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Published on Friday, February 6, 2015

Fiscal impacts of initiatives and referenda

Several bills and a constitutional amendment have been introduced that would add fiscal impact information disclosure requirements on Initiatives and Referenda. Late last month, three bills with different approaches were heard in the House State Government Committee. HB 1228 and HB 1229 expand requirements for information needed about fiscal impacts. HB 1364 creates a citizens’ initiative review oversight committee that, at a minimum, must consider the fiscal impact of up to two measures, the availability of funds to conduct the review, the significance of other impacts on the public, and other criteria established by the committee. This approach is modeled on a similar process in Oregon.

Other measures have also emerged. SB 5535 establishes a citizens’ initiative review pilot program and SJR 8201/HJR 4204 propose a Constitutional Amendment that prohibits initiatives that cause the state budget to violate the statutory balanced budget requirements. None of these bills have been scheduled for hearing.

Finally, another proposal, SB 5715, requires any initiative impacting the state budget by more than $25 million to include the following statement in the ballot title: "The state budget office has determined that this proposal would have a net impact of (amount) on the state general fund. This means other state spending may need to be reduced or taxes increased to implement the proposal." The Senate Ways & Means Committee will hear the bill on Monday, February 9 at 3:30 pm.

Categories: General government