social & Health Services lawsuit in federal court the elusive answer will have to wait.

While requesting that case "be dismissed with prejudice" one section of the state's brief today said:

State dodges new pension bullet

August 14, 2014 in Blog

A unanimous Supreme Court today gave budget writers much needed good news when Justices rejected two union initiated pension lawsuits that could have added an additional $1.3 billion in new costs for the 2015-17 budget (state and local).

Writing perhaps the sweetest words lawmakers have heard recently from the Court, Justices said:

Attorney General declines Senator’s request for Harris v. Quinn impact opinion

August 13, 2014 in Blog

Last week I highlighted a letter from Sen. Braun to the Attorney General requesting an informal opinion in response to the June 30 U.S. Supreme Court ruling Harris v. Quinn, which called into question the forced unionization of some Washington residents. The Senator asked these three questions:

Senator requests opinion from Attorney General on Harris v. Quinn impact in Washington

August 7, 2014 in Blog

On June 30, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in Harris v. Quinn calling into question the forced unionization of some Washington residents.