Jmercier

SJR 8205 (Supermajority for taxes) on life support

March 13, 2013 in Blog

With just hours to go until today's 5 p.m. cutoff in the Legislature, it isn't looking promising for SJR 8205 (Supermajority for taxes) being brought to the floor in the Senate for a vote. The proposed constitutional amendment would implement the policy adopted by the voters on five separate occasions over the past 20 years (since 1993) that tax increases require a 2/3 vote of the Legislature or voter approval.

Sun rising in House Rules Committee?

March 9, 2013 in Blog

Tomorrow (March 10) marks the beginning of National Sunshine Week - a time dedicated to celebrating the importance of the people's right to know and the need for strong open government laws. Judging from rumors in the House Rules Committee, the sun may continue to shine bright on Washington's landmark public records law.

Previous voter-approved amendments adding supermajority requirements to the Constitution

March 6, 2013 in Blog

In the aftermath of last week's State Supreme Court ruling striking down the 20 year-old law requiring a 2/3 vote of the Legislature or voter approval to raise taxes, several of the policy's opponents have been trumpeting that the will of the majority will now be able to stand against the "tyranny of the minority."

Pension reform on Senate floor

March 6, 2013 in Blog

The Senate Rules Committee yesterday moved SB 5851 (Creating a defined contribution retirement plan option for public employees) to the Senate floor for a possible vote before cutoff. The bill would create a new optional defined contribution pension plan for current state workers and for new hires.

Time to add to the nearly two-dozen supermajority requirements currently in the state constitution

March 1, 2013 in Blog

While the vote on the proposed 2/3 for taxes constitutional amendment (SJR 8205) remains in question, should it be approved, the new supermajority requirement would be joining the nearly two dozen currently in the state constitution.

Next steps for the voter approved, but Court tossed 2/3 for taxes requirement

February 28, 2013 in Blog

With today's long awaited ruling by the State Supreme Court striking down the five-time voter approved requirement first enacted in 1993 that tax increases receive a 2/3 vote of the legislature or voter approval, what happens next?

That depends on our lawmakers.

Although in a 6-3 ruling the Court has removed this policy question directly from the voters, it made clear that:

The day legislative Democrats supported a 2/3 for taxes requirement

February 27, 2013 in Blog

Based on the overwhelming support for I-1053 in 2010 and I-1185 in 2012 (both passing with 64%) it is safe to say that Democrats, Republicans and Independent voters across the state support the requirement for tax increases to receive a 2/3 vote or be sent to voters for approval. Despite I-1185 passing in 44 of the state's 49 legislative districts, however, that support does not appear to extend to Democrats in the Legislature (with a few exceptions).

Legislative public notice for bill hearings starts to slip

February 26, 2013 in Blog

Up to this week the Legislature had been doing a decent job of adhering to its rules that require a five-day public notice before a bill is heard in a hearing.

In fact, earlier this year I was quoted in a Senate press release expressing my encouragement:

Tax preference review bill introduced

February 20, 2013 in Blog

A bipartisan bill to ensure tax preferences identify legislative intent and have performance metrics was introduced today by Senators Tom, Billig, Hill, Hobbs and Murray. Here is the intent section for SB 5843:

Tax increases explained by the beer glass full

February 15, 2013 in Blog

While sitting parched in the Senate Ways and Means Committee hearing yesterday on various tax increase bills, I was very enticed, intrigued rather, by the testimony of Steve Gano representing Miller Coors explaining the impact of extending the "temporary" and expiring beer taxes as proposed SB 5039.

Where's the love for jobs?

February 14, 2013 in Blog

No matter where your turn the word from the White House to the Governor to our state lawmakers is jobs, jobs, jobs.

Despite the professed love of entrepreneurs and growing our economy back to respectability, Washingtonians will be provided a glimpse this afternoon of five tax increase proposals that would cost jobs.

Tax increase proposals scheduled for public hearing on Valentine's Day

February 8, 2013 in Blog

The Senate Ways and Means Committee has scheduled public hearings for various tax increase bills on Valentine's Day next week (2/14). If all the bills were adopted, the projected 10-year tax increase would exceed $38 billion.

That's a whole lot of love for taxpayers’ wallets but may not be the love letter Washingtonians were expecting in this tough economic climate.

Here are the 10-year tax increase projections for the bills according to the Office of Financial Management:

Senate considers supermajority for taxes constitutional amendments

February 6, 2013 in Blog

The Senate Government Operations Committee will hold a public hearing tomorrow (2/7) on three proposed constitutional amendments to cement the voters consistent support for requiring a supermajority vote to raise taxes.

Voters in Washington have enacted or affirmed the two-thirds vote requirement for tax increases five times during the past 20 years:

Budget transparency bills introduced

February 5, 2013 in Blog

Two bills were introduced in the House today that would improve the transparency of the state's various budgets (operating, capital and transportation).

HB 1721 proposed by Representatives Pike, Alexander, Wilcox, Harris, Crouse and Overstreet would create a 72-hour timeout before votes could occur on appropriation bills. According to the intent section of HB 1721:

What to do about the state’s B&O tax and various preferences

February 4, 2013 in Blog

The Everett Herald ran our op-ed yesterday calling for a Single Business Tax to eventually replace the current Business and Occupation Tax (B&O). From the op-ed: