SJR 8221

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

As of June 14, 2012

Brief Description: Amending the Constitution to include the recommendations of the commission on state debt.

Sponsors: Senators Parlette, Kilmer, Benton, Murray, Brown, King, Hewitt, Becker and Morton; by request of Commission on State Debt.

Brief History:

Committee Activity: Ways & Means: 1/23/12.


Staff: Brian Sims (786-7431)

Background: The state Constitution limits the issuance of state general obligation bonds. The State Treasurer may not issue a debt-limit general obligation bond if the amount of interest and principal payments in any year, along with such payments for existing debt limit bonds, would exceed 9 percent of the average of the annual general state revenue collections for the previous three fiscal years. General state revenues do not include property taxes even though they are deposited in the general fund.

Legislation enacted in 2011 (SSB 5181) established the Commission on State Debt and required it to recommend possible changes to the constitutional debt limit and other debt policy in order to:

The Commission on State Debt reported their findings and recommendation in December. Recommendations include changes to the constitutional debt limit and to the statutory working debt limit.

Summary of Bill: For debt incurred after July 1, 2014, the constitutional debt limit is 8.75 percent of the average of general state revenues for the previous six fiscal years. The definition of general state revenues includes property taxes deposited in the general fund.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Not requested.

Committee/Commission/Task Force Created: No.

Effective Date: July 1, 2014, if ratified by the voters.