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

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:

State ramps up LEAN efforts

August 30, 2012 in Blog

With only a few months left in her term as Governor, Gregoire is continuing full speed ahead with her efforts to cement LEAN management principles in state practice.

Adding to her prior LEAN efforts the Governor will keynote the Washington State Government Lean Transformation Conference on October 23/24 in Tacoma.