This constitutional amendment would require the state calculate the constitutional debt limit by offsetting the estimated interest payment by the sum of scheduled federal payments.
Article VIII, section 1, of the Washington Constitution authorizes the state to borrow money to be repaid over time with interest and sets a limit on the aggregate debt the state may assume. The proposed amendment would not change the constitutional debt limit. It would modify the annual calculation used to determine whether the state’s debt is within the constitutional limit.
Votes cast by the 2010 Legislature on final passage:
Senate: Yeas, 44; Nays, 0; Absent, 0; Excused, 5
House: Yeas, 69; Nays, 27; Absent, 0; Excused, 2
- The federal government has changed the way it subsidizes interest rates for bonds issued by state and local governments. This amendment changes the definition of “interest” in our State Constitution, to make State General Obligation Bonds eligible for this new federal subsidy, called “Build America Bonds.” It does not change the state’s constitutional debt limit. It would not obligate the state or federal government to more debt.
Supporters: Jim L. McIntire, Washington State Treasurer; Sen. Karen Fraser, 22nd Legislative District, Capital Budget Chair; Sen. Lisa Brown, 3rd Legislative District, Senate Majority Leader; Sen. Dale Brandland, 42nd Legislative District, State Senator; Daniel J. Evans, former Washington State Governor and US Senator; David Johnson, Washington State Building and Construction Trades Council.
- If approved, SJR 8225 would allow the treasurer to take on more debt. Now is the time for fiscal responsibility, not more debt through accounting gimmicks.
Opponents: Mike Hope, State Representative, 44th District; Jim McCune, State Representative, 2nd Legislative District.