Jmercier

Polls point to weeks of waiting for election results

October 24, 2012 in Blog

Thankfully for the sanity of Americans across the country, Washington isn't a battle ground state for the Presidency that could determine the outcome of the Electoral College. One can only imagine the conspiracy theories and wall to wall coverage of TV talking heads exploding as vote results from Washington trickled in little by little, first days and then weeks after Election Day as the country anxiously waits to learn who the next President would be.

Gregoire kicks off state LEAN conference

October 23, 2012 in Blog

Governor Gregoire this morning opened a 2-day state conference on LEAN and the impact this tool is having in Washington. The Governor spoke to an overflow crowd of state employees (I was among those standing in the back) imploring them to help Washington cement LEAN in state practice.

2/3 for taxes more popular than Obama in Washington

October 18, 2012 in Blog

Based on the results of a KCTS 9 Washington Poll, there is a force in Washington state more popular than the President is - a supermajority vote requirement for tax increases. According to the Poll:

  • I-1185: Yes - 54.1%; No 30.9%
  • President: Obama - 51.9%; Romney - 42.9%
  • Obama Favorability: 53.7%

In fact, I-1185 polls the highest of any of the other ballot measures:

Gregoire on tax increases circa 2008

October 16, 2012 in Blog

It is very likely that the subject of tax increases will come up at tonight's gubernatorial debate. Both candidates have strongly stated they do not support tax increases though they've come down on opposite sides of the state's 20 year old law requiring a supermajority vote for tax increases.

Updated legislative tax survey results

October 8, 2012 in Blog

Last month the Washington Policy Center published the results of our legislative tax survey that asked legislators and candidates (including gubernatorial) the following question:

If Initiative 1185 is adopted, 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?

Did Colorado voters run away from tax restriction requirement?

October 4, 2012 in Blog

Perhaps by virtue of its inclusion in the 2012 Voters' Guide the following claim is making the rounds to argue against Initiative 1185:

"Measures like 1185 may sound like a way to protect taxpayers, but Colorado passed a similar measure with disastrous results. It cut off funding for schools, roads, and immunizations for kids, and caused so many problems that Colorado’s Republican Governor proposed a measure to suspend it, which voters passed."

Bellevue Chamber of Commerce endorses I-1185

October 2, 2012 in Blog

The endorsements for Initiative 1185 continue to roll in with the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce adding its voice in support. According to Lincoln Vander Veen, Public Affairs Manager for the Chamber, “The Bellevue Chamber voted last week to support I-1185 and has supported the two-thirds majority requirement since I-601 in 1993.”

I had the opportunity to address the Chamber's policy committee on why it should support I-1185.

Does the governor have a right to secrecy?

September 20, 2012 in Blog

Based on state law the answer is no but the state Supreme Court was asked today to decide if the governor has a constitutional right to secrecy via an executive privilege (a.k.a Richard Nixon's claim) to deny access to public records. The case being considered was brought against the Governor by the Freedom Foundation.

Will voters support tax increase for public-employee compensation improvements?

September 18, 2012 in Blog

With news that state employee unions are on the verge of approving their 2013-15 contracts with Governor Gregoire, an interesting questions comes to mind: Will voters support increasing taxes to pay for public-employee compensation improvements?

Supermajority Vote Requirements Are a Basic Part of Washington's Democracy

September 12, 2012 in Blog

Is Washington’s state constitution undemocratic? Some opponents of supermajority vote requirements seem to think so. Voters have enacted or re-affirmed the two-thirds vote requirement for tax increases four times: 1993, 1998, 2007 and 2010. They are being asked do so for the fifth time this year with Initiative 1185.

Time to end the debate once and for all on Washington’s supermajority for taxes requirement

September 11, 2012 in Blog

The Tacoma News Tribune ran my op-ed this morning calling for the Legislature to put on the ballot a constitutional amendment to require a supermajority vote to raise taxes. From the op-ed:

Recommendations of Commission on State Debt and SJR 8221

September 10, 2012 in Blog

Concerned about the growing share of the state operating budget going to pay debt service and therefore not available for other programs, lawmakers in 2011 created a Commission on State Debt by passing Senate Bill 5181. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 40-1 and the House by a vote of 79-14. As noted by the bill report and text of SB 5181:

Estimated fiscal impact of SJR 8221 (Reducing Washington’s Constitutional Debt Limit)

September 6, 2012 in Blog

This November voters will consider Senate Joint Resolution 8221 to reduce Washington’s constitutional debt limit over a twenty year period (2014-2034) from nine to eight percent while changing the calculation of revenue for purposes of determining the state debt limit.

Initiative 1185: To Affirm the Two-thirds Vote Requirement for Tax Increases

September 5, 2012 in Blog

In November the people of Washington will vote on Initiative 1185. The measure would reaffirm the nearly 20-year-old state law requiring that tax increases pass with a two-thirds vote in the legislature or receive voter approval. Washington Policy Center has long recommended a two-thirds vote requirement protection for taxpayers and believes such a policy would serve the public interest by limiting the financial burden state government places on the people.

Key Findings

Put the legislature back in charge of prioritizing state employee compensation

September 5, 2012 in Blog

The Olympian this morning has an update on the status of the state's 2013-15 union negotiations that outgoing Governor Gregoire is finalizing (binding) for the next Governor: