Washington State Senate Repeals I-601 Taxpayer Protection

Don Benton sent the following alert.

The headline in the Seattle P-I tells the story: “Senate passes amendment to I-601, making it easier to raise taxes.”

On Tuesday, in a late night session, Senate Democrats pushed aside the last obstacle blocking a massive tax increase this year. They passed Senate Bill 6078 without a vote to spare: 25 to 21.

Senate Floor Leader Tracey Eide and Ways and Means Chair Margarita Prentice led the tax increase effort.

For twelve years, Initiative 601 has protected Washington taxpayers by requiring a two-thirds vote in the Legislature to raise taxes. The new law allows a simple majority to raise taxes. It contains an emergency clause so it will take effect immediately and it cannot be subjected to a voter referendum.

The “emergency” will allow Gov. Gregoire and the Democrats to raise taxes without consulting with Republicans. They hold majorities in both houses of the Legislature.

“This is the final nail in the coffin of Initiative 601,” Republican Senator Joe Zarelli said. “It gets rid of, forever, the requirement that to raise taxes we actually need to talk to each other."

For 12 years the Legislature had some restraint on raising taxes but now the party's over. Or for the Democrats, the party's just begun.

Josh Poulson

Posted Monday, Mar 21 2005 09:25 PM

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Linked Tuesday, Sep 20 2005 10:42 AM

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