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

Is Outsourcing "Anti-Government?"

April 16, 2010 in In the News
Seattle PostGlobe
Source: 
Seattle PostGlobe
Date: 
Friday, April 16, 2010

Plugging the Budget With ... Taxes

April 14, 2010 in In the News
Kitsap Sun (Bremerton)
Source: 
Kitsap Sun (Bremerton)
Date: 
Wednesday, April 14, 2010

TNT and Everett Herald: Legislature Took Too Long, Accomplished Too Little

April 14, 2010 in In the News
Washington Alliance for a Competitive Economy
Source: 
Washington Alliance for a Competitive Economy
Date: 
Wednesday, April 14, 2010

How many votes did your state lawmaker miss?

April 14, 2010 in In the News
The News Tribune (Tacoma)
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The News Tribune (Tacoma)
Date: 
Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Think tank releases report on lawmakers' missed votes

April 14, 2010 in In the News
The Daily News (Longview)
Source: 
The Daily News (Longview)
Date: 
Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Deficit déjà vu

April 14, 2010 in Blog

At her press conference yesterday Governor Gregoire was asked about the projected deficit for the 2011-13 budget. The Governor said they don't know yet what impact the budget and taxes adopted by the Legislature this weekend will have on the next budget but that another deficit is likely. Here is her exchange with reporters on this topic:

The Governor also said that future tax increases for education spending are likely, though they will probably show up as a ballot measure for the voters to approve.

As for the Back to the Future budget deficit, in February the Office of Financial Management produced this 4-year budget outlook showing a projected $2.1 billion deficit in 2011-13 assuming the Governor's smaller spending and tax package:

Budget outlook

Since the Legislature's plan spends and taxes more than the Governor proposed, OFM may update the February 4-year budget outlook in the coming weeks to get a better feel for the pending 2011-13 deficit. 

It will be interesting to see what reforms or tax increases will be proposed to solve that problem. It's unfortunate the Legislature used a full 30-day special session to enact a budget but failed to adopt policies to make it sustainable.

Sen. Brown vs. Sen. Brown

April 13, 2010 in Blog

A lot of strange things can happen when working until 1 a.m. in the morning, including the instance of arguing with yourself.

Consider the following sides of the debate Sen. Brown found herself on last night concerning whether a tax increase is permanent or temporary.

First was her floor speech on HB 2561 arguing that an amendment to describe the sales tax on bottled water as being "permanent" was misleading since there is no such thing as a permanent tax.

Then later in the evening was her floor speech on SB 6143 arguing that the job credits being passed were "permanent" but the tax increases "temporary."

In the same evening Sen. Brown argued that a change in tax policy is "permanent" when it is a tax credit but "temporary" when a tax increase.

State Auditor writes letter supporting our work

April 13, 2010 in Blog

State Auditor Brian Sonntag has long been a friend of the Washington Policy Center and supporters of accountable, effective and transparent government.

It looks like the State Auditor is also a fan of our work. Here are details from a recent letter he sent:

"I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you for all your support of our audit work and for your efforts to make state government work better for the citizens it serves. The Center for Government Reform and the Office of State Auditor share common purposes to achieve greater government transparency and accountability . . .

In my opinion, the Center for Government Reform plays and important role, monitoring, analyzing and reporting actions of the Legislature and state government agencies. This is vital in light of the diminished ability by the news media to cover activities at the Capitol. Amid current economic conditions and state government's financial challenges, both o!
f our organizations have stood at the forefront in advocating significant reforms in the way government operates . . .

We appreciate that your work is nonpartisan, constructive and solution-oriented. Again, this complements our Office's independence and objectivity as a statewide elected Office that works for and reports directly to Washington citizens.

I look forward to maintaining our strong positive relationship as we continue to work on ideas and issues of mutual interest benefitting the public. Thanks again for your help and support of our responsibilities."

You can read the rest of the State Auditor's letter here.