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

King County Council Proposal Would Expand Union Power and Increase County Costs

January 9, 2013 in Blog

King County faces serious budget pressures, and county residents already pay the highest taxes in the state. So people are wondering why King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn chose this moment to introduce a proposal (K.C.C. 3.16.050) that could increase county costs by expanding mandatory binding arbitration to more public-sector unions.

U.S. Government Accountability Office tackles tax exemptions

January 8, 2013 in Blog

The debate about tax exemptions and their effectiveness is sure to be raged during the 2013 Session.

Rep. Carlyle, Chair of the new House Finance Committee, wrote this insightful blog about what he hopes to accomplish:

State Auditor recommends financial management reforms

January 4, 2013 in Blog

After 20 years in office it is no surprise to see retiring State Auditor Brian Sonntag continue to fight for good government reforms up to his last day.

Yesterday Sonntag released his final annual report highlighting the need for ongoing open government reforms as well as a performance audit recommending improvements to the way Washington State Ferries contracts for ferry construction.

Columbian: Legislators must regain public confidence by emphasizing transparency

January 2, 2013 in Blog

The Vancouver Columbian has re-issued its call for state lawmakers to adopt much needed legislative transparency reforms reflecting our recommendations. From the Columbian editorial:

Budget priorities: Compensation increases?

December 18, 2012 in Blog

In my post earlier today I broke down Governor Gregoire's proposed tax increases. In her document explaining her Book 1 Budget (no tax increases), she said she proposed these tax increases because not doing so would result in:

Gregoire's lame-duck tax increase proposal

December 18, 2012 in Blog

Taxes took center stage today in Olympia. Out-going Governor Gregoire released her last budget proposal along with her suggested tax increases.

Potential Democrat sponsors for supermajority for taxes constitutional amendment

December 12, 2012 in Blog

With almost all of the legislative Republicans on the record in support of providing the voters an opportunity to consider a supermajority for taxes constitutional amendment, are there any Democrats that believe the voters should have this chance? 

Michigan shows need for Washington legislative transparency reforms

December 7, 2012 in Blog

When I saw this headline today out of Michigan I didn't think the article would become the poster child for legislative transparency reforms, but that's exactly what the story demonstrates: Right-to-work bills pass in Lansing

Voters' mandate on tax increases

December 5, 2012 in Blog

What constitutes a clear mandate from the voters?

Let's consider the electoral history of the state's supermajority for taxes requirement.

Is it going five for five at the ballot box? Check (passed in 1993, 1998, 2007, 2010 and 2012).

Is it nearly 20 years of consistent support? Check.

Is it receiving the highest % support of any other statewide measure or office? Check (64%).

Is it receiving the most total number of votes of any other statewide measure or office? Check (1,892,969).

Is it passing in every county in the state? Check.

Average Washington State Pension Benefits

November 29, 2012 in Blog

According to the State Actuary’s 2011 valuation report of Washington’s pension system, the average annual state pension for all plans is $21,493 (weighted by headcount). 

Here is a summary of the average annual pensions for the state’s major plans (As of June 30, 2011; Service retirees only; Excludes the value of the Plan 3 defined contribution (DC) account)