Chronology of Initiative 601 Amendments

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This chronology lists the statutory amendments to Initiative 601 that have been enacted since the voters' adoption of the initiative in 1993.


Initiative 601 enacted by the voters. Two sections of the initiative take effect.


The remainder of Initiative 601 takes effect.


Assessments imposed by agricultural commodity commissions are exempted fromI­601's limitation on administrative fee increases.(SB 5514)


Referendum49 amends Initiative 601 toallow a diversion of Motor Vehicle Excise Tax revenues without lowering the state expenditure limit, authorizes the MVET distributions to be used to reimburse local governments for state mandates, and "reenacted and reaffirmed" Initiative 601.


State Investment Board is given investment authorityover the Emergency Reserve Fund.(SB 6063)

Initiative 695 expandsI­601 to require voter approval of increased state and local taxes, fees, and charges. (The initiative was subsequently held unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court.)


$35 million from interest earnings i nthe Emergency Reserve Fund are transferred annually to the Transportation Multimodal Account.(SB 6876)

The maximum level of the Emergency Reserve Fund is changed from 5 percent of biennial revenues to 5 percent of annual revenues.(HB3169)

The State Treasurer is authorized to reconcile deposits to the reserve funds to reconcile actual revenue levels with previously forecasted levels.(HB3169)

The state spending limit is adjusted upward for program costs or moneys that are transferred into the state General Fund (the "two­waystreet").(HB3169)

New local taxes that are credited against state revenues will result in a downward adjustment in the state expenditure limit.(HB3169)

The State Expenditure Limit Committee is established and granted authority to calculate the expenditure limit(HB3169).

75 percent of excess revenue from the Emergency Reserve Fund is transferred to the Student Achievement Fund; the remainder flows to the General Fund.(Initiative 728)

The diversion of state lottery proceeds and state property tax revenues to the Student Achievement Fund doesnotlower the state expenditure limit. (Initiative 728)


Assessments imposed by the forest products commission are exempt fromI­601's limitation on administrative fee increases.(SHB 1835)


The super majority vote requirement for the Legislature to increase state taxes or to appropriate money from the Emergency Reserve Fund is suspended for the 2001­03 fiscalbiennium.(SB 6819)

The expenditure limit is not lowered to reflect General Fund transfers to the Criminal Justice Treatment Accountand the VRDE Account(HB2338), or certain transfers to the Multimodal Transportation Account(HB2969).


Transfersfromthe EmergencyReserve Fund tothe MultimodalTransportationAccountwere suspended during the 2003­05 biennium(SB 5404).

The EducationConstructionFund maybe used forhigher educationmaintenanceduring the 2003­05 biennium(SB 5401).


SB 6078 madethe following changes:

Effective immediately, the Legislature may increase taxes by a simple majority vote until June 30,2007. After that date, a two­thirds vote will again be required.

Effective forthe 2007­'09 bienniumand thereafter,the state expenditure limitwillapplyto the state GeneralFund and five "related funds": Health Services Account; Violence Reduction & Drug Enforcement Account; Public Safety & Education Account; Water Quality Account; and Student Achievement Fund.

The fiscalgrowthfactorwillbe based ona ten­yearaverage ofstate personalincome growth, instead of a three­year average of population growth and inflation (effective July 1, 2007).

The bill contains other provisions modifying the membership of the state Expenditure Limit Committee, the "two­way street, "transfers to the Emergency Reserve Fund, and interest payments to the Multimodal Account (effective July 1, 2007).


ESSB6896 made the following changes:

The FiscalYear 2006 expenditure limit is calculated based on the limitestablished atthe November 2005 Expenditure Limit Committeemeeting and adjusted upward to reflect 2006 appropriations to establish budget reservesinthe Health Service sAccount, Student Achievement Fund, and the new Pension Funding Stabilization Account.

The Legislature's authority to increase taxes by a simple majority vote ends on June 30, 2006.


ESSB5311 abolished the Emergency Reserve Fund, to be replaced by the constitutionally established Budget Stabilization Account ("rainydayfund") pursuant tovoter ratification of SJR8206 at the November 2007 general election.

The Education Construction und maybe used for higher education maintenance during the 2007­09 biennium (ESHB 1092).

Initiative 960,adopted by the voters at the November 2007 general election, modified several provisions of Initiative 601:

I­601's super majority requirement for legislative revenue increases is revised to apply to legislative actionthat "raises taxes," which is defined as anyaction or combination of actions by the Legislature that increases state tax revenue deposited in any fund, budget, or account,regardless of whether the revenues are deposited into the General Fund. 

Aten­yearcostprojectionforanytaxorfeelegislationisrequired tobe published bythe OfficeofFinancialManagement.The costprojectionmustbe updated ateachstep ofthe legislative processand mustinclude eachlegislator'scontactinformationand vote onthe legislation.

An advisory vote of the people is required if legislative action raising taxes is not subject to a referendum (if it contains an emergency clause, for example).

No administrative fee may be imposed or increased bya state agency without prior legislative approval, regardless of whether the fee increase is in excess of the fiscal growth factor.



David Schumacher
OFM Director (Chair)

Noah Purcell
Attorney General Designee

Sen. John Braun
Senate Ways & Means

Rep. Drew Stokesbary
House Appropriations

Sen. Christine Rolfes
Senate Ways & Means

Rep. Timm Ormsby
House Appropriations