Jmercier

WPC joins amicus defending people's right to enact fiscal restraints on lawmakers

August 3, 2015 in Blog

Washington Policy Center (WPC) is a strong defender of the people's right of initiative as well as their power to enact fiscal restraints on lawmakers to help promote sustainable budgeting. This is why we are happy to sign on to the amicus brief in the case of Kerr v. Hickenlooper currently before the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals for reconsideration at the direction of the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Is Initiative 1366 a constitutional amendment?

July 31, 2015 in Blog

Initiative 1366, the "Taxpayer Protection Act," has qualified for the November ballot. Here is the official ballot title and summary for I-1366: 

2015-17 tax debate: From "buck up" for $1.4 billion to $180 million adopted net revenue increase

July 14, 2015 in Blog

Although Governor Inslee campaigned on the promise in 2012 to not propose new taxes, the 2015 session started and ended in perfect symmetry with him calling for tax increases. The size of those desired tax increases, however, changed significantly from December 2014 to when the 2015-17 budget was finally signed in July. Let's review how the tax debate unfolded.

Evolution of 2015-17 budget proposals

July 13, 2015 in Blog

After a record 176 days the Legislature was finally able to adopt all the pieces necessary to put in place a balanced 2015-17 operating budget. The focus of this post is not to review the process used to enact the budget or policies funded in it but instead to provide a timeline of where the tax and spending debate began last December with Governor Inslee’s budget proposal to where it ended with adoption of the final 2015-17 budget.

Could rule changes strengthen state's balance budget requirement?

July 6, 2015 in Blog

You wouldn't know it from the fact that the days old 2015-17 budget has never been balanced and was signed into law with a $2 billion hole but Washington has one of the strongest statutory balanced budget requirements in the country. Per RCW 43.88.055 "The legislature must adopt a four-year balanced budget . . ."

$2 billion hole blown in brand new 2015-17 budget

July 1, 2015 in Blog

Around 11:30 p.m. last night (30 minutes before a government shutdown) Governor Inslee signed the state's 2015-17 budget. Though the new budget is only a few hours old, there is already a $2 billion cloud hanging over it.

Legislature approves budget/transportation package; averts government shutdown but work still to be done for budget to balance

July 1, 2015 in Blog

With just hours to spare before a partial state government shutdown, the legislature overwhelmingly adopted the state’s 2015-17 budget. By a vote of 38-10 in the Senate and 90-8 in the House, lawmakers approved a $38.2 billion biennial budget ($79 billion all funds). This represents a 13% increase in spending from the 2013-15 budget.

Not Olympia's finest hour for government transparency

June 30, 2015 in Blog

It is wonderful news the state won't be facing a government shutdown and that a major transportation investment package with good reforms is moving forward but the last week, the past 72 hrs in particular, have been very embarrassing for the cause of an open and transparent legislative process.

3 states without budget using continuing resolution to avoid government shutdown

June 24, 2015 in Blog

South Carolina, North Carolina and New Hampshire are in the same boat as Washington with a major budget fight threatening a government shutdown on July 1. Those three states, however, are using a continuing resolution to keep government open while budget negotiations continue.

Details here:

Don't forget the full context for proposed capital gains taxes in Washington

June 14, 2015 in Blog

I know I’ve already written about the proposed capital gains tax several times but I keep seeing the same phrasing used to discuss it without the context of what it would mean for the state in both legal and competitive purposes.

Acting State Auditor fights for dedicated performance audit funds

June 2, 2015 in Blog

Commenting on a tour of school children at the capitol on Monday, Seattle Times reporter Joe O'Sullivan tweeted:

Docent explaining executive branch to school children: 'I would say we have a state auditor - and we usually do.'

This qualifier is very troubling for several reasons but especially with both the most recent House and Senate budget proposals continuing to raid the voter-approved dedicated I-900 performance audit funds for the State Auditor.

Notable budget dates

May 26, 2015 in Blog

With the first special session winding down here are a few dates to pay attention to as lawmakers work to adopt the state's 2015-17 budget:

New collective bargaining reform bill introduced

May 21, 2015 in Blog

Yesterday state employees held a coordinated lunch time "unity break" to encourage lawmakers to ratify the contracts that were secretly negotiated behind closed doors last summer with Governor Inslee. As a side note, there was a striking (no pun intended) contrast between the ongoing illegal teacher strikes and yesterday's “unity break” by state workers. State workers showed there is a way to protest while showing up for work and not disrupting public services - something other public servants should take note of.

Will $415 million increase in forecasted revenue break budget logjam?

May 19, 2015 in Blog

With not much progress to date on budget negotiations during the special session, yesterday's $415 million increase in forecasted revenue may just be what lawmakers need to wrap up their work. According to the state's Economic Revenue Forecast Council:

Collective bargaining reform receives attention in special session

April 29, 2015 in Blog

Today marks day one of the "special" session and public hearings are already scheduled. Among the bills up for consideration today is SB 6098: Defining financial feasibility for collective bargaining agreements. According to the bill report: