Friday, July 31, 2015

Is Initiative 1366 a constitutional amendment?

Initiative 1366, the "Taxpayer Protection Act," has qualified for the November ballot. Here is the official ballot title and summary for I-1366 . . . READ MORE

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

2015-17 tax debate: From "buck up" for $1.4 billion to $180 million adopted net revenue increase

Although Governor Inslee campaigned on the promise in 2012 to not propose new taxes, the 2015 session started and ended in perfect symmetry with him calling for tax increases. The size of those desired tax increases, however, changed significantly from December 2014 to when the 2015-17 budget was finally signed in July. Let's review how the tax debate unfolded . . . READ MORE

Monday, July 13, 2015

Evolution of 2015-17 budget proposals

After a record 176 days, the Legislature was finally able to adopt all the pieces necessary to put in place a balanced 2015-17 operating budget. The focus of this post is not to review the process used to enact the budget or policies funded in it but instead to provide a timeline of where the tax and spending debate began last December with Governor Inslee’s budget proposal to where it ended with adoption of the final 2015-17 budget . . . READ MORE

Monday, July 6, 2015

Could rule changes strengthen state's balance budget requirement?

You wouldn't know it from the fact that the days old 2015-17 budget has never been balanced and was signed into law with a $2 billion hole but Washington has one of the strongest statutory balanced budget requirements in the country. Per RCW 43.88.055 "The legislature must adopt a four-year balanced budget . . ." Now while the House did manage to pass a balanced budget, the Senate did not with most Senate Democrats refusing to vote for the suspension of I-1351 (unfunded class size reduction) as assumed by the 4yr outlook that was part of the budget deal . . . READ MORE

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

$2 billion hole blown in brand new 2015-17 budget

Around 11:30 p.m. last night (30 minutes before a government shutdown) Governor Inslee signed the state's 2015-17 budget. Though the new budget is only a few hours old, there is already a $2 billion cloud hanging over it. Although the House kept up its end of the budget deal by suspending the unfunded class size reduction initiative (I-1351), around 6 a.m. this morning the Senate Democrats failed to live up to the deal by refusing to vote for the suspension unless the Senate passed a different bill first . . . READ MORE

Legislature approves budget/transportation package; averts government shutdown but work still to be done for budget to balance

With just hours to spare before a partial state government shutdown, the legislature overwhelming adopted the state’s 2015-17 budget. By a vote of 38-10 in the Senate and 90-8 in the House, lawmakers approved a $38.2 billion biennial budget ($79 billion all funds). This represents a 13% increase in spending from the 2013-15 budget. It is also the largest state spending increase since the 18% increase adopted for the 2005-07 budget. Both of these large spending increases were facilitated by lawmakers suspending/changing the state’s spending limit . . . READ MORE