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

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.

Evolution of tax increase proposals for 2013-15 budget

July 30, 2013 in Blog

Despite projected revenue growth of $2 billion for the 2013-15 biennium, proposals for significant tax increases dominated the budget debate and contributed to the Legislature going into two special sessions to finish its work on the budget. The final tax increase package included in the 2013-15 budget was a fraction of what state Democrats initially proposed. Below is a breakdown of how the tax increase proposals evolved.

House Democrats Tout Washington’s “Nonexistent Income Tax”

July 18, 2013 in Blog

The House Democrats today posted a blog dismissing the idea that policies increasing the burden on businesses are “job-killers.”  

Public records fail

July 10, 2013 in Blog

Life is full of teachable moments. Consider the following exchange between the Mayor of Coulee Dam and the Washington Coalition for Open Government (WPC serves on the WCOG board) as an example of how a government official should NOT respond to a public records request.

2013 statewide ballot will include non-binding tax increase advisory votes

July 8, 2013 in Blog

As reported by the Spokesman Review, statewide initiative efforts went 0-84 this year with none qualifying for the ballot. This means the 2013 statewide ballot will only include two initiatives to the Legislature that lawmakers didn't act on (I-517 and I-522) and a handful of non-binding tax increase advisory votes.