Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I am very disappointed by yesterday’s Washington State Supreme Court ruling in League of Education Voters v. State of Washington. The court ruled that a two-thirds vote requirement to raise taxes is unconstitutional.
In November, Washington state voters passed Initiative 1185 and reiterated a clear message to the Legislature that it should be difficult to raise taxes. Initiative 1185 repeats earlier initiatives requiring a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to raise taxes. Citizens have voted five times in 20 years to enact a two-thirds vote requirement. Initiative 1185 passed in all 39 counties of the state. And voters in the 25th District passed Initiative 1185 with 71 percent support.
Our state constitution begins with the words, “All political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.” Washingtonians have long recognized the initiative and referendum as essential to the legislative function of government. It is right that the people should check and balance their elected legislators. It is right that the citizens should establish the parameters for tax decisions.
Even with the court ruling, I do not expect that any significant general tax increase could pass the Legislature this year. The House majority may have 50 votes for higher taxes, but the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus (a conservative, bipartisan coalition of Republicans and Democrats) is unlikely to pass a tax hike.
On another matter, last week I wrote about the need for serious reforms to bring down the cost of transportation projects. You can learn more about five transportation reforms I’m supporting in this week’s video update.
468 John L.O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
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