Times are tough; state revenues, down. So politicians have a choice: 1. Do the one thing economists definitely warn not to do, raise taxes; or 2. Do the one thing powerful lobbies say not to do, cut spending.
In Washington State, guess which one politicians are doing.
Washington’s governor and majorities in both houses are Democrats, and they’re looking to raise taxes. But they have (or had) one little problem: the voters.
In 2007, Evergreen State citizens had voted in a tax limitation measure, I-960, requiring a public two-thirds legislative vote to raise any tax. The Democrats are balking at this. By a simple majority vote they have in effect nullified the law made directly by their constituents.
This galls supporters of the citizen-made law, especially so since I-960 was the THIRD such initiative. Similar measures had passed earlier, in 1993 and 1998.
House Finance Committee Chairman Ross Hunter says that requiring a two-thirds vote for tax increases makes the budget process “unworkable.” By this he means he can’t spend as much as he’d like.
Tim Eyman, who worked to put the measure on the ballot, counters that this kind of attitude is “an admission that Olympia can’t function if it’s forced to obey the law.” Riffing on the theme, Eyman mocked legislators’ arguments as nothing more than “you peasants don’t understand, the rules don’t apply to us.”
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.