Washington voters have said six times over the past two decades that it should be harder for the state Legislature to raise taxes. Today the state Senate took up a measure, Senate Joint Resolution 8211, which would let the people decide on a constitutional amendment requiring a supermajority to raise taxes. Sen. Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor, voted to send the question to voters but because the measure itself failed to receive support from the Senate’s minority Democrats, it fell short of the 33 votes needed to move to the House of Representatives.
“The fact that there is any opposition to this measure is almost unbelievable,” said Bailey. “The voters of our state have said over and over again that they want this protection from the state taking more of their hard-earned money. The last time the people spoke on this issue, 68 percent of the votes cast in our legislative district supported a two-thirds requirement to raise taxes – but the courts struck that down in 2013. This resolution today would have simply let the voters have a say on a constitutional amendment, and unfortunately the voters’ voices won’t be heard.”
SJR 8211 defines “raising taxes” as actions that increase state tax revenue deposited into any fund, budget or account. The measure would have also required a simple-majority vote in both the House and Senate to impose or raise a fee; that would be a change from the current practice of delegating fee-setting to state agencies.
“I trust the people of our state to exercise their rights to amend their constitution,” Bailey added. “Some here in Olympia think the solution to every problem is just to take more money from the taxpayers, and that is not right. I’m disappointed by the outcome of today’s vote but proud that I stood with the people of our district.”