BILL REQ. #: S-0219.1
|State of Washington||61st Legislature||2009 Regular Session|
Read first time 01/12/09. Referred to Committee on Ways & Means.
AN ACT Relating to studying Washington's fiscal resources, structure, and needs; creating new sections; and providing an expiration date.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
NEW SECTION. Sec. 1 The legislature finds that Washington has a
unique tax structure that relies heavily on property and sales taxes to
fund a host of services for its citizens. Education, health care,
transportation projects, the criminal justice system, state parks, and
social programs are paid for by state taxes. Tedious and complicated,
many citizens do not fully understand how the budget process works, how
all moneys are raised, and why there never seems to be enough revenue.
The legislature finds that creating opportunities for citizens to
participate in the process can counter negative public perceptions
about the budget process. Therefore, it is the intent of the
legislature to establish a committee, made up of ordinary citizens, to
study the state's fiscal resources, structure, and needs.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 2 (1) The Washington state institute for
public policy must facilitate and staff a group of Washington citizens
to become the committee on Washington's finances. The committee must
consist of citizens of the state. The institute must devise,
publicize, and implement an application program so that ordinary
citizens may apply to be members of the committee. No later than July
30, 2009, the institute must select the members of the committee from
the applicants. In selecting members, the institute must use diversity
of geographic, work, education, and civic participation to balance the
committee. An elected official may not be a member of the committee.
The institute must strive to appoint citizens who are not closely
connected with the political process, but instead are active or
interested in their communities. Staff of the office of financial
management, the department or revenue, the house of representatives,
and the senate must assist the committee as the committee deems
(2) The members of the committee must elect a chair. Members of the committee must serve without compensation, but must be reimbursed for travel expenses under RCW 43.03.050 and 43.03.060.
(3) The committee must hold meetings in at least four areas outside the central Puget Sound region to receive information and feedback from Washington's citizens. These meetings must be facilitated by the Washington state institute for public policy.
(4) The purpose of the study is to determine the best ways to identify and fund the necessary services for Washington's citizens. The committee must study at a minimum the following:
(a) The latest biennial budget passed by the legislature;
(b) The Washington state tax structure; and
(c) Identifying items in the budget that should not be funded, as well as identifying items that should have been included in the budget. In identifying the items that should or should not be in the budget under this subsection (4)(c), the committee must identify the appropriate tax increases or tax decreases that would coincide with the budget changes identified.
(5) The committee must present a final report of the findings of the study and the alternatives developed by the committee to the ways and means committee in the senate and the finance committee in the house of representatives by November 30, 2010. Additionally, the findings of the study must be announced to the public via press release and the findings must be made available to the public via the internet.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 3 This act expires November 30, 2010.