All political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and are established to protect and maintain individual rights.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Tax and Fee Increase

Legislative Indigestion - What the politicians in Olympia think they can slip by.

By now you've heard we're giving medical marijuana fuller legal status in Washington State. What you may not hear about is the taxes which come with your "medicine." Cannabis taxes are projected to average $5,529,902 per year. E2SSB 5073 AMH ENGR H2509.E allows the state to muscle in on your regular weed pusher.

~~~~~~~~

HB 1382 (Short version)- Ordinary drivers will lose a lane to HOV; for this bonus, you'll be charged tolls for certain highway and bridge use. This will sit well with liberals around the Sound and Lake Washington. The poor will have to stay home.

~~~~~~~~

Some other abuses
SB 5945 Modifying excise tax laws to provide funding for essential government services (e.g. gold plated doorknobs). The legislature will probably pass this to the voters for their approval.

The bill is a list of Democrats micromanagement ideas designed to use or abuse private enterprise. Another stupid idea for more taxes, I'll review this more closely if the legislature passes it. The primary impact is we would get higher retail taxes and more complicated regulation for making a living.

~~~~~~~~

HB 2094 Tax preferences (usually reserved for food taxes) - HB 2094's windy language would impose new taxes on laundry list of stuff. Boeing airplanes to electronic newspapers will get taxed. Section 501(4) will impose a tax on home generation of electricity. VOIP will get new taxes. So will your membership fees for the club. 2094 is another labyrinth of taxation to feed a bloated legislature.

~~~~~~~~

SB 5487 will add more taxes on eggs. The bill also requires reports form egg producers that the chickens are treated properly, better than citizens in fact.

~~~~~~~~

HB 1494 adds compulsory fingerprinting to elder placement referrals. The legislation as passed bears the title, "Concerning vulnerable adult referral agencies."

~~~~~~~~

SB 5502 Limousine services will get another new tax.

~~~~~~~~

HB 2079 / SB 5742
would raise ferry fares another 25 cents. Also, ferries will be required to run on unicorn dust. (I made that part up.)

~~~~~~~~

SB 5937 would add $6,918,101,000 in new taxes as an emergency measure. Proposed by politician Paull Shin of Mukilteo, it perpetuates the use of the term "emergency."

~~~~~~~~

HB 2078 will add $922,960,000 to retail and B&O taxes for school funding, to enhance class size for K3. This bill is fast tracking.

~~~~~~~~

Why can't the politicians leave things alone for once? Why do they constantly push pet projects and taxes on us? Isn't "bringing home the bacon" legalized theft?

Lucky us.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Good News for Violent Offenders

HB 1793 will restrict access to juvenile crime records. The legislation especially targets landlords, to force them to rent to violent offenders.

The consequence: You may be forced to live next door to a violent criminal.

The state is considering barring access from a violent offender's juvenile records. This is good news for violent offenders who started criminal activity early in life. Landlords, including public landlords, use criminal records to evaluate an applicant-renter. This act will bar that practice for young, violent offenders.

HB 1793 passed the Senate. Tell the governor to veto this one.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Anti-Self-Defense Bill in the State House of Representatives

Presently, Washington State citizens have legal protection of their right to self defense. The state will pay the defense costs of those falsely accused.

House Bill 2067, introduced by state Representative Ross Hunter (D-48) [Vote WA questionnaire], would repeal the existing Washington law that provides for the reimbursement of legal defense costs to law-abiding citizens who are charged with a crime but found not guilty by reason of self-defense.

Here is actual language from the law that is proposed to be repealed: “No person in the state shall be placed in legal jeopardy of any kind whatsoever for protecting by any reasonable means necessary, himself or herself, his or her family… When a person charged with a crime…is found not guilty by reason of self-defense, the state of Washington shall reimburse the defendant for all reasonable costs…”

Self-defense is a fundamental right that can be weakened by overzealous prosecution. Current law provides an incentive for prosecutors to give serious consideration to whether the accused has a viable claim of self-defense before the prosecution begins. The passage of HB 2067 would repeal an important citizen protection in the state's legal system.

HB 2067 is scheduled for a hearing in the House Ways & Means Committee this Wednesday, April 13 at 3:00 p.m.

Please contact your state Representative, by calling the toll-free legislative hotline, (800) 562-6000, and respectfully urge him or her to OPPOSE this anti-self-defense bill.

If your state Representative sits on the House Ways & Means Committee, please refer to the list below and call and e-mail their office directly.

If you need help identifying your state Representative, please click here.

House Ways & Means Committee members:

Representative Ross Hunter (D-48), Chairman <- Hunter is the sponsor.
(360) 786-7936
ross.hunter@leg.wa.gov

Representative Jeannie Darneille (D-27), Vice Chairman
(360) 786-7974
j.darneille@leg.wa.gov

Representative Bob Hasegawa (D-11), Vice Chair
(360) 786-7862
bob.hasegawa@leg.wa.gov

Representative Reuven Carlyle (D-36)
(360) 786-7814
reuven.carlyle@leg.wa.gov

Representative Eileen Cody (D-34)
(360) 786-7978
eileen.cody@leg.wa.gov

Representative Mary Lou Dickerson (D-36)
(360) 786-7860
marylou.dickerson@leg.wa.gov

Representative Kathy Haigh (D-35)
(360) 786-7966
kathy.haigh@leg.wa.gov

Representative Zack Hudgins (D-11)
(360) 786-7956
zack.hudgins@leg.wa.gov

Representative Sam Hunt (D-22)
(360) 786-7992
sam.hunt@leg.wa.gov

Representative Ruth Kagi (D-32)
(360) 786-7910
ruth.kagi@leg.wa.gov

Representative Phyllis Gutierrez Kenney (D-46)
(360) 786-7818
phyllis.kenney@leg.wa.gov

