Friday, March 27, 2015

Citizens to have unprecedented time to review House budget before public hearing

Today was going to be like just any other budget rollout day in Olympia. A short press conference highlighting a summary of a budget proposal running hundreds of pages long and spending billions of dollars (not to mention potential new tax increases being proposed). Then just a few hours later Washingtonians were to be expected to have read, digested, and traveled to Olympia to offer public testimony on the proposed spending plan for their tax dollars. This facade of budget transparency and public testimony would have allowed a box to be checked for involving the citizens and then permit the budget debate to move forward . . . READ MORE

Monday, March 23, 2015

80 plus years is long enough for a "temporary/emergency" tax

On March 13 the House Finance Committee held a public hearing on HB 2150: Reforming the business and occupation tax to provide fairness and administrative simplicity. This proposal is a variation of the Single Business Tax reform that Washington Policy Center first proposed in a 2010 study . . . READ MORE

Thursday, March 12, 2015

State employee contract negotiations to remain secret

This Sunday (March 15) is the beginning of National Sunshine Week. The motto for this national celebration of government transparency is "Open government is good government." Based on the untimely death of SB 5329 (Requiring public employee collective bargaining sessions to be open meetings) this week in the Senate, however, state employee contract negotiations will continue to be conducted under a total eclipse of secrecy with the public kept in the dark . . . READ  MORE

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

"Choose Washington" - No Capital Gains Taxes

To help market the state of Washington to potential businesses the Department of Commerce runs a website called "Choose Washington." Under the tab "Why Washington" you can select "Our Strengths." Under that tab you will find a page called "Pro-Business." Had you visited the "Pro-Business" page a few weeks ago, you would have seen this statement as to why Washington was a good place to locate your business . . . READ MORE

Will the Senate vote to enforce its rules?

On the first day of session the Senate, using the powers granted to it by Article 2, Section 9 of the state Constitution, adopted rules to govern its proceedings. Among the rules adopted was Rule 64 to require a supermajority vote to move a bill creating a new tax from second to third reading. Yesterday Lt. Governor Owen, who serves as President of the Senate, issued rulings in response to two point of orders raised concerning Rule 64. While the first ruling was debatable, the second was a shocking break from precedent . . . READ MORE