Guide to Initiative 900
John Barnes, Policy Analyst, October, 2005
Writer Victor Hugo once said that nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come. Though he spoke in another time and place, his words ring true now in Washington state.
In early May 2005, Governor Gregoire signed House Bill 1064 authorizing, for the first time, performance audits of state government agencies. Introduced by Rep. Mark Miloscia (D-Federal Way), the bill was one of the first to begin moving through the legislative process in the 2005 Session—a hint at the importance with which legislators viewed it. On the same day the Session convened, Tim Eyman and supporters filed the text of Initiative 900, which would enact performance audits of state and local governments. The groundswell of legislative and citizen backing indicates the broad support gathering behind the idea of performance audits.
A performance audit looks at government programs to see whether agencies are using public money efficiently. The audits root out the cause of wasteful practices and measure a program’s actual performance against its goals and objectives.
This Policy Brief summarizes Initiative 900, compares the Initiative and the current audit bill recently passed by the legislature, and discusses the differences between the two plans.