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Articles written by Jason Mercier

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 By Jason Mercier    Opinions    April 2, 2014

Setting the stage for the 2015-17 budget debate

With seven minutes to spare, lawmakers adjourned at 11:53 p.m. on the last day of the 60 day 2014 Legislative Session, avoiding for the first time in several years going into a special session. Among the bills passed was a 2014 supplemental...

 
 By Jason Mercier    Opinions    February 26, 2014

Time for Legislature to live by open government rules

With policy cutoff behind us the list of living and walking dead bills (nothing is really dead till sine die) is being compiled. Among the proposals that didn’t even receive a hearing, however, is a bill based on WPC’s recommendation for the...

 
 By Jason Mercier    Opinions    February 19, 2014

Anatomy of a budget gimmick
circumventing the state spending limit

Introduction On December 17, 2013, Governor Inslee announced his first full budget proposal, releasing his recommended 2014 supplemental budget. His 2013-15 budget proposal, announced early last year, was not a full bill but instead presented a...

 
 By Jason Mercier    Opinions    February 5, 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 percent)? Is it receiving more votes than either President Obama or Governor Inslee in...

 
 By Jason Mercier    Opinions    January 29, 2014

Baumgartner introduces "Debt-Free Degree Act" to cap college tuition at 10 percent of state's average wage

If a bill proposed by Spokane Sen. Michael Baumgartner becomes law, tuition at state colleges and universities would be capped at 10 percent of the state’s average wage. The 6th District Republican says the next phase of higher-education reform...

 
 By Jason Mercier    Opinions    January 22, 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....

 
 By Jason Mercier    Opinions    November 20, 2013

Support grows for public disclosure constitutional amendment

On October 17, the State Supreme Court created a Grand Canyon sized loophole in Washington’s public records law by granting the Office of Governor (at the request of former Governor Gregoire) an exemption from public disclosure based on a...

 
 By Jason Mercier    News    September 24, 2013

Summary of I-517

In November the people of Washington will vote on Initiative 517. The measure would make several changes to state law concerning signature gathering for initiatives and referendums. Initiative 517 would increase the time period for gathering...

 
 By Jason Mercierdirector    Opinions    April 16, 2013

State leaders should keep their promises, let temporary taxes expire

When the 2013 Legislative Session began this past January, tax increases in our state were a long shot. First there was the voters’ most recent confirmation, for the fifth time, of our state’s two-decade-old law requiring a supermajority...

 
 By Jason Mercier    Opinions    April 2, 2013

Returning to ‘priorities of government’ budgeting

The fiscal cards have all been dealt and it is time for budget writers in Olympia to unveil their plans for the state’s 2013–15 budget. The last card was the state’s March 20th Revenue Forecast. We now know budget writers will have...

 
 By Jason Mercier    Opinions    November 13, 2012

Olympia: Can you hear taxpayers now?

Not only did voters for the fifth time in the past twenty years approve a supermajority for taxes requirement but they also are recommending that lawmakers repeal the two tax increases they adopted last session. Just in case a translation for these...

 
 By Jason Mercier    Opinions    October 16, 2012

Senate Joint Resolution 8221 would reduce Washington’s debt limit

In November we will vote on Senate Joint Resolution 8221, a constitutional amendment to reduce the state debt limit over twenty years from nine percent to eight percent of average annual state revenues. The measure would also change how revenue is...

 
 By Jason Mercier    Opinions    June 19, 2012

Supreme Court will have another shot at the four-time voter-approved 2/3 requirement for tax increases  

In a decision that guarantees the state’s 18 year old voter-approved 2/3 vote requirement for tax increases will remain at the forefront of the public debate, King County Superior Court Judge Bruce Heller ruled today the tax protection...

 
 By Jason Mercier    Granite Falls    June 18, 2012

Supreme Court will have another shot at the four-time voter-approved 2/3 requirement for tax increases

In a decision that guarantees the state's 18-year-old voter-approved 2/3 vote requirement for tax increases will remain at the forefront of the public debate, King County Superior Court Judge Bruce Heller ruled today the tax protection requirement...

 
 By Jason Mercier    Opinions    March 20, 2012

Legislature needs to put ‘public’ back into public hearings

Do lawmakers in Olympia really want to hear from citizens on the bills they are considering, or are they more interested in catering to the needs of lobbyists and special interests? Although Washington’s lawmakers have adopted rules that...

 
 By Jason Mercier    Opinions    January 17, 2011

Weathering the pension-debt storm

A pension-debt tsunami is threatening states across the country. According to the Pew Center, states are facing nearly $1 trillion in unfunded pension liabilities including retiree health-care costs. While our situation is not as bleak as it is in...

 
 By Jason Mercier    News    February 26, 2010

Voter-Approved Taxpayer Protections Repealed, Again

The 2010 Legislative Session is scheduled to come to a close on March 11. Rumors of a special session, however, are starting to be heard in the halls of the capitol. Facilitating the consideration of numerous tax proposals now being debated is the...