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Washington Budget Stabilization Account Amendment, SJR 8206 (2011)

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SJR 8206
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Type:Constitutional amendment
Referred by:Washington Legislature
Topic:State budgets
Status:Approved Approveda
Washington Budget Stabilization Account Amendment, SJR 8206 appeared on the November 8, 2011 statewide ballot in Washington as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment where it was approved Approveda.

The measure requires the transfer of additional funds to the budget stabilization account if the state has received "extraordinary revenue growth."

Election results

See also: 2011 ballot measure election results
Washington SJR 8206
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 1,186,069 66.6%
No594,68733.4%

Source: Washington Secretary of State, official election results[1]

Text of measure

Title

The ballot title read:[2]

This amendment would require the legislature to transfer additional moneys to the budget stabilization account in each fiscal biennium in which the state has received “extraordinary revenue growth,” as defined, with certain limitations.

Should this constitutional amendment be:

[ ] Approved

[ ] Rejected
Gov. Chris Gregoire and Secretary of State Sam Reed officially certify the 2011 General Election returns, 12-5-11

Constitutional changes

See also: Washington SJR 8206 (2011), constitutional text changes

SJR 8206 amended Article VII, Section 12 of the Washington Constitution.

Support

  • The Association of Washington Business said, "Had we had this measure in place when we had a revenue surplus in the late ‘90s and early 2000s, would have spared us some of the budget heartaches we have today. SJR 8206 puts us on the right path by requiring the state to develop a rainy-day fund so that when times are good again, we will be able to start saving."[3][4]

According to the Washington Secretary of State's website, the following was a statement in favor of the measure that appeared on the state voter guide:[5]

"Overwhelming Bipartisan Support for Strengthening Voter-Approved Rainy Day Fund: In 2007, voters approved the creation of a constitutionally-protected rainy day fund that requires state government to set aside 1% of revenues annually for hard times. SJR 8206, a bipartisan measure, strengthens this fund by requiring a portion of “extraordinary” revenue – that which exceeds 133% of historical average growth – be saved, rather than spent.

Use Good Economic Times to Prepare for Bad: State government should save more money during good times, like the housing boom of several years ago when revenue grew at more than twice the historical average. Saving more of this windfall would have better prepared the state for the downturn that followed.

Approving SJR 8206 will help: Build stronger reserves, leaving the state better prepared for difficult economic times; and Keep spending at a more sustainable level, limiting expansions based on unexpected or windfall revenue.

Protect Vital Services: A robust rainy day fund protects crucial state services like education and healthcare from deep cuts in bad economic times like we are experiencing now. Putting extraordinary revenue in the fund provides this cushion.

Plan for the Future: Just as your family would not take on unsustainable commitments if you received an unexpected windfall, neither should Olympia. SJR 8206 puts windfall revenue in the rainy day fund for extraordinary use, protecting state services from equally unexpected downturns. Help put an end to roller coaster budgeting – Vote yes on SJR 8206!"

The statement was prepared by Sen. Joseph Zarelli, Rep. Ross Hunter and State Treasurer James McIntire.

Donors

According to the state campaign finance database, there were no registered committees (PACs).

(last updated December 2011)

Opposition

According to the Washington Secretary of State's website, the following was a statement in opposition of the measure that appeared on the state voter guide:[5]

"In 2007 voters amended the constitution to create a ‘rainy day fund’ as a way to force the legislature to save money for bad times. 1% of general funds go into savings for hard times (currently almost $300 million). It’s working well.

8206 requires more than the 1% that voters approved - it would also require that “extraordinary revenues” go into savings. While it sounds like a good idea to save more – the result is people paying taxes and getting nothing for it, except a bigger savings account.

Budget cuts from hard times couldn’t be backfilled with this money, so people would have to live with fewer teachers and nurses, less fish and wildlife enforcement, less clean air monitoring, fewer roads and job creation, all while there was money in the bank waiting for the next recession.

Many people hate it when their bank makes them keep a minimum balance on hand when bills are due. 8206 would effectively raise that minimum balance so class sizes get bigger, prisoners get released early, there is less law enforcement, and there is less help available to people in need.

8206 decreases the amount of taxpayer money that can be used for things taxpayers want and need (and paid for) so it can sit in an already existing rainy day fund with plenty of money in it. It means budget cuts become permanent and you aren’t getting the government you paid for. Please vote no."

The statement was prepared by Rep. Zack Hudgins, Rep. Sam Hunt, Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson, Rep. Bob Hasegawa, Rep. Jamie Pedersen and Washington State Labor Council AFL-CIO president Jeff Johnson.

Donors

According to the state campaign finance database, there were no registered committees (PACs).

