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.

What's New

Public records reform introduced

January 12, 2010 in Blog

The recommendations of State Auditor Brian Sonntag's and Attorney General Rob McKenna's Open Government Task Force have taken bill form. HB 2736 and SB 6383 (Establishing the office of open records) was introduced this afternoon.

According to the bills, a requester seeking relief from a records dispute may either use the new office of open records or the current legal remedies available. The major change, however, is that a requester would not be entitled to penalties for a records violation unless they first sought relief from the office of open records.

&quot!
;However, in no event may a court award a penalty unless such person received a final order from the office of open records before prevailing against an agency in court pursuant to this subsection." - (Section 4, 4)

We made this recommendation at the October 5 meeting of the Open Government Task Force to help incentivize the use of the new office of open records while not restricting the right of citizens to go directly to court for relief.

Liquor privatization bill to have hearing

January 12, 2010 in Blog

There will be a public hearing on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. to consider SB 6204 - Privatizing the sale of liquor. This reform has surfaced since the end of prohibition but is receiving added attention in light of the state's budget deficit and a favorable report by the State Auditor's Office highlighting the potential savings from ending the state's liquor monopoly.

State Auditor Brian Sonntag was recently interviewed by KING 5 News and said, "Is it a core function of the state to be selling alcohol? I don't think so."

!
The state's liquor monopoly was also the subject of this editorial today in the Longview Daily News: Don't ignore long-term benefits of privatizing liquor sales.

Here are additional details on Thursday's hearing:

Labor, Commerce & Consumer Protection -  01/14/10  3:30 pm
Full Committee
Senate Hearing Rm 4
J.A. Cherberg Building
Olympia, WA

REVISED 1/11/2010 4:10 PM

Public Hearing: 

   1. SB 6239 - Making technical corrections to gender-based terms.
   2. Exempting pipe tobacco from restrictions on shipping tobacco to consumers in Washington [S-3480.1].
   3. An act relating to creating a beer and wine tasting endorsement to the grocery store liquor license [S-3579!
.1].
   4. Concerning beer and wine tasting a!
t farmers markets [S-3563.1].
   5. SB 6204 - Privatizing the sale of liquor.

Tax Increases Will Cost Even More Washingtonians Their Jobs

in Press releases

Olympia – Today Washington Policy Center (WPC) is running a full-page ad in The Olympian warning lawmakers about the impact of tax increases.  The ad uses information from Washington Research Council’s new study, “The Economic Impact of Hiking Taxes to Close the Budget Gap.”

“As legislators wrestle with the state budget shortfall, it’s important that they recognize the effects of tax hikes on job preservation and creation,” says Dr. Kriss Sjoblom, VP for Research and Economist with the Washington Research Council.

Tax increases will cost even more Washingtonians their jobs

January 11, 2010 in In the News
Seattle PostGlobe
Source: 
Seattle PostGlobe
Date: 
Monday, January 11, 2010

Contracting Out State Work? (radio interview)

January 11, 2010 in In the News
KUOW 94.9 (NPR)
Source: 
KUOW 94.9 (NPR)
Date: 
Monday, January 11, 2010

Study: Tax Increases Threaten More Job Losses in Washington

January 11, 2010 in In the News
The Biz Coach
Source: 
The Biz Coach
Date: 
Monday, January 11, 2010

Tax Increases Will Cost Even More Washingtonians Their Jobs

January 11, 2010 in In the News
National Center for Policy Analysis
Source: 
National Center for Policy Analysis
Date: 
Monday, January 11, 2010

Possible tax increase could hurt workers (video)

January 11, 2010 in In the News
KNDU TV (Tri-Cities)
Source: 
KNDU TV (Tri-Cities)
Date: 
Monday, January 11, 2010

Tax increases will cost even more Washingtonians their jobs

January 11, 2010 in Blog

A new study by the Washington Research Council shows that tax increases will cost thousands of Washingtonians their jobs. According to the study, increasing the state Business and Occupation tax (B&O) by $1 billion would eliminate up to 15,072 jobs. A $2.6 billion B&O tax increase would cost 38,968 Washingtonian’s their jobs. A $1 billion sales tax increase would eliminate 14,759 jobs. A $2.6 billion sales tax increase would eliminate 38,024 jobs. The study shows jobs losses by 2013. 

Today the Washington Policy Center is running a full-page ad in The Olympian warning lawmakers about the impact of tax increases. The ad focuses on the job loss f!
indings from the study.

Since it is impossible to forecast how the legislature would spend the money collected from tax increases, the ad highlights the impact of just the tax increases. The study shows job losses could be mitigated depending on how lawmakers chose to spend the new tax revenue.

To put the state on firm fiscal footing, any budget adopted must not raise taxes during a recession, or result in a projected deficit in the next biennium. This will mean that some of the programs we’ve grown accustomed to during good times must be eliminated. Taking more money from businesses and cutting people’s take-home pay through higher taxes is not the solution.

Additional Information
The Economic Impact of Hiking Taxes to Close the Budget Gap
Full-page newspaper advertisement !
in The Olympian

Budget solutions will require tough decisions and real reforms
Economists Warn Tax Increases Will Hurt Our State’s Economy
Resources for Building the State Budget
Principles of Taxation for Elected Officials