Open Government

WPC's Center for Government Reform's mission is to partner with stakeholders and citizens to work toward a government focused on its core functions while improving its transparency, accountability, performance, and effectiveness for taxpayers.

Open Government Blog

2014 supplemental budget will need to keep state spending limit in mind

November 26, 2013 in Blog

After going through multiple special sessions to adopt the state's 2013-15 budget, the last thing lawmakers will want to do is fight about a 2014 supplemental budget. State agencies, however, have already submitted their 2014 supplemental budget wish list requesting a combined increase in spending of $895 million and 806 new FTEs.

No more ludicrous speed lawmaking

November 9, 2013 in Blog

Now that lawmakers have saved the state's Boeing "destiny for a generation" (pending a Wednesday vote by Boeing unions), let's hope we can get them to commit to abandoning future "ludicrous speed" lawmaking.

Tax exemptions, transparency, and a hotel bill

November 6, 2013 in Blog

I was supposed to be on the road to Olympia this morning for a Thursday House Finance Work Session to discuss tax exemptions and WPC's recommendation to eliminate targeted tax exemptions and instead replace the B&O tax with a revenue neutral single business tax.

State Supreme Court considers $1.3 billion pension case

October 21, 2013 in Blog

The State Supreme Court will hear a pension case this Thursday at 9 a.m. brought by various unions that could cost taxpayers an additional $1.3 billion at the state and local level during the 2015-17 biennium and billions more in the future. At issue is whether lawmakers had the legal right to make changes to what they thought were conditional pension benefit increases.

State Supreme Court grants prior Governor's office request for shroud of secrecy

October 17, 2013 in Blog

Channeling former President Nixon, the state Supreme Court today showed Washington State isn't that different from Washington D.C. after all by granting the Governor's office the claim of executive privilege to deny citizens access to public records.

Principles of a good tax system

October 8, 2013 in Blog

The House Finance Committee held a work session yesterday reviewing the state's tax structure and how it compares nationally. I had the opportunity to present on the principles of a good tax system

I encouraged the committee to focus its tax reform efforts around the following fundamental building blocks of a good tax structure:

Revenue forecast helps grow budget reserves

September 19, 2013 in Blog

While those following the state's monthly revenue receipts expected state revenue collections to continue to grow, the amount of yesterday's increase was a bit of a surprise.

According to the state's economist, Dr. Steve Lerch, revenues are now projected to grow by another $345 million for the current budget and $342 million for the 2015-17 budget:

Governor kicks off "soft" launch of Results Washington effort

September 10, 2013 in Blog

Today Governor Inslee put his stamp on the state's long track record with performance management efforts with a "soft" launch of Results Washington. As noted by his press release:

Gov. Jay Inslee today formally launched Results Washington, which will provide faster and easier answers to those questions and access to an unprecedented array of performance data related to his top goals.

Review of 2013-15 Operating Budget

August 29, 2013 in Blog

Now that we've had time to review and digest the state's new 2013-15 budget, how did lawmakers do? As with all budgets there are good and bad items included, though the biggest policy success was that lawmakers allowed the 2010 “temporary” tax increases to remain temporary and to expire as promised on July 1st. The enacted budget also includes revenue and spending projections that balance in compliance with the state’s new four-year balanced budget requirement.