(last updated December 2011)

Media editorial positions

See also: Endorsements of Washington ballot measures, 2011

Support

  • The Olympian said, "SJR 8206 forces lawmakers to set aside more money when times are good and state coffers are flush. Under this ballot proposal anytime the state is experiencing “extraordinary revenue growth,” lawmakers would be required to transfer three-fourths of that additional revenue into the savings account. The measure defines what constitutes “extraordinary revenue growth.” In essence the measure says that when revenue exceeds 133 percent of historical average growth, the money must be saved rather than spent. That’s sound fiscal discipline. Voters should vote “yes” on SJR 8206 on Nov. 8."[6]
  • The Columbian said, "This proposed amendment to the state constitution would direct a portion of “extraordinary” revenue (above 133 percent of historical average growth) to the state’s rain day fund. The legislation passed unanimously in the Senate and by a 76-10 vote in the House. For this SJR as well, The Columbian strongly recommends a “Yes” vote."[7]
  • The Spokesman-Review said, "The past couple of bienniums have featured painful cutting, which is probably why Republican and Democratic budget writers are backing this change. It would’ve been nice to have larger reserves to draw upon. Plus, the spending that occurred in lieu of building reserves has made balancing the budget more difficult. Voters should adopt SJR 8206 to help prevent legislators from digging such deep holes in the first place."[8]
  • The Walla Walla Union-Bulletin said, "SJR 8206 and SJR 8205 should be approved. One makes the state's Rainy Day Fund stronger while the other fixes a conflict in the constitution by establishing a 30-day residency requirement to vote."[9]
  • Sound Politics said," This initiative requires the state to deposit a portion of extraordinary revenue, defined as growth of general state revenue that is more than one third greater than a baseline average over the previous ten years, into the rainy day fund. If passed, it will provide a restraint on the Legislature from ramping up expenditure in the good economic years as if those years will continue forever. Part of our current budget problems comes from increased pending when revenue was high but now can't be sustained as revenue falls due to the recession."[10]
  • The News Tribune said, "The time to pass this measure is now, when the folly of the feast-and-famine cycle is all too painfully apparent. Then we can all look forward to the happy day when “extraordinary revenue growth” triggers this prudent amendment."[11]
  • The Seattle Times said, "SJR 8206 would save more than the 1 percent in the best years. When state revenues grow more than one-third faster than the 10-year average, the Legislature would have to save three-quarters of the money above the one-third. That way, the Legislature would have less money to fund new programs with extraordinary windfalls."[12]
  • The Yakima-Herald Republic said, "SJR 8206 would buttress the state's rainy day fund by allocating "extraordinary" revenues during flush times, assuming they return, to the fund. This would even out budget bumps during economic downturns such as now."[13]
  • The Tri-City Herald supported SJR 8206.[14]
  • The Herald Everett said, "Most state lawmakers, it appears, recognize that they have a problem saying no to new spending. So this fall, they're asking voters to force some discipline. Voters should oblige them by approving Senate Joint Resolution 8206, a constitutional amendment that would direct big, temporary spikes in revenue into the state's rainy day fund."[15]
  • The Bellingham Herald said, "The time to pass this measure is now, when the folly of the feast-and-famine cycle is all too painfully apparent. Then we can all look forward to the happy day when "extraordinary revenue growth" triggers this prudent amendment."[16]
  • The Wenatchee World said, "It also won’t mean much now, but for future considerations it would be wise to approve Senate Joint Resolution 8206, a constitutional amendment on the fall ballot, to close the state budget’s barn door a bit during boom times."[17]

Path to the ballot

See also: How the Washington Constitution is amended

In order to place the measure on the statewide ballot, the measure required at least a two-thirds vote in both the House and the Senate.

On May 21, 2011 the House voted 76-10 in favor of referring the proposed measure to the ballot. The Senate voted 47-0. The proposed measure was filed with the Washington Secretary of State on May 25, 2011.[18]

Timeline

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The following is a timeline of events surrounding the measure:

Event Date Developments
House vote May 21, 2011 House voted 76-10 in favor of the measure
Senate vote May 21, 2011 Senate voted 47-0 in support of the measure
Certified May 25, 2011 The measure was certified and referred to the ballot

See also

By Bailey Ludlam
Ballot measure writer

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Articles

External links

Additional reading

References

  1. Washington Secretary of State - From Our Corner blog,"Gregoire, Reed certify 2011 election returns," December 5, 2011
  2. Washington Secretary of State,"2011 General Election Online Voters' Guide - SJR 8206," accessed July 11, 2011
  3. The Olympian,"Realtors, AWB oppose Eyman's toll measure," September 29, 2011
  4. AWB,"AWB 2011 Candidate, Ballot Measure Endorsements," September 23, 2011
  5. 5.0 5.1 Washington Secretary of State,"2011 General Election Online Voters' Guide," retrieved November 2, 2011
  6. The Olympian,"ELECTION 2011: Constitutional amendments," September 27, 2011
  7. The Columbian,"‘Yes’ on 2 Resolutions," October 20, 2011
  8. The Spokesman-Review,"Editorial: Voting rule, reserve fund both wise proposals," October 20, 2011
  9. Union-Bulletin,"SJR 8206 and SJR 8205 should be approved," October 17, 2011
  10. Sound Politics,"Recommendations for November 8, 2011 Elections," October 24, 2011
  11. The News Tribune,"Yes on SJR 8206: If only we’d had it 10 years ago," October 24, 2011
  12. The Seattle Times,"Support two state constitutional amendments, especially budget-savings measure," October 24, 2011
  13. Yakima-Herald Republic,"Ballots are out -- Here are suggestions on how to vote," October 22, 2011
  14. Tri-City Herald,"Recommendations recap for general election," October 23, 2011
  15. The Herald Everett,"Force some budget discipline," October 5, 2011
  16. The Bellingham Herald,"OUR VIEW: Pass legislative resolutions for voting rights and strengthening 'rainy day' fund," October 29, 2011
  17. The Wenatchee World,"To save for a rainy day is wise," October 28, 2011
  18. Washington State Legislature,"SJR 8206 status," accessed July 11, 2011