Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Supreme Court will have another shot at the four-time voter-approved 2/3 requirement for tax increases

In a decision that guarantees the state's 18 year old voter-approved 2/3 vote requirement for tax increases will remain at the forefront of the public debate, King County Superior Court Judge Bruce Heller ruled today the tax protection requirement is unconstitutional. This means the state Supreme Court one way or another will finally be forced to rule on the issue instead of punting as it has done in the past (most recently in 2007 and 2009). At the same time, Mr. Tim Eyman is gathering signatures on I-1185 to provide voters this fall with their fifth opportunity to approve the 2/3 vote requirement for tax increases . . . READ MORE

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Open letter from state Supreme Court Justices to voters: Were you confused by I-1183? (satire)

Dear Voters, Last November 59% of you voted to end the state's prohibition era monopoly on liquor sales while creating a 21st-century liquor regulatory system enforced by the government. Opponents of this change argued last June that the ballot title for I-1183 should use the word "taxes" instead of "fees" to talk about the revenues raised to pay for public safety. Thurston County Superior Court Judge Christine Pomeroy ruled, however, that . . . READ MORE

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Final budget stands only $46 million away from deficit

To paraphrase Dirty Harry: I know what you're thinking. "Did lawmakers truly balance the budget and build in enough flexibility to deal with economic turmoil in Europe and an uncertain U.S. economy, or are we one forecast away from another special session?" Seeing how this is a $31.1 billion budget, balanced using accounting changes and reversions while leaving only a $46 million unrestricted ending fund balance, you've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, taxpayer? . . . READ MORE

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

State union negotiations begin tomorrow on 2013-15 contracts

Governor Gregoire will begin negotiations with state employee unions tomorrow (May 2) to determine the terms of the 2013-15 state union contracts. These 2013-15 Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) are to be finalized by October 1 of this year - a month before the next Governor is chosen. Based on the 2002 law that granted state employee unions exclusive bargaining rights with the Governor, a CBA is to be submitted to the Office of Financial Management (OFM) by October 1. So what does this all mean for the next Governor? Short of the new contracts being declared financially unfeasible by OFM after the November revenue forecast, the only shot a Governor Inslee or McKenna will have at changing the terms of the 2013-15 CBA will be if the Legislature rejects them . . . READ MORE