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Washington Freedom Foundation Legislative Scorecard

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The Freedom Foundation, a Washington State-based research and educational organization committed to the principles of individual liberty, free enterprise, and limited, accountable government, issued its 2012 Informed Voter Guide for Washington State voters, including a legislative score card documenting how Washington State legislators voted upon bills the Foundation deemed important legislation.[1] The legislation chosen by the Foundation covered budget, taxation, and pension issues. The guide also included a compilation and ranking of all tax and fee increases proposed by each Senate and House members' proposed legislation, as required by Washington law.[2]

2012 guide

The Foundation's research guide provided a collection of nonpartisan information involving the voting records of state legislators on key issues related to the budget, taxation, and pension reform. Such legislation included:

  • Bill 6636 (Balanced budgets): The bill would have required a balanced budget plan to be achieved within four years. The House bill, which became law, required a balanced budget as long as the spending was not 4.5% larger than the previous year's budget, regardless of revenue intake.
  • Bill 5967 (Senate Republican and House Democrats budgets): The Senate version of the bill would have reduced spending and keep a $501 million reserve, but with a skipped $143 million payment to the state's pension fund. A House version of the bill would have postponed a payment to public schools and leave less for the state's reserves. The bill did not become law, although a compromise bill eventually did.
  • Bill 6582 (Local Transportation Tax Increases): This bill doubles the "car tab" fee that most cities can impose on vehicle owners, from $20 to $40. It also allows counties to impose a motor vehicle excise tax (this requires a vote of the people), changes the limit on local gas taxes in a way that slightly reduces the top rate, and allows Seattle to impose an additional gas tax (this would also require a public vote). The bill became law.
  • Bill 6378 (Pension reforms): The bill, introduced by Sen. Joseph Zarelli would have closed older, more expensive state pension plans for new hires and have new state employees join a newer pension plan. Also included in the bill is a mandatory reduction in pension payouts to those employees who take early retirement, based on the cost to the pension fund. The Senate voted upon the bill, along with a House vote on an amended version of the bill that did not include as much cost saving but eventually became law.

Legislative scorecard

See also

External links