Undeterred by four straight losses at the ballot box (2010, 2007, 1998 and 1993), opponents of Washington's nearly 20 year old supermajority vote requirement for tax increases are once again trying to have the voter-approved requirement declared unconstitutional.
In response to this latest legal challenge the Association of Washington Business (AWB) has filed a legal brief defending the law. Among the points AWB makes:
There has been some concern expressed that under Initiative 1185 (supermajority for tax increases), a highway or bridge toll increase would be subject to the same two-thirds vote requirement as tax increases. Nothing in the text of the measure supports this interpretation, however.
Thanks to a budget proviso directing the Washington State Parks Commission to develop a report showing how the agency plans "to make the parks system self-supporting," the future of state parks has taken center stage in recent weeks.
One of the many interesting details in the State Parks Commission's report was this section:
Initiative 1185 will provide Washingtonians this November the opportunity to vote for the fifth time in support of the requirement for tax increases to receive a supermajority vote in the Legislature. Including Washington, 18 states currently have some form of restriction on legislative tax increases.
If you're one of those who likes to wait till the last possible moment to place your ballot in the mail your time is running out. Ballots need to be postmarked by 8 p.m. tonight. Once the "polls" close, we can begin the long wait for results to trickle in over the coming weeks.
According to the National Association of Secretaries of State, however, the vast majority of states require mail-in ballots to actually be received by Election Day. NASS reports:
Judging from the initial budget numbers being projected for 2013-15, the first legislative session for the next Governor will look a lot like the past few legislative sessions: focused on realigning state spending within forecasted revenue.
The Attorney General's Office has submitted the short descriptions for the two non-binding advisory votes that will appear on the November ballot as required by Initiative 960 for tax increases not first submitted to the voters for approval.
Earlier this year State Auditor candidate Rep. Mark Miloscia (D) and Secretary of State candidate Sen. Jim Kastama (D) asked the Attorney General's Office to review the decision by the Office of Financial Management (OFM) to advise agencies to not comply with a state requirement to undergo a quality management assessment.
When adopting for the third time the state's supermajority requirement for tax increases in 2007 with the passage of Initiative 960, voters also approved the requirement for a non-binding advisory vote for any tax increase not first sent to the voters for ratification.
This legal requirement means voters should have the opportunity to consider at least one tax increase advisory vote this fall.
The Secretary of State's Office has certified I-1185 for the November ballot. If approved by voters, I-1185 will mark the fifth time in the last 20 years that voters have adopted the requirement for tax increases to receive a supermajority vote or voter approval.
Here is the track record for the state 2/3 vote requirement for taxes policy at the ballot: