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Washington Rainy Day, Engrossed Substitute SJR 8206 (2007)

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Amendments

The Washington Rainy Day Amendment, also known as Engrossed Substitute Senate Joint Resolution 8206, was on the November 6, 2007 ballot in Washington as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was approved. The measure required transferring 1% of the annual general state revenues to a budget stabilization account.[1] The measure amended Section 12 of Article VII of the Washington Constitution.[2]

Election results

Washington En. Sub. SJR 8206 (2007)
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 1,048,562 67.74%
No499,29232.26%

Election results via: Washington Secretary of State

Text of measure

See also: Washington State Constitution, Section 12 of Article VII

The language that appeared on the ballot:[1]

This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.

The legislature has proposed a constitutional amendment on establishment of a budget stabilization account.

This amendment would require the legislature to transfer 1% of general state revenues to a budget stabilization account each year and prohibit expenditures from the account except as set forth in the amendment.

Should this constitutional amendment be:

Approved [ ] Rejected [ ]

Support

Arguments

The following reasons were given in support of En. Sub. SJR 8206 in the Washington 2007 Voters' Guide:[1]

This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.

ESSJR 8206: WASHINGTON SHOULD SAVE FOR RAINY DAYS

Feast or famine? Washington’s economy is sometimes up and sometimes down. Unexpected dips in state revenues from a down economy can force the legislature to either raise taxes or cut critical services just when they are needed most.

PREVENT TAX INCREASES AND PROTECT VITAL SERVICES

The Rainy Day Fund is a simple idea, recommended by the bipartisan Gates Tax Commission to save money during the good times so we are prepared for the bad. Every year 1% of state revenues are automatically put into the fund. Until the fund reaches 10% of state revenues, the money can only be spent when the economy declines seriously, as it did after 9/11, or if there is a catastrophic emergency requiring immediate action. If other unforeseen circumstances come up, a 60% majority of the legislature can approve releases. The spending rules are enforced by the Constitution, making the savings account more secure.

OVERWHELMING BIPARTISAN SUPPORT

The bill introducing this amendment was proposed by Governor Gregoire and approved by overwhelming bipartisan majorities in both the House and Senate.

REQUIRE OLYMPIA TO BUDGET LIKE WASHINGTON FAMILIES Families prepare for rainy days. State government should do the same.
Vote YES on ESSJR 8206!

The arguments in favor of En. Sub. SJR 8206 were prepared by:[1]

  • Ross Hunter (D-48a), Chairman, Finance Committee
  • Lisa Brown (D-3), Majority Leader
  • Joseph Zarelli (R-18), Ranking Member, Ways and Means Committee
  • Gary Alexander (R-2a), Ranking Member, Appropriations Committee
  • Hugh Spitzer, public finance lawyer and law professor.

Opposition

Arguments

The following reasons were given in opposition to En. Sub. SJR 8206 in the Washington 2007 Voters' Guide:[1]

This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.

PROPOSED STABILIZATION ACCOUNT VOTE RESTRICTS CRITICAL DECISIONS.

This proposal restricts the legislature’s ability to make critical decisions by requiring a "super majority" vote for expenditures from the stabilization account. It would allow a small minority to block decisions by the majority and would apply even in critical areas such as spending for education and health care. It violates our long-standing practice of majority decision making. Exceptions are made only for a state of emergency or very low employment growth.

YOU CAN’T PREDICT THE FUTURE.

This resolution fails to look forward. We can never predict what will happen. A major earthquake might bring consensus to legislators from different parties – but what about cuts from the federal government or a crashing economy? Partisan politics may stop access to needed funds. Unlike the U.S. Congress, our state must pass a balanced budget. Many programs necessary for the success of our children are now the state’s responsibility. Let’s not handcuff ourselves – restricting our ability to react to growing and unexpected needs.

ESSJR 8206 COULD HURT OUR SCHOOLS AND ESSENTIAL GOVERNMENT SERVICES.

Even when the state’s economy is struggling, ESSJR 8206 will restrict our ability to react. Funds that may be needed to keep our schools afloat, assist our seniors, or stimulate the economy won’t be available. We need stability – not politics.

VOTE NO ON ESSJR 8206.

Vote NO on ESSJR 8206 and keep politics out of our State’s Constitution.

The arguments against En. Sub. SJR 8206 were prepared by:[1]

  • Helen Sommers (D-36), Chair, Appropriations Committee
  • Ken Jacobsen (D-46), Chair, Natural Resources, Ocean, Recreation Committee
  • Sam Hunt (D-22b), Chair, State Government, Tribal Affairs Committee
  • Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-36), Chair, Labor, Commerce, Research, Development Committee
  • Ruth Kagi (D-32b), Chair, Early Learning, Children’s Services Committee
  • Jim Moeller (D-49b), Co-chair, Joint Committee Veterans, Military Affairs.

Path to the ballot

In accordance with the Washington Constitution, the Senate and House approved the proposal by a two-thirds vote before submitting the measure to the voters. The following is the results of the legislature's votes:[1]

Yeas Nays Absent Excused
Senate 45 3 0 1
House 74 23 0 1

See also

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