Representative Timm Ormsby (D-3)
(360) 786-7946
timm.ormsby@leg.wa.gov

Representative Eric Pettigrew (D-37)
(360) 786-7838
eric.pettigrew@leg.wa.gov

Representative Larry Seaquist (D-26)
(360) 786-7802
larry.seaquist@leg.wa.gov

Representative Larry Springer (D-45)
(360) 786-7822
larry.springer@leg.wa.gov

Representative Pat Sullivan (D-47)
(360) 786-7858
pat.sullivan@leg.wa.gov

Representative Ed Orcutt (R-18)
(360) 786-7812
ed.orcutt@leg.wa.gov

Representative Gary Alexander (R-20)
(360) 786-7990
gary.alexander@leg.wa.gov

Representative Barbara Bailey (R-10)
(360) 786-7914
barbara.bailey@leg.wa.gov

Representative Bruce Dammeier (R-25)
(360) 786-7948
bruce.dammeier@leg.wa.gov

Representative Bruce Chandler (R-15)
(360) 786-7960
bruce.chandler@leg.wa.gov

Representative Larry Haler (R-8)
(360) 786-7986
larry.haler@leg.wa.gov

Representative Bill Hinkle (R-13)
(360) 786-7808
bill.hinkle@leg.wa.gov

Representative Kevin Parker (R-6)
(360) 786-7922
kevin.parker@leg.wa.gov

Representative Charles Ross (R-14)
(360) 786-7856
charles.ross@leg.wa.gov

Representative Joe Schmick (R-9)
(360) 786-7844
joe.schmick@leg.wa.gov

Representative J.T. Wilcox (R-2)
(360) 786-7912
jt.wilcox@leg.wa.gov

Update
The April 13th hearing for House Bill 2067 was cancelled minutes before it was to start. This bill is likely dead for this legislative session.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

State Government Overspending Report

Going into debt is bad news. Giving greedy Democrats the state's credit card is a very bad idea.

State revenue is expected to be $778 million less for the combined 2009-11 and 2011-13 budgets: Download the official projection here.

$79.8 million less for the 2009-11 budget, creating a $229 million shortfall.

$698.4 million less for the 2011-13 budget, creating a $5.1 billion shortfall. (Spending is going way, way up.)

This means the 2011 Legislature must address a projected total shortfall of $5.1 billion. I say projected because that assumes a budget of $37 billion, or roughly a 15 percent increase. In the current economy we cannot expect to increase spending by 15 percent. The revenue forecast itself is 13.5 percent more than the previous biennium. At $32.5 billion, it is our highest revenue number ever.

That said, this will require major adjustments since many, many programs were added or expanded, and even more promises were made before the downturn. Like the rest of the economy, we are now having a hangover from our years of exuberance. I will give you a view of the budgets when they are presented in the next few weeks.

Closing Tax "Loopholes"
The majority party and a number of their supporters continue to push for additional revenues despite the projection they will exceed the expenditures in our current budget cycle. They are calling on the Legislature “close tax loopholes to balance the state budget.” What these special interest groups are actually talking about are “tax preferences.”

One of the largest tax preference "loopholes" is food. I don’t think many of us would want to close that so-called tax loophole. It is important we are clear about what we are talking about on this issue.

Each tax preference should be reviewed for effectiveness, because there are many that are beneficial. You may recall the tax incentives we passed in 2010 for aluminum companies. It allowed Alcoa to restart additional pot-lines at the Wenatchee Works plant. You may not recall this either. Its a sort of wonkish thing to know.

~~~~~~~~

In November, the People voted down I 1082. Now we face the consequences of trusting government to do the right thing.

The Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) pays $1.84 in benefits for every $1.00 in premiums it collects, the highest “combined ratio” of any public or private workers’ comp insurer in the country.

According to L&I, these costs are not sustainable without annual double-digit premium increases on employers that pay into the state fund.

The 2008 Washington Pension System Review (Upjohn Institute) confirmed one reason for the highest number of long-term disability cases and pensions in the nation is the absence of a voluntary settlement option that exists in 44 other states.

Total benefits paid in Washington grew from $1.3 billion in 1998 to $2.2 billion in 2008. That’s an increase of 70.4 percent, compared to 34.2 percent growth for all states.

~~~~~~~

Merrily into debt we go. But Washington State is prohibited from accumulating debt*. So we are going to have a round of increased fees or taxation. But We the People forbid that without a 2/3rds majority in the Legislature. So the majority Party (along with some help from RINO Mike Armstrong) delegated "rate increases" to the various agencies which actually charge the rates.

The Puget Sound area will probably face ferry rate increases, other than the regular Summer increase. A toll will likely be imposed on routes in addition to the 520 bridge. Tolls will be added to use certain HOV lanes on some highways. (My cousin, who is an urban planner, refers to these as HIV lanes.)

The increases are probably illegal. I-1053 requires super-majority in the Legislature for revenue increase. But you can rely on the "Democratic" Party to suck around for your money to buy itself "friends." As long as politicians can act irresponsibly and get away with it, they will.

~~~~~~~~

*Current debt may not exceed 9% of current spending. This was supposed to prevent uncontrolled spending of exactly the type we are seeing.

What other people read on this blog

Effing the ineffable - Washington State elections sometimes have been rigged.

“It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.”
-- Joseph Stalin