SUBSTITUTE HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 4205
State of Washington 51st Legislature 1989 Regular Session
By House Committee on Revenue (originally sponsored by Representatives Wang, Holland, Nelson, Sayan and Brekke; by request of Governor Gardner)
Read first time 4/5/89.
BE IT RESOLVED, BY THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON, IN LEGISLATIVE SESSION ASSEMBLED:
THAT, At the next general election to be held in this state there shall be submitted to the qualified voters of the state for their approval and ratification, or rejection, an amendment to Article VII of the Constitution of the state of Washington by adding thereto a new section to read as follows:
Article VII, section .... (1) The legislature shall establish a state revenue limit ensuring that state revenues will not increase faster than the growth of personal income in the state. The revenue limit may be exceeded only by a law approved by a favorable vote of at least sixty percent of the members elected to each house of the legislature, or by an initiative or referendum approved by the people pursuant to the powers reserved by the people under Article II, section 1 of this Constitution. Revenues subject to the limit shall include all revenues within the definition of "general state revenues" under Article VIII, section (1)(c) of this Constitution plus:
(a) Revenues from state property taxes;
(b) Revenues from income taxes imposed under this section; and
(c) Revenues from taxes levied for other specific purposes, unless dedication for the specific purpose is made in a law:
(i) Enacted before January 1, 1990;
(ii) Enacted by a favorable vote of sixty percent of the members elected to each house of the legislature; or
(iii) Enacted as an initiative or referendum approved by the people pursuant to the powers reserved by the people under Article II, section 1 of this Constitution.
(2) Unless the revenue limit is exceeded under subsection (1) of this section, the legislature shall set tax rates so that estimated revenues will not exceed the revenue limit. If actual revenues exceed the limit, the excess shall be deposited in the revenue reserve fund.
(3) The legislature shall establish a revenue reserve fund. Unobligated balances in the state general fund at the close of each fiscal biennium shall be transferred to the revenue reserve fund. If at the close of any biennium the balance in the revenue reserve fund exceeds three percent of the total general fund appropriations for operating purposes during that biennium, the excess may be transferred to other funds or accounts as provided by law. Moneys in the revenue reserve fund may be appropriated only by a law approved by a favorable vote of at least sixty percent of the members elected to each house of the legislature.
(4) The legislature may enact taxes imposed on or measured by net income as defined by the legislature. The standard deductions and personal exemptions for income received by individuals shall never be reduced below the amounts provided in the act initially adopting the income tax. No local government may enact taxes imposed on or measured by net income. Income is not property within the meaning of this article, and an income tax is not a tax on property. All revenues from income taxes shall be used only for the support of public education, including common schools and higher education, but this restriction does not remove income tax revenues from the definition of general state revenues for the purpose of Article VIII of this Constitution. The legislature may by law coordinate the administration and collection of state income taxes with the income tax laws, regulations, and procedures of the United States. The legislature may adopt by reference any federal statutes relating to federal income taxes, including future amendments thereto.
(5) The relative proportionality between the rates of state sales and use, business and occupation, public utility, personal income, and corporate income taxes, as established in the act initially adopting an income tax shall not be altered, unless by a law approved by a favorable vote of at least sixty percent of the members elected to each house of the legislature, or by an initiative or referendum approved by the people pursuant to the powers reserved by the people under Article II, section 1 of this Constitution. If the personal income includes more than one rate, only the rate that applies to the median income for a family of four, as determined by the legislature, shall be subject to the proportionality requirement of this subsection.
(6) Any bill that includes an exemption from tax, an exclusion or deduction from the base of a tax, a credit against a tax, a deferral of tax, or a preferential rate of tax shall not become law unless approved by a favorable vote of at least sixty percent of the members elected to each house of the legislature, or by an initiative or referendum approved by the people pursuant to the powers reserved by the people under Article II, section 1 of this Constitution. This subsection does not apply to exemptions, exclusions, deductions, deferrals, or preferential rates adopted as part of the act initially imposing a tax.
(7) The legislature may grant property tax relief to homeowners and/or renters with respect to real or personal property occupied by them as a residence, through partial or total exemptions, direct payments, credits, or refunds, or through any combination thereof, under limits and conditions deemed appropriate by the legislature.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the foregoing amendment shall be construed as a single amendment within the meaning of Article XXIII, section 1 of the state Constitution.
The legislature finds that the changes contained in the foregoing amendment constitute a single integrated plan for state fiscal needs. If the foregoing amendment is held to be separate amendments, this joint resolution shall be void in its entirety and shall be of no further force and effect.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the attorney general shall consider the following suggested language when drafting the ballot title for this measure: "Shall state finances be reformed by limiting revenues, providing a reserve fund, authorizing income taxes, and providing property tax relief?"
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the secretary of state shall cause notice of the foregoing constitutional amendment to be published at least four times during the four weeks next preceding the election in every legal newspaper in the state.