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

House to Take Budget Vote Today

April 12, 2010 in In the News
Washington Alliance for a Competitive Economy
Source: 
Washington Alliance for a Competitive Economy
Date: 
Monday, April 12, 2010

Fastest Budget Ever!

April 12, 2010 in In the News
Washington State Wire
Source: 
Washington State Wire
Date: 
Monday, April 12, 2010

Did we say "temporary" tax?

April 12, 2010 in Blog

A world record may have been broken yesterday - the shortest time in recorded history for lawmakers to decide a "temporary" tax should be permanent.

So much for 24 hours to review the tax plan

April 10, 2010 in Blog

Rumor has it House Republicans will allow House Democrats to waive the required 24 hour waiting period before votes are taken on the tax increase plan announced at 1:30 today

This means the 112 page tax bill could be voted on this evening. 

Regardless of how one plans to vote, it is very disappointing that state representatives not only believe they don't need at least a day to study the details of a massive tax increase, but that their constituents don't deserve this common sense courtesy either. 

It is time for constitutional transparency protections for citizens

In the meantime, happy speed reading for those with nothing better to do t!
oday.

UPDATED: 112 page, $794 million tax increase deal finally made public

April 10, 2010 in Blog

At long last the details of the Democrats' tax increase plan is available for public and lawmaker consumption. Here is the 112 page, $794 million tax increase bill.

Because the House last night finally agreed to the Senate's March 25 request for a conference committee, the 112 page bill will not be subject to amendment and must sit on the bar for 24 hours before action is taken. This means that lawmakers can only vote yes or no on the various taxes proposed and not offer changes.

When considering the fact Democratic leadership was already negotiating the details outside of the conference committee process, one is left to wonder if they only reason the House finally agreed last night to appoint conference members was for the sole reason of invoking Rule 20 (SCR 8400) to prohibit amendments from being offered. 

Since a conference committee was ultimately formed, Rule 17's public notification requirement was triggered. At 8:53 this morning the public notice went out that the conference committee would meet at 1:30 today - a full four and half hours notice for those wanting to attend.

Here is the Senate Democrats' blog coverage of that hearing. Unfortunately the meeting took place in the Senate Rules room which is not covered by TVW cameras.

It appears the House will vote on the tax increases first.

UPDATE (3:54 p.m.) n>

The $794 million includes taxes raised in other bills. href="http://hdcadvance.blogspot.com/2010/04/this-is-it.html" target="_blank">Details here.

House approves tax plan

April 10, 2010 in In the News
Spokesman Review (Spokane)
Source: 
Spokesman Review (Spokane)
Date: 
Saturday, April 10, 2010

Property tax increase proposed for community colleges

April 8, 2010 in Blog

What will they think of next?

Today Representative Hasegawa introduced HB 3220: Providing a permanent and stable source of funding for the state community colleges.

According to the bill: 

"Section 3. A community college district under chapter 28B.50 RCW may impose a regular property tax levy in an amount not to exceed twenty-five cents per thousand dollars of assessed value. A community college district must use any taxes collected under this section for the purposes of chapter 28B.50 RCW. Taxes collected under this section may not be used to supplant existing state funds currently allocated to a community college district. For the purposes of this section, "existing state funds" means the amount of funds allocated by the state to the community college district for the fiscal year prior to the fiscal year in which th!
e property tax levy authorized under this section is first imposed."

Meanwhile, a mini-mystery is brewing over the apparent tax deal reached by House and Senate Democrats. Earlier this morning the House Democrats posted on their blog the details of the agreement.

That post has since been removed.

Austin Jenkins has the details:

"I'm amused this morning that the
House Democratic caucus is obfuscating. The  tax plan is out - published here
and here
- and it was even released by
House Democrats via Twitter, but quickly quashed. Melinda McCrady with
House Democrats says the Tweet was a mistake and the tax package isn't finished
yet, thus she has denied my request for a copy. Perhaps the powers that be are
still tweaking some of the finer points of the tax package, but the gist
of the plan is hardly a secret anymore. You gotta love the games politicians
and their staff play."

Stay tuned.

State Supreme Court: "Must" means may

April 8, 2010 in In the News
Seattle PostGlobe
Source: 
Seattle PostGlobe
Date: 
Thursday, April 8, 2010

Tax package includes soda, beer taxes

April 8, 2010 in In the News
The Columbian (Vancouver)
Source: 
The Columbian (Vancouver)
Date: 
Thursday, April 8, 2010