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

Pension reform on Senate floor

March 6, 2013 in Blog

The Senate Rules Committee yesterday moved SB 5851 (Creating a defined contribution retirement plan option for public employees) to the Senate floor for a possible vote before cutoff. The bill would create a new optional defined contribution pension plan for current state workers and for new hires.

State Supreme Court on Two-Thirds for Taxes: Do it like Pierce County, Spokane

March 1, 2013 in Blog

The Washington State Supreme Court on Thursday validated the actions of voters in Pierce County and the city of Spokane, who have recently adopted two-thirds requirements for tax increases locally.

Time to add to the nearly two-dozen supermajority requirements currently in the state constitution

March 1, 2013 in Blog

While the vote on the proposed 2/3 for taxes constitutional amendment (SJR 8205) remains in question, should it be approved, the new supermajority requirement would be joining the nearly two dozen currently in the state constitution.

Next steps for the voter approved, but Court tossed 2/3 for taxes requirement

February 28, 2013 in Blog

With today's long awaited ruling by the State Supreme Court striking down the five-time voter approved requirement first enacted in 1993 that tax increases receive a 2/3 vote of the legislature or voter approval, what happens next?

That depends on our lawmakers.

Although in a 6-3 ruling the Court has removed this policy question directly from the voters, it made clear that:

The day legislative Democrats supported a 2/3 for taxes requirement

February 27, 2013 in Blog

Based on the overwhelming support for I-1053 in 2010 and I-1185 in 2012 (both passing with 64%) it is safe to say that Democrats, Republicans and Independent voters across the state support the requirement for tax increases to receive a 2/3 vote or be sent to voters for approval. Despite I-1185 passing in 44 of the state's 49 legislative districts, however, that support does not appear to extend to Democrats in the Legislature (with a few exceptions).

Legislative public notice for bill hearings starts to slip

February 26, 2013 in Blog

Up to this week the Legislature had been doing a decent job of adhering to its rules that require a five-day public notice before a bill is heard in a hearing.

In fact, earlier this year I was quoted in a Senate press release expressing my encouragement:

Tax preference review bill introduced

February 20, 2013 in Blog

A bipartisan bill to ensure tax preferences identify legislative intent and have performance metrics was introduced today by Senators Tom, Billig, Hill, Hobbs and Murray. Here is the intent section for SB 5843:

Tax increases explained by the beer glass full

February 15, 2013 in Blog

While sitting parched in the Senate Ways and Means Committee hearing yesterday on various tax increase bills, I was very enticed, intrigued rather, by the testimony of Steve Gano representing Miller Coors explaining the impact of extending the "temporary" and expiring beer taxes as proposed SB 5039.

Where's the love for jobs?

February 14, 2013 in Blog

No matter where your turn the word from the White House to the Governor to our state lawmakers is jobs, jobs, jobs.

Despite the professed love of entrepreneurs and growing our economy back to respectability, Washingtonians will be provided a glimpse this afternoon of five tax increase proposals that would cost jobs.

Tax increase proposals scheduled for public hearing on Valentine's Day

February 8, 2013 in Blog

The Senate Ways and Means Committee has scheduled public hearings for various tax increase bills on Valentine's Day next week (2/14). If all the bills were adopted, the projected 10-year tax increase would exceed $38 billion.

That's a whole lot of love for taxpayers’ wallets but may not be the love letter Washingtonians were expecting in this tough economic climate.

Here are the 10-year tax increase projections for the bills according to the Office of Financial Management: