Jmercier

JLARC releases guidance for drafting tax preference performance statements

January 3, 2014 in Blog

Last year the Legislature passed a requirement for bills creating or expanding tax preferences to include a performance statement to identify the expected outcome for the policy change. We were very happy to work with Rep. Carlyle, Chair of the House Finance Committee, on this concept.

The most important vote of 2014 - Boeing 777X contract

January 2, 2014 in Blog

Although 2014 is a general election year with control of the Legislature up for grabs and still unknown ballot measures yet to qualify, perhaps the most important vote of the year will be tomorrow on Boeing's 777X contract offer. Not only does this union vote have the potential to impact tens of thousands of jobs, but it could dramatically change the state's fiscal outlook, not to mention its economic psyche.

House Finance Committee discusses B&O reform

December 11, 2013 in Blog

The House Finance Committee continued its important interim work discussing the state's tax structure by holding a work session yesterday on ways to reform the B&O tax. Earlier this year the Committee discussed what the principles of the state's tax system should be.

2014 supplemental budget will need to keep state spending limit in mind

November 26, 2013 in Blog

After going through multiple special sessions to adopt the state's 2013-15 budget, the last thing lawmakers will want to do is fight about a 2014 supplemental budget. State agencies, however, have already submitted their 2014 supplemental budget wish list requesting a combined increase in spending of $895 million and 806 new FTEs.

No more ludicrous speed lawmaking

November 9, 2013 in Blog

Now that lawmakers have saved the state's Boeing "destiny for a generation" (pending a Wednesday vote by Boeing unions), let's hope we can get them to commit to abandoning future "ludicrous speed" lawmaking.

Tax exemptions, transparency, and a hotel bill

November 6, 2013 in Blog

I was supposed to be on the road to Olympia this morning for a Thursday House Finance Work Session to discuss tax exemptions and WPC's recommendation to eliminate targeted tax exemptions and instead replace the B&O tax with a revenue neutral single business tax.

Look for election results tonight, tomorrow, and in the weeks to come

November 5, 2013 in Blog

For most election races we will probably know the outcome sometime tonight. For those close races, however, it will take a few more days and perhaps weeks to know the victors. That is because that although Washington is all vote by mail, ballots aren't due on Election Day but simply need to be postmarked.

For our neighbors in Oregon, however, their ballots are actually due on Election Day. How is that process working for Oregon? Here is what I was told last year by Brenda Bayes, Elections Deputy Director for Oregon:

I-517: Win or lose, lawmakers should consider next steps

November 4, 2013 in Blog

Tomorrow Washingtonians will head to the drop box or mailbox and turn in their ballots passing judgment on I-517 and the changes proposed to the state's initiative system. Depending on the outcome lawmakers will be faced with a couple of options.

State Supreme Court considers $1.3 billion pension case

October 21, 2013 in Blog

The State Supreme Court will hear a pension case this Thursday at 9 a.m. brought by various unions that could cost taxpayers an additional $1.3 billion at the state and local level during the 2015-17 biennium and billions more in the future. At issue is whether lawmakers had the legal right to make changes to what they thought were conditional pension benefit increases.

State Supreme Court grants prior Governor's office request for shroud of secrecy

October 17, 2013 in Blog

Channeling former President Nixon, the state Supreme Court today showed Washington State isn't that different from Washington D.C. after all by granting the Governor's office the claim of executive privilege to deny citizens access to public records.

Editorial boards pan I-517 and I-522

October 15, 2013 in Blog

Are the state's editorial boards reflective of the general voting public? We'll know after the votes are counted on Initiative 517 and Initiative 522. Based on the near consensus of the editorials to date, supporters of the proposals may be feeling a bit nervous. Here's a roundup:

Seattle Times

Principles of a good tax system

October 8, 2013 in Blog

The House Finance Committee held a work session yesterday reviewing the state's tax structure and how it compares nationally. I had the opportunity to present on the principles of a good tax system

I encouraged the committee to focus its tax reform efforts around the following fundamental building blocks of a good tax structure:

Revenue forecast helps grow budget reserves

September 19, 2013 in Blog

While those following the state's monthly revenue receipts expected state revenue collections to continue to grow, the amount of yesterday's increase was a bit of a surprise.

According to the state's economist, Dr. Steve Lerch, revenues are now projected to grow by another $345 million for the current budget and $342 million for the 2015-17 budget:

Coalition requests performance audit of I-937

September 17, 2013 in Blog

A coalition of lawmakers and business groups sent State Auditor Troy Kelley a letter yesterday requesting a performance audit of I-937 (Energy Independence Act).

From the letter:

Dear State Auditor Troy Kelley,