The Joint Select Committee on Junior Taxing Districts, Municipal Corporations and Local Government Finance held their second meeting this week. There were several interesting presentations by old hands in the world of local governments:
- Hugh Spitzer (Foster Pepper law firm) spoke about constitutional provisions relating to junior taxing districts and cities and counties.
- Steve Lundin (longtime employee of the legislative local government committee and author of a comprehensive history of local governments in Washington State) talked about local governments pre- and post-statehood and past reform efforts in 1967 and 1981; and
- Briahna Taylor (contract lobbyist for a number of cities and counties) presented her research on local government consolidation efforts around the country, including a review of the level of success of government-to-government consolidations versus service-to-service consolidations.
Click here for a link to the committee handouts.
Each speaker raised interesting issues relating to size, purpose, past consolidation efforts, unique qualities of local governments in this state, and reform ideas. Ultimately, the committee will evaluate services and make recommendations on the appropriateness of consolidation.
As called for in the state budget proviso, the committee is also charged with reviewing new revenue options for local governments, reviewing the impacts of Initiative 1183 on public safety needs, and identifying a sustainable plan for the use of excess liquor revenue generated from the implementation of Initiative 1183.
AWC staff will be meeting with members of the joint select committee to discuss the issues of most importance to cities and towns: future revenue options for local governments, and the impacts of the liquor initiative on local government services and budgets.