Proposed initiative to end perpetual corporate welfare

Paula Joneli of Des Moines has proposed this brilliant citizen initiative. As Martha Koester says, “If it requires 2/3 to raise taxes, why shouldn’t it take 2/3 to enact tax breaks?”

An act relating to all Washington State favorable corporate tax treatment.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
INTENT:  To ensure that favorable corporate State tax policies are short-term, achieve a benefit to all Washingtonians, and do not become a perpetual drain on the State’s finances by:
A.      Strictly limiting their duration,
B.      Establishing their true necessity and benefit to the citizens of the State of Washington,
C.      Requiring a 36-month sunset of all current and future favorable Corporate tax treatment, and
D.      Requiring “claw-back” of benefits under certain conditions.
This initiative will immediately abolish all State corporate tax breaks, loopholes, subsidies, and exemptions (favorable corporate tax treatment of any kind) that have been in effect longer than 36 months, and allow those corporate tax breaks, loopholes, subsidies and exemptions of less than 36 months to remain in force until no more than 36 months from their inception.
1.       This initiative will limit all corporate state tax breaks, loopholes, subsidies, and exemptions to no more than 36 months.
2.       This initiative will allow corporate state tax breaks, loopholes, subsidies, and exemptions initiated less than 36 months ago to continue until they reach the 36-month expiration date.  For example, favorable corporate tax treatment initiated in January, 2011 will expire in January, 2014, regardless of prior agreements.
3.       This initiative will require a 2/3 legislative approval or voter approval for all future corporate tax breaks, loopholes, subsidies, and exemptions.
4.       This initiative will require a return of all corporate tax savings from the benefitting corporations if they vacate the State of Washington for any reason within 10 years of the expiration of their corporate tax breaks, loopholes, subsidies, and/or exemptions.
5.       This initiative will set parameters, required majorities, and limits for the granting of future corporate tax breaks, loopholes, subsidies, and exemptions.
a.       Required majority for granting favorable corporate tax treatment will be a 2/3 majority vote in the State Legislature or in a General Election.
b.      Parameters for granting favorable corporate tax treatment will be a clearly measureable benefit to the State of Washington and its citizens; ie: family-wage job creation, environmental innovation, educational improvement, etc.  Specifically excluded will be any action that eliminates jobs, degrades public systems or the environment.
c.       Failure to meet measureable goal(s) will require a payback of tax benefits received during the 3-year duration.  For example, if a corporation promises to create 10,000 family-wage jobs in exchange for favorable tax treatment, and only creates 5,000 such jobs, said corporation will be required to repay the state 50% of the benefit received; and so on.
d.      Obligation to re-pay will NOT be subject to write-off in bankruptcy proceedings.  This obligation will be treated as any federal tax lien.
e.      All favorable corporate tax treatment will be limited to 36 months duration (no exceptions).  Corporations may re-apply at the end of this period, ONLY upon proving that measureable goals have been met or exceeded.  The re-application will include new measureable goals for the new favorable tax treatment.  This is NOT a renewal.  This is an entire NEW application with NEW measureable goals.
f.        Family wage job will be defined as providing full benefits (sick-leave, vacation, medical/ dental coverages) and paying 50% (?) above the county poverty level, as determined by the __________ Index.

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