The core idea behind the institutions of representative government — state legislatures, city councils, Congress — is that lawmakers, sometimes called “representatives,” endeavor to implement “the will of the people.”
To do so . . . necessarily entails knowing the public’s preferences.
Hmmm. How to find out what people want? Or don’t?
A ballot initiative sponsored by Tim Eyman and Voters Want More Choices offered one method, mandating advisory votes for Washington State’s electorate to approve or disapprove the last 19 tax increases passed by legislators.
These advisory tax questions sometimes garnered more votes than races for superintendent of public instruction and the state supreme court. Results? Mixed. Seven times voters favored the legislators’ tax hikes, while opposing the other 12.
Either way, good info for legislators to know, no?
No . . . apparently. Conceited Washington state politicians don’t want to know what voters think. The core idea behind Senate Bill 5224 is stopping voters from officially expressing their will on taxes by getting rid of these pesky advisory votes.
In testimony last week, Tim Eyman reminded legislators that voters have four times mandated advisory votes on tax increases (2007, 2010, 2012, 2015); have six times voted to require a two-thirds legislative majority to raise taxes, only to have those measures overturned in court; and that legislators have prevented citizens from using the state’s referendum process by attaching phony emergency clauses to tax hikes.
“Give the peasants a couple of crumbs,” Eyman beseeched, “and let them at least express an opinion at the ballot box.”
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.