SENATE BILL 5994
State of Washington 57th Legislature 2001 Regular Session
By Senators Kohl‑Welles, Fraser, Thibaudeau, Regala and Jacobsen
Read first time 02/12/2001. Referred to Committee on Ways & Means.
AN ACT Relating to limiting the growth in state expenditures to the growth in personal income; amending RCW 43.135.010, 43.135.025, and 43.135.035; and creating new sections.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
NEW SECTION. Sec. 1. To ensure that the state budget system continues to operate with stability and predictability, the legislature finds that it is necessary to maintain a general fund expenditure limit as first enacted by Initiative 601. An expenditure limit can prevent budgeting crises that can occur because of increased spending levels during periods of revenue surplus followed by drastic reductions in state services in lean years. The legislature also finds that the current strictly formulaic calculation of an expenditure limit based solely on population growth and inflation no longer adequately addresses for the needs of our citizens. The people of Washington are best served by an expenditure limit that will keep pace with the growth in the state's economy yet still ensure budget discipline and taxpayer protection. For these reasons, the legislature finds that a limit based on growth in the state personal income will recognize not only the growth in population and inflation but also the economic productivity of our economy and therefore better balance the needs of the citizens for essential government services with the obligation of the legislature for strict spending accountability and protection of its taxpayers.
Sec. 2. RCW 43.135.010 and 1994 c 2 s 1 are each amended to read as follows:
The people of the state of Washington hereby find and declare:
(1) The continuing increases in our state tax burden and the corresponding growth of state government is contrary to the interest of the people of the state of Washington.
(2) It is necessary to limit the rate of growth of state government while assuring adequate funding of essential services, including basic education as defined by the legislature.
(3) The current budgetary system in the state of Washington lacks stability. The system encourages crisis budgeting and results in cutbacks during lean years and overspending during surplus years.
(4) It is therefore the intent of this chapter to:
(a) Establish a limit
on state expenditures that will assure that the growth rate of state
expenditures does not exceed ninety percent of the growth rate ((
inflation and state population)) in Washington personal income;
(b) Assure that local governments are provided funds adequate to render those services deemed essential by their citizens;
(c) Assure that the state does not impose responsibility on local governments for new programs or increased levels of service under existing programs unless the costs thereof are paid by the state;
(d) Provide for adjustment of the limit when costs of a program are transferred between the state and another political entity;
(e) Establish a procedure for exceeding this limit in emergency situations;
(f) Provide for voter approval of tax increases; and
(g) Avoid overfunding and underfunding state programs by providing stability, consistency, and long-range planning.
Sec. 3. RCW 43.135.025 and 2000 2nd sp.s. c 2 s 1 are each amended to read as follows:
(1) The state shall not expend from the general fund during any fiscal year state moneys in excess of the state expenditure limit established under this chapter.
(2) Except pursuant to a declaration of emergency under RCW 43.135.035 or pursuant to an appropriation under RCW 43.135.045(4)(b), the state treasurer shall not issue or redeem any check, warrant, or voucher that will result in a state general fund expenditure for any fiscal year in excess of the state expenditure limit established under this chapter. A violation of this subsection constitutes a violation of RCW 43.88.290 and shall subject the state treasurer to the penalties provided in RCW 43.88.300.
(3) The state expenditure limit for any fiscal year shall be the previous fiscal year's state expenditure limit increased by a percentage rate that equals the fiscal growth factor.
(4) For purposes of computing the state expenditure limit for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 1995, the phrase "the previous fiscal year's state expenditure limit" means the total state expenditures from the state general fund, not including federal funds, for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 1989, plus the fiscal growth factor. This calculation is then computed for the state expenditure limit for fiscal years 1992, 1993, 1994, and 1995, and as required under RCW 43.135.035(4).
