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Articles written by Jason Mercier


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  • Consequences of breaching the Snake River dams

    Jason Mercier|Updated May 8, 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 Rel...

  • A policy wish list for Santa, lawmakers

    Jason Mercier, Mountain States Policy Center|Updated Jan 3, 2024

    With shopping behind us, it is time o turn to Santa for those final Christmas presents on our wish list. After comparing the options and reviewing the data on which ones will help bring taxpayers joy in 2024, here are five of the high-demand policy gifts sure to delight users of all ages. 1. A Sherlock Holmes tax transparency bundle kit. Enjoy hours of sleuthing and tax mystery-solving with your favorite detective’s personal kit for understanding taxes. Included in the e...

  • Require supermajority for tax hikes

    Jason Mercier|Updated Nov 1, 2023

    If there’s one thing Americans can still agree on, it’s that tax policy is one of the most consequential decisions our government makes that impacts our economy and family budgets. With the exception of Washington state, policymakers in the mountain states of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming have been very active the last few years prioritizing tax relief while making fiscally conservative budget investments. While this ongoing tax relief effort is to be commended, more can be don...

  • Idahoans support dams on Snake

    Sen. Jim Risch and Jason Mercier|Updated Jul 26, 2023

    Hydropower is an important source of reliable and clean energy for everyone in the. However, with the recent debate surrounding the Snake River dams concentrated on the benefits for and support in Washington state, we want to emphasize just how significant an effect these dams have on Idaho and why we must continue to protect them. As a U.S. Senator and the leader of an independent free-market research organization, we are unified in our effort to protect the Snake River dams and maintain their economic and environmental...

  • Capital gains tax not 'excise' tax

    Jason Mercier, Washington Policy Center|Updated Feb 21, 2023

    Last week, the state Supreme Court heard oral arguments concerning the capital gains income tax. I attended the hearing in person. It is unclear when the court will issue its opinion. The capital gains income tax is first owed on April 18, 2023. There are three possible rulings the court could issue. One possible outcome is for the state Supreme Court to catch the Hail Mary pass thrown by income tax advocates and by judicial fiat now allow a graduated income tax without a...

  • Washington's constitution has broadest definition of property in the country

    Jason Mercier, Washington Policy Center|Updated Nov 3, 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. 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 order to impose a gra...

  • Fair taxes; amend the constitution

    Jason Mercier, Washington Policy Center|Updated Sep 13, 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...

  • Capital gains backers spying

    Jason Mercier, Washington Policy Center|Updated May 19, 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, Washington Policy Center|Updated Apr 6, 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...

  • Emergency powers reform testimony

    Jason Mercier, Washington Policy Center|Updated Feb 10, 2022

    In an emergency, governors need broad powers to act fast. Legislative bodies inevitably take longer to assemble and act than a single executive, so they temporarily delegate their power to the executive in emergencies. But these powers are supposed to be transferred for a limited period of time. For example, in Wisconsin a state of emergency cannot exceed 60 days unless it is extended by a joint resolution of the legislature, and in Minnesota, a governor must call a special...

  • Too many state elected officials

    Jason Mercier, Washington Policy Center|Updated Nov 18, 2021

    TVW recently held a Q&A event between students and the Gov. Jay Inslee discussing various topics, which included dam breaching, homelessness, climate policy, police reform and vaccine mandates. One question was about the governance structure of the state and whether there should be more statewide elected officials to help improve bipartisanship. The governor replied instead that there should be fewer statewide elected officials to improve accountability. At present, the...

  • Do we still need a Legislature?

    Jason Mercier, Washington Policy Center|Updated Oct 18, 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 or lawmakers to offer alternative proposals? These are the questions I find myself asking recently. I’ve spent most of my professio...

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

    Jason Mercier, Washington Policy Center|Updated May 10, 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 Fre...

  • Robust remote testimony to look forward to in 2021

    Jason Mercier|Updated Nov 22, 2020

    There’s no other way to say, 2020 has been just an awful year. It is difficult to believe anything good can come from this mess but I’m really excited to see that one silver lining to our collective misery will be the opportunity for more public participation across the state during the 2021 Legislative Session. With news that lawmakers will primarily be conducting business remotely next year also comes the exciting announcement of expansive remote testimony for citizens. Acc...

  • Is there a state budget cash deficit?

    Jason Mercier, Washington Policy Center|Updated Jul 21, 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...

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