Initiative 1053 is a Corporate Power Grab to Control the Legislature

BP Corporation North America, Conoco Phillips, Wells Fargo Bank, Bank of America, Alaska Airlines, Liberty Mutual, US Bank. What do all these corporations and banks and insurance companies have in common? They helped bankroll I-1053 along with Tim Eyman.  They are doing a power grab trying to take away majority votes in our State Legislature and vest power in a minority of Legislators that would comprise only 1/3 of the Legislators in either House of the Legislature.

Why are they doing this? Because they can more easily convince 17 out of 49 Senators  to support their corporate no tax agenda than convince 25 Senators to do so.  It is a blatant power grab. Under I-1053, only 17 Senators (a 1/3 minority) out of 49 would be needed to oppose  repealing special interest tax exemptions like some out of state banks now get or opposing legislation to make polluters like the oil industry pay for cleaning up toxic waste caused by use of the products they sell.

Corporations and banks and insurance companies put their profits as their bottom line, not the public good.  Our elected  State Legislature helps to provide a balance between corporate profits and the public good. Framers of our Washington State Constitution understood that making decisions by a majority vote was the fairest way to make decisions. They wrote it into the Washington State Constitution in Article II, Section 22, which states the Legislature shall act by majority votes.

Trying to require a 2/3 vote for some decisions like taxes,  will specifically benefit corporations and their profits over the public health and welfare. Such a proposal is unconstitutional.  One could just as easily argue that because tax exemptions for businesses and corporations remove revenue from the State budget, that a 2/3 vote should be required to continue existing tax exemptions and create any new tax exemptions. Exemptions should not be given lightly because they place more of a burden on other taxpayers to make up for the revenue lost.

Of course the same corporations supporting I-1053 would oppose this. Yet it is just as logical as their proposal. The unfairness here is also that the current tax exemptions in state law were passed by a simple majority but under I-1053 a 2/3 vote would be required to repeal any exemption because it is defined as increasing taxes. It doesn’t matter whether the exemption has outlived its usefulness or no longer provides any benefit to the state or the public.

I-1053 is the height or arrogance.  The two previous times it was passed by voters (I-601 and I-960), it squeaked by with a scant 51% to 49% vote.  It could nowhere near muster the vote numbers it is now trying to impose on the Legislature.  Voters should reject I-1053 for what it is – a backdoor approach to gain more power and profits for corporate interests at the expense of the rest of the state.

 Voters may think they are limiting their taxes but it is the corporations that are laughing all the way to the bank as they rake in more profits and pass the cost of their doing business in the state onto the public.  I-1053 will decrease the power of the average voter in the Legislative process and increase power in the hands of the self selected corporate elite that can more easily control a minority of 1/3 of the Legislators to further their special interest agenda and pad their bottom line.

Check out the list of big corporate interests and banks and oil companies and think to yourself why they want the public to vote for I-1053. Do you  think it is about the public welfare and health of our state and its voters or is it about their profits?  Do you think it is about educating our children and caring for the needy and seniors or salaries for corporate executives and bankers ?

Here’s a list of the largest donors, many who are based out of state,  that paid to put I-1053 on the Nov. 2, 2010 ballot.  All told some $1,023,115 was raised by corporate and business interests and Eyman.

BP Corporation North America, Warrenville, IL  $65,000

Tesoro Industries Inc, San Antonio, TX $65,000

Washington Restaurant Association $59,000

Conoco Phillips, Huston, TX $50,000

Equilon, Huston, TX $50,000

Washington State Farm Bureau $50,000

Washington State Association of Realtors $25,000

Washington Bankers Association $25,000

Northwest Grocery Association Washington PAC, Wilsonville, OR $15,000

Kemper Holdings LLC $20,000

Community Bankers of Washington $10,000

Sierra Pacific Industries, Redding CA $10,000

Schnitzer Steel Ind, Portland, OR $10,000

Simpson, Tacoma, WA $10,000

Wells Fargo Bank, Minneapolis, MN $10,000

Port Blakeley Tree Farms, Tumwater, WA $8000

WA Aggregates and Concrete, Des Moines, WA $7,500
Martin Selig $5000

Alaska Airlines, $5000

Boise, Boise, ID $5000

Cowles Company, Spokane, WA $5000

Darigold, Seattle, WA $5000

Liberty Mutual, Dover, NH $5000

Plum Creek, Columbia Falls, MT $5000

Sherman Bakery, Shoreline, WA $5000

Simplot, Boise, ID $5000

US Bank, Robbinville, MN $5000

Washington Food Industry, $5000

Washington Food PAC, Portland, OR $5000

Washington Lodging Association PAC, $5000

Washington Oil Marketers Ass.,Port Orchard, WA $5000

Weyerhauser, Federal Way, WA $5000

Yakima Valley Growers-Shippers Association $5000

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