Thursday, September 20, 2012

Does the Governor have a right to secrecy?

Based on state law the answer is no but the State Supreme Court was asked today to decide if the Governor has a constitutional right to secrecy via an executive privilege (a.k.a Richard Nixon's claim) to deny access to public records. The case being considered was brought against the Governor by the Freedom Foundation . . . READ MORE

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Supermajority for Taxes Legislative Survey Results

At least 101 legislators and candidates for the Legislature would support putting a constitutional amendment on the ballot for voters to decide if taxes increases should require a supermajority vote for approval, according to a survey conducted by Washington Policy Center (WPC) . . . READ MORE

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Will voters support tax increase for public-employee compensation improvements?

With news that state employee unions are on the verge of approving their 2013-15 contracts with Governor Gregoire, an interesting questions comes to mind: Will voters support increasing taxes to pay for public-employee compensation improvements? While these numbers will change based on caseloads and the remaining revenue forecasts for the year (one is tomorrow), the most recent Office of Financial Management (OFM) 4-yr budget outlook projects a $1.043 billion budget shortfall for 2013-15 (despite projected revenue growth of $1.5 billion). The same outlook also projects $1.033 billion in compensation related issues for public employees. Here are the projected compensation details for 2013-15 . . . READ MORE

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Supermajority Vote Requirements Are a Basic Part of Washington's Democracy

Is Washington’s state constitution undemocratic? Some opponents of supermajority vote requirements seem to think so. Voters have enacted or re-affirmed the two-thirds vote requirement for tax increases four times: 1993, 1998, 2007 and 2010. They are being asked do so for the fifth time this year with Initiative 1185. Opponents of the supermajority requirement, however, continue to argue that supermajority requirements are undemocratic and lawmakers should be able to make tax decisions based on a simple majority vote . . . READ MORE

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Time to end the debate once and for all on Washington’s supermajority for taxes requirement

The Tacoma News Tribune ran my op-ed this morning calling for the Legislature to put on the ballot a constitutional amendment to require a supermajority vote to raise taxes. From the op-ed . . . READ MORE

Monday, September 10, 2012

Recommendations of Commission on State Debt and SJR 8221

Concerned about the growing share of the state operating budget going to pay debt service and therefore not available for other programs, lawmakers in 2011 created a Commission on State Debt by passing Senate Bill 5181. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 40-1 and the House by a vote of 79-14. As noted by the bill report and text of SB 5181 . . . READ MORE

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Estimated fiscal impact of SJR 8221 (Reducing Washington’s Constitutional Debt Limit)

This November voters will consider Senate Joint Resolution 8221 to reduce Washington’s constitutional debt limit over a twenty year period (2014-2034) from nine to eight percent while changing the calculation of revenue for purposes of determining the state debt limit. The proposed constitutional amendment would implement the recommendations of the Commission on State Debt. Servicing the state’s debt currently consumes nearly $2 billion of the $31 billion operating budget, or approximately 6% of spending . . . READ MORE

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Initiative 1185: To Affirm the Two-thirds Vote Requirement for Tax Increases

In November the people of Washington will vote on Initiative 1185. The measure would reaffirm the nearly 20-year-old state law requiring that tax increases pass with a two-thirds vote in the legislature or receive voter approval. Washington Policy Center has long recommended a two-thirds vote requirement protection for taxpayers and believes such a policy would serve the public interest by limiting the financial burden state government places on the people . . . READ MORE

Put Legislature back in charge of prioritizing state employee compensation

The Olympian this morning has an update on the status of the state's 2013-15 union negotiations that outgoing Governor Gregoire is finalizing (binding) for the next Governor . . . READ MORE