Northwest Voices | Letters to the Editor
Initiative 1053 -- two-thirds tax approval requirement -- ruled unconstitutional
Two-thirds vote is a job killer
The King County Superior Court’s ruling that Initiative 1053 is unconstitutional was a first step toward restoring Washington’s ability to act decisively to create jobs and build a strong economy.
I-1053, which requires a two-thirds legislative vote to raise taxes — instead of the simple majority we use to decide all other legislation as well as elections — gave too much power to too few. Just 17 legislators out of 147 could block the will of the majority.
This is about more than process. The impact of I-1053 on beleaguered Washingtonians was brutal. The state’s response to the worst recession in a lifetime was huge cuts in education, transportation, health care and other building blocks of a strong economy — instead of a balanced approach that also includes revenues.
If the state Supreme Court upholds the ruling, maybe we can go back to making the kinds of investments that made Washington a great state in which to live, raise a family and run a business. In its June 1 editorial [“State Supreme Court should support I-1053”], The Seattle Times opposed the ruling, saying I-1053 placed needed restraints on the Legislature. But requiring a majority vote already is a restraint. Demanding a two-thirds vote, as we’ve seen, is a job-killing disaster.
— Remy Trupin, executive director, Washington State Budget & Policy Center, Seattle