Thursday, June 28, 2012

Quotes from today's 5-4 Supreme Court ruling on the federal health care law

Don't have time to read the full 193 pages from today's 5-4 Supreme Court decision? Here are some pull quotes from the opinions . . . READ MORE

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Caseload forecast gives budget slightly more wiggle room

Lawmakers received some good news today with the state's caseload forecast adding approximately $56 million to the minuscule budget ending fund balance. Had the caseload forecast instead gone the other way and resulted in an increase of $56 million in costs, the balance sheet for only the general fund would have been a negative $33 million . . . READ MORE

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Judge: 'You're telling me a court in this state has no right to look into whether the Legislature followed the law?'

If the fact a Judge had to ask this question is troubling to you, the response by the state won't make you feel any better. As reported by the Tri-City Herald on yesterday's roll-your-own cigarette tax hearing . . . READ MORE

Monday, June 25, 2012

Are laws binding on the Legislature?

Based on a state brief in the roll-your-own cigarette "tax" lawsuit being heard today at 2 p.m. in Franklin County,  lawmakers may be able to ignore a law without first repealing it by passing a new law. It looks like this means that even if the Supreme Court were to eventually settle the constitutionality of the supermajority requirement for tax increases, if a future Legislature were to pass a tax increase in violation of that law without first repealing it, such action would appear to be deemed appropriate by the Attorney General's Office. This novel argument epitomizes the need for the people to be provided the opportunity to vote on constitutional supermajority vote requirements for tax increases . . . READ MORE

Friday, June 22, 2012

OFM considering sole-source contract for federal health care law communications strategy

Next week the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to decide the fate of the controversial federal health care law. With the Court's ruling less than a week a way it was interesting to see the following sole-source contract notice posted yesterday by the Office of Financial Management (OFM) . . . READ MORE

Thursday, June 21, 2012

State Auditor and Secretary of State candidates unhappy with state budget office

State Auditor candidate Rep. Mark Miloscia (D) and Secretary of State candidate Sen. Jim Kastama (D) are unhappy with the decision by the Office of Financial Management (OFM) to advise agencies to not comply with a state requirement to undergo a quality management assessment. Rep. Miloscia and Sen. Kastama have asked the Attorney General's Office to review OFM's action and provide an official opinion on the legality of the decision . . . READ MORE

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Budget remains on life support through at least September

The economic outlook from today's state revenue forecast was virtually unchanged from the expectations in February providing taxpayers with good and bad news about the health of the state's budget. The "good" news is state economic activity only reduced expected revenues for 2011-13 by $16 million. The bad news is lawmakers left a minuscule budget ending fund balance and there remains a 40% possibility that forecasted revenue will come in $1.3 billion lower than expected before the biennium ends . . . READ MORE

Friday, June 15, 2012

One way or another Supreme Court will eventually rule on 2/3 for taxes

While everyone is focused on the House Democrats' lawsuit challenging the 18 year-old voter-approved supermajority requirement for tax increases, a new lawsuit filed today could be the one that actually forces the Supreme Court to finally rule on this issue. As reported by the Tacoma News Tribune . . . READ MORE

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

OFM sends agencies instructions for 2013-15 budget

Last week the Office of Financial Management (OFM) sent state agencies instructions for building Governor Gregoire's last budget proposal (assuming no special sessions or across-the-board budget cuts beforehand) due this December for the 2013-15 budget. OFM Director Marty Brown warned agencies . . . READ MORE

Monday, June 11, 2012

Editorial coverage of 2/3 for taxes ruling

Responding to the recent King County Superior Court ruling calling into question the 18 year-old voter-approved supermajority requirement for tax increases, Initiative 1185 sponsor Tim Eyman writes in this op-ed (in-part) . . . READ MORE

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Legislative use of emergency clause drops in 2012; constitutional protections still needed

To provide a check on the legislature, the state constitution grants the people the power to veto unwanted legislation through the use of a referendum. According to the Secretary of State, “The referendum allows citizens, through the petition process, to refer acts of the legislature to the ballot before they become law.” This power applies to any bill adopted by the legislature except those that include an “emergency clause.” An emergency clause states that a bill is exempt from repeal by referendum because the bill is, “necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health or safety, support of the state government and its existing public institutions.” The use of the emergency clause allows bills to take effect immediately once signed by the governor . . . READ MORE

Friday, June 1, 2012

State liquor monopoly ends

It may have taken nearly 80 years, 1,128,904 voters (59%) and 5 State Supreme Court Justices but Washington's prohibition-era government monopoly on the sale of liquor has finally ended . . . READ MORE