Articles written by Jason Mercier


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  • Consequences of breaching Snake dams

    Jason Mercier, Cheney Free Press|Updated May 23, 2024

    The Snake River dams are critical to the infrastructure of our region, providing not only reliable power but also many other economic benefits. Removing these dams would have many negative impacts. You don't have to take my word for it. Here are some of the findings from the multi-year public process in 2020 conducted by The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation, and Bonneville Power Administration:: "[Breaching] would not meet the objective to Provide a Reliable...

  • Restore balance of power in Olympia

    Jason Mercier, Contributor|Updated Sep 15, 2022

    Gov. Jay Inslee announced last week that he will finally end governing under an emergency order — after more than 900 days —on Monday, Oct. 31. When the Legislature next convenes, it should ensure that this type of ongoing emergency governance without affirmative legislative approval never happens again. Whether or not you agree or disagree with every decision the governor made for the last 900-plus days, the fact remains these decisions with vast impact on individuals and...

  • Fair tax; amend the constitution

    Jason Mercier, Contributor|Updated Sep 8, 2022

    I recently had the opportunity to review all 50 state constitutions and confirmed an important fact for the current capital gains income tax litigation in Washington. Although most state constitutions mention how real, personal, tangible or intangible property should be taxed, the vast majority don’t define those terms. Of those that define property, Washington’s constitution has the broadest definition. This is why our state supreme court has repeatedly ruled that in ord...

  • Shrouded in secrecy: State union negotiations should be public

    Jason Mercier, Contributor|Updated Jul 21, 2022

    Did you know the governor’s office is currently negotiating pay and compensation with state employee unions for the state’s 2023-25 budget? What is on the table? Will the outcome of these secret talks be no tax cuts for Washingtonians but big inflation pay raises for government employees? That answer is currently a mystery since these government pay raise talks happen in secrecy without disclosure of the financial details until the deal is reached. Why is this secret pro...

  • 'It is absolutely unconscionable not to do this'

    Jason Mercier|Updated Jun 30, 2022

    Governor Inslee has repeatedly made it clear that he believes his spending priorities exceed any need to provide tax relief to help families deal with the impact of record inflation. On the same day Inslee declined President Biden’s call for states to provide some type of tax relief, the Democratic Governor of Minnesota was instead begging his legislature to act. As reported by the Minnesota Reformer: “Gov. Tim Walz called on Republicans to return to the Capitol to sign off...

  • Capital gains supporters set up surveillance

    Jason Mercier|Updated May 12, 2022

    Proponents of the unconstitutional capital gains income tax are working overtime to prevent voters from weighing in. First, there was the game last year with the emergency clause to prevent a referendum. Now capital gains income tax supporters are gearing up to counter a potential I-1929 signature gathering campaign by setting up a surveillance system to report any ballot petition signing locations. As reported by the Everett Herald: “Should I-1929 petitions get circulated, o...

  • Year 3 starts under gubernatorial edict

    Jason Mercier|Updated Mar 31, 2022

    Sorry to break the news, Washingtonians, but Year 3 of living under emergency orders by the governor will continue without meaningful legislative oversight. The House officially killed Senate Bill 5909 before adjourning. Although that bill as passed by the Senate was essentially fake reform, several amendments were introduced for the House floor debate to bring the policy back in line with what exists in the rest of the country by requiring affirmative legislative approval...

  • State Supreme Court rules Governor issued illegal vetoes

    Jason Mercier, Contributor|Updated Nov 18, 2021

    In a 7-2 ruling this morning, the State Supreme Court said the partial vetoes the Governor made in the 2019 transportation budget were unconstitutional. When issuing those vetoes the Governor said: “While my veto authority is generally limited to subsections or appropriation items in an appropriation bill, in this very rare and unusual circumstance I have no choice but to veto a single sentence in several subsections to prevent a constitutional violation and to prevent a f...

  • Do we still need a Legislature?

    JASON MERCIER, Contributor|Updated Oct 21, 2021

    With Gov. Jay Inslee telling us his ongoing mandates — developed behind closed doors and imposed without public involvement — are a “raging success,” do we still need the public legislative process for governing? Should one individual decide all policy for Washington, governing by press conference, with no opportunity for the public to comment o lawmakers to offer alternative proposals? These are the questions I find myself asking recently. I’ve spent most of my professio...

  • Legislature failed to help small business, but some good things happened

    JASON MERCIER AND LUNELL HAIGHT, Contributors|Updated Jun 3, 2021

    Washington Policy Center and League of Women Voters of Washington want to thank the Washington State House and Senate’s bipartisan leadership for the remote testimony processes established in the challenging legislative session that just ended. That session was historic in its approach to conducting meetings—the COVID pandemic and need for distancing caused the Legislature to build on the prior remote testimony process and add new virtual participation options, with great benefits to both legislators and the public. While thi...