(5) A state expenditure limit committee is established for the purpose of determining and adjusting the state expenditure limit as provided in this chapter. The members of the state expenditure limit committee are the director of financial management, the attorney general or the attorney general's designee, and the chairs of the senate committee on ways and means and the house of representatives committee on appropriations. All actions of the state expenditure limit committee taken pursuant to this chapter require an affirmative vote of at least three members.
(6) Each November, the state expenditure limit committee shall adjust the expenditure limit for the preceding fiscal year based on actual expenditures and known changes in the fiscal growth factor and then project an expenditure limit for the next two fiscal years. If, by November 30th, the state expenditure limit committee has not adopted the expenditure limit adjustment and projected expenditure limit as provided in subsection (5) of this section, the attorney general or his or her designee shall adjust or project the expenditure limit, as necessary.
(7) "Fiscal growth
factor" means ninety percent of the average of the sum of ((
and population change)) the growth in Washington personal income for
each of the prior three fiscal years.
"Inflation" means the percentage change in the implicit price
deflator for the United States for each fiscal year as published by the federal
bureau of labor statistics. (9) "Population
change" means the percentage change in state population for each fiscal
year as reported by the office of financial management.))
Sec. 4. RCW 43.135.035 and 2000 2nd sp.s. c 2 s 2 are each amended to read as follows:
(1) After July 1, 1995, any action or combination of actions by the legislature that raises state revenue or requires revenue-neutral tax shifts may be taken only if approved by a two-thirds vote of each house, and then only if state expenditures in any fiscal year, including the new revenue, will not exceed the state expenditure limits established under this chapter.
(2)(a) If the legislative action under subsection (1) of this section will result in expenditures in excess of the state expenditure limit, then the action of the legislature shall not take effect until approved by a vote of the people at a November general election. The office of financial management shall adjust the state expenditure limit by the amount of additional revenue approved by the voters under this section. This adjustment shall not exceed the amount of revenue generated by the legislative action during the first full fiscal year in which it is in effect. The state expenditure limit shall be adjusted downward upon expiration or repeal of the legislative action.
(b) The ballot title for any vote of the people required under this section shall be substantially as follows:
"Shall taxes be
imposed on . . . . . . . in order to allow a
spending increase above last year's authorized spending adjusted for ((
and population increases)) the fiscal growth factor?"
(3)(a) The state expenditure limit may be exceeded upon declaration of an emergency for a period not to exceed twenty-four months by a law approved by a two-thirds vote of each house of the legislature and signed by the governor. The law shall set forth the nature of the emergency, which is limited to natural disasters that require immediate government action to alleviate human suffering and provide humanitarian assistance. The state expenditure limit may be exceeded for no more than twenty-four months following the declaration of the emergency and only for the purposes contained in the emergency declaration.
(b) Additional taxes required for an emergency under this section may be imposed only until thirty days following the next general election, unless an extension is approved at that general election. The additional taxes shall expire upon expiration of the declaration of emergency. The legislature shall not impose additional taxes for emergency purposes under this subsection unless funds in the education construction fund have been exhausted.
(c) The state or any political subdivision of the state shall not impose any tax on intangible property listed in RCW 84.36.070 as that statute exists on January 1, 1993.
(4) If the cost of any state program or function is shifted from the state general fund on or after January 1, 1993, to another source of funding, or if moneys are transferred from the state general fund to another fund or account, the state expenditure limit committee, acting pursuant to RCW 43.135.025(5), shall lower the state expenditure limit to reflect the shift. For the purposes of this section, a transfer of money from the state general fund to another fund or account includes any state legislative action taken after July 1, 2000, that has the effect of reducing revenues from a particular source, where such revenues would otherwise be deposited into the state general fund, while increasing the revenues from that particular source to another state or local government account.
(5) If the cost of any state program or function is shifted to the state general fund on or after January 1, 2000, from another source of funding, or if moneys are transferred to the state general fund from another fund or account, the state expenditure limit committee, acting pursuant to RCW 43.135.025(5), shall increase the state expenditure limit to reflect the shift.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 5. This act applies to expenditures in fiscal year 2002 and thereafter.
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