Thursday, January 30, 2014

Governor/Speaker receive open government awards

Governor Inslee and Speaker Chopp received awards from the Washington Coalition for Open Government this week (WPC serves on the WCOG board). Inslee received the Key Award for his pledge not to use executive privilege to deny public records requests. Chopp received the Ballard/Thompson Award for his role keeping a bill (HB 1128) from becoming law that would have in-part allowed government entities to sue citizens to keep from disclosing public records . . . READ MORE

Monday, January 27, 2014

Will voters get sixth shot at supermajority for taxes?

How would you define the undisputed will of voters? Is it passing in every county of the state? Is it passing in 44 of the state's 49 legislative districts (90%)? Is it receiving more votes than either President Obama or Governor Inslee in a blue state? Is it going five for five at the ballot box over the past 20 years? If the answer to these questions is yes, then it is clear that Washingtonians want a legislative supermajority vote to raise taxes or voter approval . . . READ MORE

Friday, January 24, 2014

Exploring Social Impact Bonds

As budget writers continue to face growing demands for increased spending with limited resources, alternative ways of delivering services are being explored. One potential option worthy of consideration are "Social Impact Bonds," or pay-for-performance contracts with non-profits/private businesses to help deliver certain social programs. This relatively new method of service delivery is now getting attention in Washington . . . READ MORE

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Legislature focuses on open government reforms

The people's right to know has received a serious shot in the arm this session with numerous open government bills under consideration. The Attorney General's proposals to require training of government officials have already received executive action in the House and public hearings in the Senate. Several bills have also been introduced to make more budget related information available online. Now come proposals to require the Legislature to provide more opportunity for the public to participate in the legislative debate and ensure the public records act applies to the records of the Governor and Legislature . . . READ MORE

Brian Sonntag releases Seattle pension study

Former State Auditor Brian Sonntag released a study today highlighting the need for pension reform in Seattle. Sonntag worked on the study at the request of the Washington Policy Center. Considering the recent debate surrounding the Boeing 777X contract vote and pension changes, it is not a surprise to see the cost of Seattle's defined benefit pension program also in need of reform . . . READ MORE

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Senate Ways & Means to act on revenue forecast reform

The Senate Ways and Means Committee held a public hearing yesterday on SB 5910: Providing that a quarterly revenue forecast is due on February 20th during both a long and short legislative session year. The committee is scheduled to take executive action on the bill later today. The proposal passed the Senate unanimously twice last year (April 28 and June 23) but was not acted on by the House . . . READ MORE

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Anatomy of a budget gimmick

When the Governor announced his first full budget proposal (his 2013-15 proposal was an outline) on December 17 releasing his recommended 2014 supplemental budget, I was very curious to see how it would comply with the state's spending limit. After careful review, it looks like it doesn't . . . READ MORE

Monday, January 6, 2014

Missing public records and "harassing requesters"

During the heat of the debate last year on HB 1128 and whether or not government entities should be able to sue citizens to keep from disclosing public records, the Washington Coalition for Open Government (WCOG) sent out a public records request to determine the extent of any problem facing local governments concerning compliance with the people's right to know. That WCOG records request resulted in this ultimate public records response fail from the then Mayor of Coulee Dam . . . READ MORE

Friday, January 3, 2014

JLARC releases guidance for drafting tax preference performance statements

Last year the Legislature passed a requirement for bills creating or expanding tax preferences to include a performance statement to identify the expected outcome for the policy change. We were very happy to work with Rep. Carlyle, Chair of the House Finance Committee, on this concept. The Legislature also directed the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee (JLARC) to develop guidance on how these tax preference performance statements should be drafted. The JLARC report is now available. Among JLARC's recommendations . . . READ MORE

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The most important vote of 2014 - Boeing 777X contract

Although 2014 is a general election year with control of the Legislature up for grabs and still unknown ballot measures yet to qualify, perhaps the most important vote of the year will be tomorrow on Boeing's 777X contract offer. Not only does this union vote have the potential to impact tens of thousands of jobs, but it could dramatically change the state's fiscal outlook, not to mention its economic psyche . . . READ MORE