  • Lawmakers wanted an income tax lawsuit - they'll get two

    JASON MERCIER, Contributor|Updated May 6, 2021

    Public records show lawmakers plan to use the capital gains income tax to set up a lawsuit to try to impose a broad-based graduated income tax. They’re going to get not one, but two. It could be years, however, before we know if the state Supreme Court decides to uphold its numerous rulings saying that you own your income or if they’ll instead reverse course. Just days after the Legislature approved Senate Bill 5096 — which institutes an income tax on capital gains — the con...

  • National vote-by-mail standards needed to avoid election confusion

    JASON MERCIER, Contributor|Updated Oct 22, 2020

    I’ve lived in two exclusive vote-by-mail states during my time as an eligible voter. My first ballot ever cast was via the mailbox in Oregon. There the ballots are due in the hands of election officials by 8 p.m. on election night to be counted. Now living in Washington, I’ve trained myself not to worry about election results until the Friday following election day due to the state’s postmark deadline eligibility for ballots. I’ve often wondered how the country would react to...

  • More calls for a special session

    Jason Mercier, Contributor|Updated Sep 10, 2020

    Voices across the state continue to ask the Governor to call a special session to allow lawmakers to balance the budget and address COVID-19 related policies. A special session would provide the legislative branch of government its first opportunity in more than five months to address problems caused by the pandemic. Sen. Hans Zeiger this week also sent his colleagues a letter calling on them to support a special session. From Sen. Zeiger’s letter (in-part): “I write five and...

  • Washington has too many statewide elected officials

    JASON MERCIER, Contributor|Updated Aug 13, 2020

    With the August primary in the books let’s work to reduce the number of statewide elected offices. At present the people of Washington elect officials to nine statewide offices (not counting justices to the state supreme court). These offices are Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Auditor, Attorney General, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Commissioner of Public Lands and Insurance Commissioner. Yet for many years there has been a debate a...

  • Law requires across-board budget cuts

    Jason Mercier, Washington Policy Center|Updated Jul 23, 2020

    There are two legal options to respond to a state budget deficit: The governor orders across the board budget cuts, or a special session of the Legislature occurs liquidating the deficit. The first is a blunt instrument allowing no thoughtful response. The second provides the people’s legislative branch of government the opportunity to deliberate a more surgical response. ov. Jay Inslee, however, has made it clear he doesn’t plan to call a special session to allow lawmakers to...

  • Will Washington really punt budget action until January?

    JASON MERCIER, Contributor|Updated Jul 9, 2020

    What once seemed inevitable is now growing unlikely — a special session to balance the state’s budget. This is why it was so important to act before the new spending increases took effect on July 1. Once we started the new fiscal year, the likelihood of a special session dropped. By waiting until August, the September revenue forecast is just around corner. Then after September, the November election is just a jump away. Then the temptation to delay until January becomes eve...

  • Public records should be kept public – for everyone

    JASON MERCIER, Contributor|Updated Feb 13, 2020

    When House Bill 1888 was proposed this year to help protect state employee unions from an ongoing battle with the Freedom Foundation, the media was strong in opposition against blowing a hole in the state’s Public Records Act. Sadly, it looks like some in the “Fourth Estate” are now willing to play Solomon and cut access to public records in half by allowing some public records to be hidden from the public, as long as they are still able to receive them. The House State Gover...

  • Initiative 1464 would direct state tax dollars to support political candidates you might oppose

    JASON MERCIER, Contributor|Updated Oct 13, 2016

    This November voters will consider Initiative 1464. Spanning 23 pages and 37 sections, I-1464 is a very complex proposal covering many aspects of campaign finance including a proposed repeal of the current ban on giving tax dollars to political candidates. Starting in 2018, I-1464 would allow eligible individuals to give up to three taxpayer financed $50 contributions (available until funds are exhausted) to “qualified” candidates for their private political campaigns. Thi...

  • 2014 supplemental budget will need to keep state spending limit in mind

    JASON MERCIER, Contributor|Updated Dec 6, 2013

    After going through multiple special sessions to adopt the state’s 2013-15 budget, the last thing lawmakers will want to do is fight about a 2014 supplemental budget. State agencies, however, have already submitted their 2014 supplemental budget wish list requesting a combined spending increase of $895 million and 806 new FTEs. As lawmakers weigh the “restraint” of this proposed spending increase they’ll want to keep in mind the 2013-15 budget is already projected to result...

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