Impact in Eastern Washington: Tax Supermajority Vote Coming to Spokane

On Monday evening, December 17th, the Spokane City Council approved sending voters a Washington Policy Center recommendation — a supermajority requirement to raise taxes at the local level based on I-1185 that state voters approved in November.

The Spokesman-Review points out that WPC was instrumental in bringing this policy idea to Spokane, recommending it be brought up by councilmembers in November, briefing lawmakers on how it and other requirements have worked, and offering assistance while it worked through the legislative process. That process culminated on December 17th when WPC's Eastern Washington director Chris Cargill testified on the measure, which passed 6-1, with even liberal councilmembers supporting the right of voters to decide the issue.

If approved by voters, all new or increased taxes in Spokane will require five votes instead of the current four — a critical change that will give state legislators pause before trying to push off more costs on municipalities. Pierce County voters approved a similar supermajority requirement for new taxes in the county last November. Spokane, the second largest city in the state, would be Washington’s first city to adopt a supermajority requirement, sending a clear message to Olympia.

Rarely can Washington Policy Center so easily point to something that gives us credit for a policy idea as the facts in these articles do. Our work is making a difference, and the people of our state are seeing that more and more.