Thursday, February 26, 2015

Should volatile capital gains taxes be relied on to fund the state's "paramount duty"?

In our prior blog post we looked at the volatility of capital gains taxes and how California adopted a constitutional amendment to force more savings of its revenue from that source versus spending it to reduce the state's rollercoaster budgeting. As we noted, rather than dedicate any of the revenue from his proposed capital gains tax to protected savings, however, Governor Inslee’s plan takes the opposite approach by preventing the funds from going into state’s constitutionally protected reserve account created by voters . . . READ MORE

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Are capital gains taxes "secure and stable" or highly volatile?

When releasing his 2015-17 budget plan Governor Inslee said, “We have a very solid, fiscally sound, secure and stable way of financing everything I’ve talked about today." Among the new taxes he proposes to fulfill this statement is a 7% capital gains tax to generate an estimated $798 million. Based on the volatile history of capital gains taxes in other states, it may be wishful thinking to describe their impact as being a “very solid, fiscally sound, secure and stable way of financing” ongoing government spending . . . READ MORE

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

B&O tax reform bill would exempt nearly 286,000 small businesses from tax

A major B&O (Business & Occupation) tax reform proposal was introduced today by Rep. MacEwen. The proposal (HB 2150) is a variation of the Single Business Tax WPC first proposed in 2010. Under HB 2150 the dozens of current B&O tax classifications and numerous preferences would be replaced with three new rates with every business being provided one of three standard deductions to choose from to determine their taxable margin . . . READ MORE

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Title only bill would provide every Washingtonian one free drink a week (satire)

While traveling to Olympia to testify on a bill on a holiday may not be a high priority for most Washingtonians, you may want to make an exception for next Monday. The title only bill, HB 2082 (Relating to commerce in liquor) is scheduled for a public hearing and executive action that day. Based on my best interpretation of that blank piece of legislation, it would provide every Washingtonian one free drink a week paid for by the per diem of lawmakers. Who could object to that . . . READ MORE

Monday, February 9, 2015

Senate bill would codify U.S. Supreme Court union ruling

The Senate Commerce and Labor Committee held a public hearing today on SB 5671: Addressing the payment of union dues by partial public employees. The bill would fully implement the ruling issued by the U.S. Supreme Court last June in its Harris v. Quinn decision. According to the Court, individuals called public employees "solely for the purposes of collective bargaining" are not subject to the 1977 Abood decision, which allows public sector unions to collect mandatory agency fees from workers as a condition of employment . . . READ MORE

Friday, February 6, 2015

Should fiscal impact of initiatives be described in ballot title?

Last November voters narrowly approved I-1351 to reduce class sizes. Although the policies proposed by I-1351 are estimated to cost $4.7 billion over the next few years, the ballot measure included no funding source to implement the policy. This means that lawmakers are now looking to suspend or refer I-1351 back to the ballot as they attempt to balance the 2015-17 budget. The slim approval of this budget-busting unfunded mandate has also lead to a robust conversation in the Legislature about potential changes to the state's initiative process . . . READ MORE