Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Evolution of tax increase proposals for 2013-15 budget

Despite projected revenue growth of $2 billion for the 2013-15 biennium, proposals for significant tax increases dominated the budget debate and contributed to the Legislature going into two special sessions to finish its work on the budget. The final tax increase package included in the 2013-15 budget was a fraction of what state Democrats initially proposed. Below is a breakdown of how the tax increase proposals evolved . . . READ MORE

Monday, July 22, 2013

Does I-517 interfere with private property rights?

One of the most contentious debates about I-517 (Concerning initiative and referendum measures) is whether its provisions would run roughshod over businesses' private property rights. There is at least one prominent attorney that believes it does. Former Attorney General Rob McKenna is concerned I-517 doesn't comply with constitutional property right protections for businesses . . . READ MORE

Friday, July 19, 2013

House Democrats Tout Washington’s “Nonexistent Income Tax”

The House Democrats today posted a blog dismissing the idea that policies increasing the burden on businesses are “job-killers.” To prove their point, they say Entrepreneur.com recently ranked Seattle as the #2 startup city in America.  Entrepreneur.com says one of the measures earning Seattle that ranking is the state’s lack of an income tax . . . READ MORE

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Did liquor privatization increase DUIs and alcohol related arrests?

No. Based on the latest numbers, the alcohol infused Armageddon that we were warned about if voters approved I-1183 ending the state's nearly 80 year old-liquor monopoly was more of a scare tactic than based on the actual experience of the 33 states across the country with private liquor sales . . . READ MORE

Monday, July 15, 2013

Will proposed Tri-City aquatic center soak taxpayers?

On a hot summer day what could sound better than a state of the art indoor/outdoor aquatic center and water park to cool off in? How about one that doesn’t require permanent and ongoing taxpayer subsidies, even under the best case financial projections, to stay afloat . . . READ MORE

I-517: Should all initiatives with adequate signatures go before voters?

Our prior blog posts on I-517 have addressed the provision adding a new anti-harassment protection for signature gatherers to law as well as a quick glance at some of the former statewide elected officials that have gone on the record in opposition of I-517. In this post we'll take a look at I-517's requirement that all initiatives that receive an adequate number of signatures to qualify actually go before voters for consideration. Currently some proposals at the local level have been blocked from the ballot for various legal reasons . . . READ MORE

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Public records fail

Life is full of teachable moments. Consider the following exchange between the Mayor of Coulee Dam and the Washington Coalition for Open Government (WPC serves on the WCOG board) as an example of how a government official should NOT respond to a public records request . . . READ MORE

Monday, July 8, 2013

2013 statewide ballot will include non-binding tax increase advisory votes

As reported by the Spokesman Review, statewide initiative efforts went 0-84 this year with none qualifying for the ballot. This means the 2013 statewide ballot will only include two initiatives to the Legislature that lawmakers didn't act on (I-517 and I-522) and a handful of non-binding tax increase advisory votes.
Although the State Supreme Court struck down the longstanding voter-approved supermajority for taxes requirement, other provisions of the law remained in place, including the requirement for non-binding advisory votes if lawmakers increase taxes while preventing a referendum on them via an emergency clause . . . READ MORE

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Inslee Vetoes Environmental Effectiveness Budget Studies

The budget passed by both chambers of the legislature last week contained a few hopeful signs toward measuring the environmental effectiveness of government policies. When Governor Inslee signed the budget on Sunday, however, he vetoed three sections of the budget that would have helped assess and promote the effectiveness of the state's environmental policy . . . READ MORE

Legislature requires Tax Performance Statement for new tax preferences

Sometimes in the darkest moments of the legislative process a flickering light can begin to grow bright. Consider the case of SB 5882: Creating, expanding, or extending tax preferences. Originally introduced as a Title Only Bill on March 19, SB 5882 saw a fast-tracked public hearing (more accurately described as a lobbyist hearing) on June 28 to provide new flesh to its mere title. The lack of details available on the new text when the hearing began left one testifier apologizing for perhaps not commenting on the right details since he didn't know for sure what they were . . . READ MORE

Monday, July 1, 2013

Governor vetoes several budget provisos

Perhaps being one of only a handful of people provided the time to actually read the 2013-15 budget before making a decision, Governor Inslee did not sign the state budget without first making several changes via vetoes. Among the vetoes was honoring the request of State Auditor Troy Kelley to maintain at least some of the intent of I-900. Kelley wrote the Governor requesting a veto of several legislative directed performance audits which threatened to interfere with the independence of the State Auditor's Office. Kelley wrote . . . READ MORE