This week, state House Democrats showed their true colors and blocked even a debate on a bill that would make it harder to raise taxes. Specifically, the bill sought to require a 2/3rds legislative vote – or a public vote – to raise taxes.
GOP state Rep. Ed Orcutt, who introduced the motion, argued that the bill should be brought directly to the floor, bypassing the committee process, because the issue has been examined and debated already. He pointed out that the public made their opinion known every time voters supported making it harder to raise taxes via various initiatives, which – time and time again – they approved.
Democrats refused to accept Orcutt’s perfectly reasonable argument. Of course, their reaction came as no real surprise – considering that, for the past 20 years, they have been attempted to undermine the voters’ will concerning making it harder to raise taxes.
Yet, for all their efforts, Democrats have been unsuccessful at convincing Washingtonians that a 2/3rds legislative vote to raise taxes is not a good idea. No doubt, the fact that they introduce some sort of tax increase every singe year probably has something to do with that.
You see, when the idea of a 2/3rds rule was first introduced in 1993, voters passed the initiative by 51 percent of the vote. By 2012, voters were approved the initiative by a whopping 64 percent of the vote. In fact, voters have now approved six initiatives proposing a 2/3rd rule – the most recent of which was Initiative 1366.
Rather than institute a 2/3 rule directly, as past initiatives have done, I-1366 said legislators should give voters a chance to enact a 2/3 rule through a constitutional amendment (changes to Washington’s constitution must originate with the Legislature). If they didn’t give voters that opportunity, the state sales tax would be cut by one penny.
Last week, King County Superior Court Judge William Downing ruled that I-1366 is unconstitutional. Almost immediately, Jay Inslee released a statement applauding the fact that voters’ will would, once again, not be respected – that’s just the type of “leader” he is.
The court’s ruling – and Democrats’ opposition – does not change the fact that voters support the 2/3rds rule. When voters were asked in a recent poll if there should be a requirement for a supermajority vote to raise taxes in the state Legislature, 60% of the survey respondents said yes, there should be.
Making matters still worse for Democrats who stand in opposition to a supermajority vote to raise taxes, a whopping 65% of survey respondents said legislators should give voters a chance to weigh in and vote on a constitutional amendment if the state Supreme Court ruled against I-1366.
Two proposed constitutional amendments addressing a supermajority vote to raise taxes SJR 8208 and SJR 8209, have been introduced in the state Senate. According to the Washington Policy Center, both proposals would “allow voters, for the seventh time, to consider this taxpayer protection policy and, if they choose, to place the requirement into the state’s constitution.”
No doubt, as the have done for the last 20 years, Democrats will do everything in their power to prevent voters from every being able to vote on the measures. Because, they don’t want anything to stand between them and raising your taxes.