43.135.031  <<  43.135.034 >>   43.135.0341

RCW 43.135.034

Tax legislation—Two-thirds approval—Referral to voters—Conditions and restrictions—Ballot title—Declarations of emergency—Taxes on intangible property—Expenditure limit to reflect program cost shifting or fund transfer.

(1)(a) Any action or combination of actions by the legislature that raises taxes may be taken only if approved by a two-thirds vote in both the house of representatives and the senate. Pursuant to the referendum power set forth in Article II, section 1(b) of the state Constitution, tax increases may be referred to the voters for their approval or rejection at an election.
(b) For the purposes of this chapter, "raises taxes" means any action or combination of actions by the state legislature that increases state tax revenue deposited in any fund, budget, or account, regardless of whether the revenues are deposited into the general fund.
(2)(a) If the legislative action under subsection (1) of this section will result in expenditures in excess of the state expenditure limit, then the action of the legislature may not take effect until approved by a vote of the people at a November general election. The state expenditure limit committee must adjust the state expenditure limit by the amount of additional revenue approved by the voters under this section. This adjustment may not exceed the amount of revenue generated by the legislative action during the first full fiscal year in which it is in effect. The state expenditure limit must be adjusted downward upon expiration or repeal of the legislative action.
(b) The ballot title for any vote of the people required under this section must be substantially as follows:
"Shall taxes be imposed on . . . . . . . in order to allow a spending increase above last year's authorized spending adjusted for personal income growth?"
(3)(a) The state expenditure limit may be exceeded upon declaration of an emergency for a period not to exceed twenty-four months by a law approved by a two-thirds vote of each house of the legislature and signed by the governor. The law must set forth the nature of the emergency, which is limited to natural disasters that require immediate government action to alleviate human suffering and provide humanitarian assistance. The state expenditure limit may be exceeded for no more than twenty-four months following the declaration of the emergency and only for the purposes contained in the emergency declaration.
(b) Additional taxes required for an emergency under this section may be imposed only until thirty days following the next general election, unless an extension is approved at that general election. The additional taxes expire upon expiration of the declaration of emergency. The legislature may not impose additional taxes for emergency purposes under this subsection unless funds in the education construction fund have been exhausted.
(c) The state or any political subdivision of the state may not impose any tax on intangible property listed in RCW 84.36.070 as that statute exists on January 1, 1993.
(4) If the cost of any state program or function is shifted from the state general fund to another source of funding, or if moneys are transferred from the state general fund to another fund or account, the state expenditure limit committee, acting pursuant to RCW 43.135.025(5), must lower the state expenditure limit to reflect the shift. For the purposes of this section, a transfer of money from the state general fund to another fund or account includes any state legislative action taken that has the effect of reducing revenues from a particular source, where such revenues would otherwise be deposited into the state general fund, while increasing the revenues from that particular source to another state or local government account. This subsection does not apply to: (a) The dedication or use of lottery revenues under RCW 67.70.240(1)(c), in support of education or education expenditures; (b) a transfer of moneys to, or an expenditure from, the budget stabilization account; or (c) a transfer of money to, or an expenditure from, the connecting Washington account established in RCW 46.68.395.
(5) If the cost of any state program or function and the ongoing revenue necessary to fund the program or function are shifted to the state general fund on or after January 1, 2007, the state expenditure limit committee, acting pursuant to RCW 43.135.025(5), must increase the state expenditure limit to reflect the shift unless the shifted revenue had previously been shifted from the general fund.
[ 2015 3rd sp.s. c 44 § 421; 2013 c 1 § 2 (Initiative Measure No. 1185, approved November 6, 2012); 2011 c 1 § 2 (Initiative Measure No. 1053, approved November 2, 2010).]
NOTES:
Effective date2015 3rd sp.s. c 44: See note following RCW 46.68.395.
Intent2013 c 1 (Initiative Measure No. 1185): "This initiative should deter the governor and the legislature from sidestepping, suspending, or repealing any of Initiative 1053's policies which voters approved by a huge margin in 2010. The people insist that tax increases receive either two-thirds legislative approval or voter approval and fee increases receive a simple majority vote. These important policies ensure that taxpayers will be protected and that taking more of the people's money will always be an absolute last resort." [2013 c 1 § 1 (Initiative Measure No. 1185, approved November 6, 2012).]
Construction2013 c 1 (Initiative Measure No. 1185): "The provisions of this act are to be liberally construed to effectuate the intent, policies, and purposes of this act." [2013 c 1 § 7 (Initiative Measure No. 1185, approved November 6, 2012).]
Short title2013 c 1 (Initiative Measure No. 1185): "This act is known and may be cited as "Save The 2/3's Vote For Tax Increases (Again) Act."" [2013 c 1 § 9 (Initiative Measure No. 1185, approved November 6, 2012).]
Contingent effective date2011 c 1 §§ 2 and 3 (Initiative Measure No. 1053): "Sections 2 and 3 of this act take effect if, during the 2010 legislative session, the legislature amends or repeals RCW 43.135.035." [2011 c 1 § 9 (Initiative Measure No. 1053, approved November 2, 2010).]
Intent2011 c 1 (Initiative Measure No. 1053): "This initiative should deter the governor and the legislature from sidestepping, suspending, or repealing any of Initiative 960's policies in the 2010 legislative session. But regardless of legislative action taken during the 2010 legislative session concerning Initiative 960's policies, the people intend, by the passage of this initiative, to require either two-thirds legislative approval or voter approval for tax increases and majority legislative approval for fee increases. These important policies ensure that taking more of the people's money will always be an absolute last resort." [2011 c 1 § 1 (Initiative Measure No. 1053, approved November 2, 2010).]
Construction2011 c 1 (Initiative Measure No. 1053): "The provisions of this act are to be liberally construed to effectuate the intent, policies, and purposes of this act." [2011 c 1 § 6 (Initiative Measure No. 1053, approved November 2, 2010).]
Short title2011 c 1 (Initiative Measure No. 1053): "This act shall be known and cited as Save The 2/3's Vote For Tax Increases Act of 2010." [2011 c 1 § 8 (Initiative Measure No. 1053, approved November 2, 2010).]
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