Voters in Spokane want meaningful tax limitation

February 1, 2013

Proposition 2 may be a controversial idea to the politicians and special interest groups who want to increase taxes, but it is not a controversial idea to the people of the Spokane area. We have approved the state-level requirement five times already.

Voters have a long history of strongly supporting a higher threshold to increase the financial burden public officials can place on citizens. Perhaps that is why opponents of Proposition 2 are so angry.

Proposition 2 would adopt a reasonable two-thirds vote requirement for tax increases by the Spokane City Council. Instead of four votes, the council would need five or it could simply refer the tax increase to voters for a simple majority vote.

In an era of increased partisanship, council members would have an incentive to work together and have a broader conversation with voters about the financial burden of living in the City and raising money for programs. It would also give voters more say in the city’s future budget obligations.

Instead of discussing this important ballot proposal, opponents are eager to distract voters. Opponents are throwing everything but the kitchen sink at Washington Policy Center – a statewide independent research organization - for even mentioning the idea. They continue a campaign that doesn’t add to the serious policy discussion that’s important to a Spokane family’s financial stability.

Those opposed to this sensible taxpayer protection policy say voters shouldn’t approve it because the idea supposedly came from “Seattle’s Washington Policy Center.”

The proposal actually came from the people of Spokane, and their City representatives who voted six to one to place it on the ballot. Furthermore, WPC is located right in Spokane (at 801 W. Riverside), and we have offices in Tri-Cities, Seattle and Olympia. We also have an Eastern Washington board made up of nearly 40 business and community leaders all over the region. We are a true statewide member-supported organization.

What’s really important is the policy, not the distractions.

Proposition 2 is the same reasonable, commonsense tax limitation that has been approved five times by voters at the state level and in the Spokane area. When looking at the popular support for this taxpayer protection policy, it’s easy to see why opponents are feeling frantic.

 

Measure                              Spokane County Approval

I-1185 (2012):                                     70%

I-1053 (2010):                                     70%       

I-960 (2007):                                       53%

R-49 (1998):                                        64%

I-601 (1993):                                       62%

 

Proposition 2 gives Spokane voters the opportunity to extend a reasonable taxpayer protection policy to the local level.  This is especially important now because voter-approve d tax limits at the state level may induce Olympia to push new mandates and tax increases down to the local level. To prevent that shuffle, Spokane should adopt the same taxpayer protection at the local level. Pierce County voters did so last fall.

The majority of Spokane voters disagree with those who insist the perceived needs of government must come before the daily needs of Spokane families and local businesses. Proposition 2 is fair, responsible and reasonable public policy, because it will protect small business owners, the elderly living on fixed incomes and working families from a mad rush to raise taxes year in and year out.