I hate to be the bearer of bad news but there is no balanced budget requirement in Washington state. The governor is required to propose a balanced budget (RCW 43.88.030) and if at any time a cash deficit is projected the governor is required to immediately implement across the board cuts (RCW 43.88.110), but the legislature is not required to adopt a balanced budget.
That's what a visibly irritated Governor Gregoire said during a March 15 press conference:
According to the Office of Financial Management, however, that figure was based on the Governor’s November budget being implemented as proposed. With changes in caseloads, the revenue forecast and actions taken in December the savings lost figure isn’t that high but there is a cost with each day’s delay without a budget.
Lawmakers in the House this week helped put to doubt the claim that "title only" bills are indispensable to the legislative process. We've been told that lawmakers have to use "title only" bills (a.k.a. blank bills) due to the restriction in Article 2, Section 36 of the state Constitution on introduction of new bills with less than 10 days to go in session unless two-thirds of lawmakers vote to hear the bill.
Lost in the excitement of Friday's Senate budget debate was a House Ways & Means hearing at 9 a.m. on Saturday (scheduled on Friday night). At that hearing the House Ways and Means committee adopted several bills including HB 2762 to require all tax exemptions to sunset. Among the amendments adopted in committee was adding a referendum clause to the bill.
Today is the last day under Article 2, Section 36 of the state Constitution for new bills to be introduced unless two-thirds of lawmakers vote to hear the bill. To circumvent this constitutional restriction on new bills being introduced with less than 10 days to go in session, several title only bills were dropped today including three that relate to increasing taxes.
Here are the "details" on today's title only bills (this is the complete text of the bills):