SJR 8205 (Supermajority for taxes) on life support
With just hours to go until today's 5 p.m. cutoff in the Legislature, it isn't looking promising for SJR 8205 (Supermajority for taxes) being brought to the floor in the Senate for a vote. The proposed constitutional amendment would implement the policy adopted by the voters on five separate occasions over the past 20 years (since 1993) that tax increases require a 2/3 vote of the Legislature or voter approval. This long-standing voter requirement was thrown out by the State Supreme Court a few weeks ago.
Despite being sent by the Senate Ways and Means Committee to the Rules Committee on March 1, SJR 8205 has not been placed on the Senate floor. Considering the fact I-1185 was adopted statewide (including King County) with 64% approval and passed in 90% of the state's legislative districts (44 of 49), it is disappointing that Washingtonians will not have the opportunity to approve this policy for a sixth time by adding it to the nearly two-dozen supermajority requirements currently in the state's constitution.
Sunday's Seattle Times has this nifty graphic showing the legislative district support for I-1185.
There is a ray of hope, however, for supporters of this policy. The House today joined the Senate in amending the Legislature's cutoff rules to exempt proposals that "affect state revenues" from the cutoff dates. According to SCR 8402:
. . . the cutoff dates established in House Concurrent Resolution No. 4401 shall not apply to matters that affect state revenue.
Which leads to this question for the state's legal beagles: Does requiring a supermajority vote for tax increases "affect state revenue?"
If it doesn't, voters may have to wait till the next session of the Legislature to continue this debate.
Previous voter-approved amendments adding supermajority requirements to the Constitution
Next steps for the voter approved, but Court tossed 2/3 for taxes requirement
Vote on I-1185 by Legislative District
The day legislative Democrats supported a 2/3 for taxes requirement
Voters' mandate on tax increases