Changes are needed in the ability of the Washington State Legislature to fund basic services like education and healthcare. The current state budget problems are made more difficult by the lack of flexibility of the Legislature to make decisions by a majority vote as directed by the Washington State Constitution and by a tax expenditure/exemption process that is shielded from legislative oversight by virtue of not being part of the normal budget process.

Many people are frustrated by the current stalemate in the legislative process and want more choices than just throwing up their hands and suffering more cuts in state services and more costs to working families. More options are needed for the voters than just saying we have no real choices.

Accordingly draft legislation has been written that could be a bill in the Legislature with a referendum clause for the voters or that could be a citizens  initiative for the Fall ballot if the Legislature doesn’t act..  The legislation is called  the Washington State Taxpayers Fiscal Reform Act.  You can see a draft copy for comment located here: http://www.majorityrules.org/?attachment_id=814

We are now circulating this draft for public comment and revision. I would appreciate your review of this draft  and any suggested revisions you might have.
The Taxpayers Fiscal Reform Act would:
1.  Allow the Legislature to repeal tax exemptions by a majority vote by repealing the current unconstitutional 2/3 voting requirement.
2. Add tax expenditures into the biennial  budget process.
3.  Require the Legislature to rank all spending, including tax expenditures as high, medium or low priority in meeting state needs.
4.  Require that the Legislature must act to reaffirm all tax expenditures after they have been audited by the state or they will sunset.
5. Limit any authorization or reauthorization of a tax expenditure to 10 years.
Please return all comments on the draft to Steve Zemke at the e-mail address below.
Thanks,
Steve Zemke – Chair
King County Democrats

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