Jmercier

While you were sleeping - Senate passes/Inslee signs retroactive death tax increase

June 14, 2013 in Blog

Beating a Friday morning deadline to keep the Department of Revenue from issuing court ordered refunds, the Legislature yesterday approved HB 2075 - a retroactive change to the state's death tax. The new law undoes a unanimous State Supreme Court ruling which required death tax refunds to certain estates. 

Tax increases for compensation enhancements?

June 13, 2013 in Blog

Though various reform bills proposed by the Senate have been pointed to by state Democrats and Governor Inslee as holding up a budget deal, the real sticking point continues to be whether to increase taxes despite the fact state revenues are currently projected to increase by $2 billion for the 2013-15 biennium (and may increase more at next week's Revenue Forecast).

Olympia's Retroactive Tax "Twilight Zone"

June 11, 2013 in Blog

Today is the last day of the 1st Special Session for lawmakers to finish work on the 2013-15 budget. So where do we stand? Here are the thoughts of House Majority Leader Rep. Sullivan (D) as quoted in The Olympian:

“We are still pretty far apart,” Sullivan said, noting that Gov. Jay Inslee had said last month that the chambers were light years apart. “I would say we are still somewhere out in space.’’

New budget due on June 1 under state law

May 16, 2013 in Blog

With it being all quiet on the Western Legislative Front, there is one date to keep in mind concerning the ongoing state budget negotiations: June 1.

While there are rumors that lawmakers may wait for the June 18 Revenue Forecast to see if the recent improvement in state economic activity can help bridge the budget divide, state law may make waiting that long a bit tricky.

According to RCW 43.88.080 (emphasis added): 

Senators may meet via teleconference during special session; remote testimony options for citizens next?

May 15, 2013 in Blog

While there isn't much news coming out of Olympia since the Special Session started on Monday there is one development that could hold huge implications for citizens going forward. At a media availability on Monday Senate Republican Leader Sen. Schoesler said that Senators may meet via teleconference to help keep cost down for members living out of the area.

Here is video of Sen. Schoesler's comments:

Don't forget to include the public in the "sanctity" of budget negotiations

May 14, 2013 in Blog

A few lawmakers kicked off the first 30-day Special Session yesterday to finish work on the 2013-15 operating budget. At a press conference Governor Inslee said some progress had been made concerning the assumptions in the various budgets but that he was not in a position to disclose those assumptions needing to keep the "sanctity" of close-door budget negations intact.

Here is video of Governor Inslee's comments:

State Auditor releases financial management performance audit

May 8, 2013 in Blog

Prior to leaving office State Auditor Brian Sonntag sent a letter to then Governor-elect Inslee encouraging him to focus on reforms to the state's antiquated financial management system. Today State Auditor Troy Kelley released a performance audit which found:

House shows title only bills unnecessary

April 26, 2013 in Blog

The House is about to demonstrate that resorting to title only bills is unnecessary. Two bills that were introduced within the last 10 days of session were just added to the floor calendar (HB 2056 and HB 2058).

Targeted budget special session or another regular session?

April 24, 2013 in Blog

With just four days to go in the 2013 Regular Session, lawmakers and the Governor are discussing the framework for the inevitable specials session(s). One difference this year from previous special sessions may be how tightly focused state officials' efforts and attention are.

Tax preference review bill on House agenda tomorrow

April 18, 2013 in Blog

Not to be lost on tomorrow's House Finance Committee agenda is SB 5843 (tax preference review). The Senate version of the bill was unanimously approved back on March 7. After the Senate approved the bill WPC encouraged the House to consider also:

Public gets chance to weigh in on House tax increase package tomorrow

April 18, 2013 in Blog

Though we have serious concerns about the impact of the House Democrat's $1.3 billion tax increase proposal on the state's economy and jobs (nearly 10,000 private sector jobs could be lost), at least the public will actually have a chance to weigh in on the proposal.

Senate considers revenue forecast reform

April 18, 2013 in Blog

With a special session all but guaranteed for the Legislature to finish its work on the 2013-15 budget, a simple bill being considered by the Senate Ways and Means Committee today could have a fundamental impact on future budget debates.

Introduced on Monday and heard for a public hearing on Tuesday, SB 5910 would move up the state's March revenue forecast to February in long sessions. The bill is scheduled for executive action in the Senate today. 

Budget negotiations begin in earnest

April 16, 2013 in Blog

Last Friday the House approved its 2013-15 state operating budget proposal on a party-line 54-43 vote. The only lawmaker to cross-party lines was Rep. Stonier (D) who voted against the budget saying:

Olympian calls for more legislative transparency

April 16, 2013 in Blog

Looks like editors at The Olympian decided to declare April 16 as "Legislative Transparency Day." The capital city newspaper ran two editorials today highlighting our recommendations to improve the public's access to the legislative process.