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

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:

Senate considers supermajority for taxes constitutional amendments

February 6, 2013 in Blog

The Senate Government Operations Committee will hold a public hearing tomorrow (2/7) on three proposed constitutional amendments to cement the voters consistent support for requiring a supermajority vote to raise taxes.

Voters in Washington have enacted or affirmed the two-thirds vote requirement for tax increases five times during the past 20 years:

Budget transparency bills introduced

February 5, 2013 in Blog

Two bills were introduced in the House today that would improve the transparency of the state's various budgets (operating, capital and transportation).

HB 1721 proposed by Representatives Pike, Alexander, Wilcox, Harris, Crouse and Overstreet would create a 72-hour timeout before votes could occur on appropriation bills. According to the intent section of HB 1721:

What to do about the state’s B&O tax and various preferences

February 4, 2013 in Blog

The Everett Herald ran our op-ed yesterday calling for a Single Business Tax to eventually replace the current Business and Occupation Tax (B&O). From the op-ed:

Survey of Washington small business owners released at press conference today

January 30, 2013 in Blog

At a press conference at the state capitol today, Washington Policy Center offered policy recommendations showing how lawmakers can improve Washington’s small business climate, help working families and spur economic recovery in our state.

Senate Ways & Means holds work session on competitive contracting

January 29, 2013 in Blog

The Senate Ways and Means Committee held a work session yesterday on the opportunities for competitive contracting. I was invited to participate on a panel along with a representative from the Washington Federation of State Employees.

My presentation focused on the need to simplify the state's current competitive contracting process while utilizing performance-based contracts. From my testimony:

Local perspective on Spokane Proposition 2

January 25, 2013 in Blog

Well-known Spokane radio personality Mike Fitzsimmons offered commentary on Proposition 2 that will go before voters in the city of Spokane on February 12th:

Spokane Proposition 2 is a reasonable and necessary defense of your wealth.

Legislative transparency constitutional amendment proposed in California

January 23, 2013 in Blog

A constitutional amendment to increase legislative transparency has been proposed in California. According to the Los Angeles Times:

A bipartisan group of California lawmakers concerned by the past rushing of legislation has proposed asking voters to require all bills to be in print and online for 72 hours before final passage.