One of my favorite Christmas songs is Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You.” While her wish list is fairly simple, my policy Christmas list for Santa is a little more ambitious. I recently had the opportunity to meet with Saint Nick and told him that all I want for Christmas for the 2022 legislative session is:
• Emergency powers reform: Our system is not meant to be the arbitrary rule of one behind closed doors. It is time to end governance by press conference and return to the normal public legislative process.
• A sales tax cut: With a balanced budget, billions in reserves, and revenue projections continuing to exceed expectations, the case for sales tax relief is overwhelming.
• Washington to regain no income tax status: No one in the world outside of Washington state calls a capital gains tax an excise tax and for good reason. It’s clearly an unconstitutional income tax and the courts should strike it.
• Legislative transparency reforms: Lawmakers should ban title-only bills and not hold public hearings on strikers/substitutes until the text has been publicly available for a full 24 hours.
• Emergency clause reform: No bill should be able to rely on a referendum killing emergency clause unless it receives a three-fifths vote.
• No more word games to be played when taxes are proposed: Don’t follow Lisa Simpson’s bad example of using phrases for tax increases like “temporary refund adjustments.” Be honest about what type of tax is being proposed and don’t try to circumvent constitutional restrictions with word games (looking at you excise tax on income).
In case you think I’m being a little too demanding, I did learn from Cousin Eddie’s wisdom and told Santa if it wouldn’t be too much, I’d like to get something for him too. Something really nice.
Jason Mercier is the director of the Center for Government Reform at the Washington Policy Center.