Advisory Votes on Legislative Tax Increases. Initiative 960, which was approved in 2007, created a process for Washington citizens to participate in an advisory vote on whether a tax increase passed by the Legislature should be repealed or maintained. The vote is nonbinding and the results do not affect the law. The advisory vote occurs at the next general election. An advisory vote is not held if the tax increase is referred to the people as a referendum or is included in a people's initiative.
Voters' Pamphlets. The Office of the Secretary of State (OSOS) is required to print a voters' pamphlet whenever at least one statewide measure or office is scheduled to appear on the general election ballot. The pamphlet must contain:
With respect to advisory votes, the voters' pamphlet must contain:
The OSOS must distribute the pamphlet to each household in the state, to public libraries, and to other locations that the OSOS deems appropriate. The OSOS may make the pamphlet available in electronic form as well.
Fiscal Analysis of Legislation. Whenever a bill introduced in the Legislature raises taxes or increases fees, the OFM must determine its cost to taxpayers over the first ten years after its imposition. These fiscal analyses must be reported to legislators and the public and be posted on the OFM website. The 10-year cost projections must also include year-by-year breakdowns. The analyses must be updated and redistributed each time a bill increasing taxes or fees is scheduled for a public hearing, passed out of a committee, or passed by a chamber of the Legislature.
The Legislative Evaluation and Accountability Program.
In 1977 the Legislature created the Legislative Evaluation and Accountability Program (LEAP) to be an independent source to aid in its budget processes, both by providing information and by supporting the process through technology. The LEAP is a bipartisan committee with four senators, four representatives, and eleven staff.
Advisory Votes on Tax Increases. The requirement that legislation that increases taxes be referred to the people for an advisory vote at the next general election is repealed. The voters' pamphlet no longer needs to contain information about advisory votes.
Budget Information to Be Posted Online. The LEAP and the OFM must create a website, updated August 15 of each year, with the following information: