Tag Archives: Washington State Legislature

Help Fund Public Education Now by Ending Tax Exemptions as Off Budget Spending

END TAX EXEMPTIONS AS OFF-BUDGET SPENDING
BY ADDING THEM AS TAX EXPENDITURES TO THE STATE BUDGET!

Washington State currently gives away more revenue from its tax base than it collects. This is a broken tax system built up over many years.  

The Washington State Department of Revenue in their 2016 Tax Expenditure Report  projected for the 2015 -2017 biennium that off budget tax expenditures would total almost $40 billion while only collecting revenue totaling some $32.6 billion.

We don’t generally think of them as such but these tax exemptions, preferences, deductions, credits and deferrals are off budget expenditures. They lack the accountability and transparency that exists for other expenditures the state makes as part of the biennial budget process.

The Governor must as part of the biennial budget process evaluate all expenditures according to a Priorities of Government protocol. Unfortunately tax exemptions do not have the same criteria or scrutiny. The result is that while the state legislature is seemingly unable to comply with  the Washington State Supreme Court’s McCleary decision to fulfill Washington’s “paramount duty” under the Washington State Constitution to fund public education, it excludes from tax collection billions of dollars.

Taxpayers deserve better accountability and transparency of the state’s  tax and revenue system. They deserve to know who is receiving these tax exemptions, how much money is involved and for what reason they are given. They deserve to have a system that prioritizes state needs, not exemptions for special interests and the wealthy that benefit from a system where 90% of the exemptions have no sunset provision while the state budget has a biennial review and vote as to funding.

According to the Washington State Department of Revenue’s  2016 Tax Exemption Study, while the State expects to collect some $7.4 billion in B&O tax revenue in the current 2015 -2017 biennium, it exempts from collection some $11.4 billion. When sales and use taxes were included with the analysis, the results are similar – the state expects to collect some $18.9 billion in revenue from sales and use tax, while exempting some $16.9 billion in revenue

Washington State has created some 694 tax exemptions over the years. Over 450 of these are discretionary tax exemptions, not required by Federal or State constitutional law. These discretionary tax exemptions will account for over $28.3 billion in B &O and sales/use tax revenue not collected in the current biennium..

Including property tax exemptions the 2016 Department of Revenue Report projects that in total, Washington State will see as off budget tax expenditures almost $40 billion in tax exemptions this biennium while only collecting revenues of $32.6 billion for the Legislature to fund its biennial budget.

HB 1500 introduced by Rep.Pollet and 32 other sponsors would require the governor to propose and the state legislature to adopt a Tax Expenditure Budget every 2 years as part of the biennial omnibus operating appropriations act. A companion bill, SB 5513 has been introduced in the WA State Senate by Senator David Frockt with 12 other sponsors.

HB 1500 / SB 5513 would give the Washington State Legislature an opportunity to periodically evaluate the need and effectiveness of the state’s tax exemptions in meeting current state needs. They would do this at the same time they are making budget decisions about prioritizing other state expenditures for public services as part of the biennial budget appropriations process.

What would HB 1500 /SB 5513 – the Tax Exemption Transparency and Accountability Act do?

 This measure would require new and existing discretionary tax exemptions to be authorized every two years in a tax expenditure budget. It will add much needed transparency and accountability to the hundreds of exemptions and preferences, along with their cost and how each decision to spend money on an exemption or preference is a choice to expend funds for this purpose with particular beneficiaries.

The tax expenditure budget would detail the fiscal impact, purpose, and effectiveness in meeting the purpose of each tax exemption.

 Tax exemption not included in the tax expenditure budget would expire at the end of the calendar year in which the budget is adopted.

Contact your Legislators at www.leg.wa.org and urge them to support the Tax Exemption Transparency and Accountability Act.

 Action item – Urging your Legislators to pass HB 1500 and companion bill SB 5513 is easy. You can leave them a message by going to www.leg.wa.gov, entering 1500 or 5513 for the bill number after clicking the bill information link and then clicking on “comment on this bill.” Or call the Legislative hotline at 1-800-562-6000 and leave a message to for your legislators and the Governor to support HB 1500 and SB 5513 to prioritize state spending, accountability and transparency by creating a Tax Expenditure Budget as part of the biennial budget appropriations process.

Be sure to thank your legislators if they are a sponsor of this legislation. Their support is appreciated. Legislators sponsoring HB 1500 – Pollet, Farrell, Appleton, Tarleton, Ryu, Wylie, Santos, Marci, Doglio, Jinkins, Orwall, Tharinger, Stonier, Kagi, Fitzgibbon, Kloba, Stanford, Berquist, McBride, Ortiz-Self, Goodman, Dolan, Cody, Pettigrew, Riccelli, Sells, Hudgins, Kirby, Lovick, Frame, Peterson, Ormsby, Pellicciotti

 Legislators sponsoring SB 5513 – Frockt, Hasegawa, Miloscia, Rolfes, Saldana, Keiser, Wellman, Conway, Chase, Billig, Kuderer, Hunt, McCoy

For more information:Contact Steve Zemke – Director Tax Sanity, Steve@taxsanity.org,  www.taxsanity.org,  

Make Voter Registration Easier in Washington State

Action needed – Two bills currently before the Washington State Legislature will make it easier for voters to register to vote. They have both passed the House and have had a Hearing in the Senate State Government Committee but need citizen input now to get out of committee for a vote by the full Senate.  Please contact committee members and urge them to vote these bills out of committee. The deadline for bills that came from the other house to be voted out of committee is March 29, 2017.

HB 1468 – changes the deadline for voter registration from 29 days before the election to 11 days
HB 1513 – authorizes 16 and 17 years old to sign up to register to vote when they turn 18

Contact members of the Senate State Government Committee to vote these bills out of committee for a full Senate vote. Send an e-mail or call:

Mark Milosca – Chair    mark.miloscia@leg.wa.gov    1-360-786-7648
Hans Zeiger   hans.zeiger@leg.wa.gov    1-360-786-7648
Sam Hunt   sam.hunt@leg.wa.gov    1-360-786-7642
Patty Kuderer   patty.kuderer@leg.wa.gov    1-360-786-7694
Kirk Pearson   kirkpearson@leg.wa.gov     1-360-786-7676

You can also call the toll free  legislative hotline 1-800-562-6000 and leave messages for all of them.

Additionally you can contact your own State Senator and urge her or him to contact Mark Miloscia and Committee members to act on these bills. They need to hear from us. Click on the bill links and click on “Comment on this Bill” and it  will send your message to your  legislators.

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Eight Legislative Races on Ballot in Washington State in 2017

 

There have been a number of special  appointments to fill vacated Legislative seats this year in Washington. As a result there are 5 Senate seats and 3 Representative seats up for election in 2017  because appointments to fill vacancies must stand election at the next General Election.

This provides a unique opportunity for Washington State Democrats to pick  up the Senate seat in the 45th LD in NE King County. Democrats currently are in the minority in the Washington State Senate having only 24 seats to the Republican caucus having 25 seats. Republicans have 25 seats in their caucus because Senator Tim Sheldon, claiming to be a Democrat when he runs, actually caucuses with the Republicans, giving them 25 votes.

The special Legislative elections this year presents a great opportunity for the Democrats to take back the majority in the Washington State Senate.  Democrat Manka Dhingra recently declared she is running for the Senate seat in the 45th LD. Republicans appointed Dino Rossi, a former Legislator and Gubernatorial candidate, to this seat. He has said he was not running in Nov. although this could change considering the importance of this election.

Filing to run in these elections is May 15 -19th. The Primary is August 1st and the general election is Nov. 7th.This is a big opportunity for the surging grassroots opposition to Trump and the GOP  to make a big difference. It is also a chance to get ready for efforts for 2018  to train and challenge ways that grassroots activism can bring e a big change in 2018.

Democrats currently are only 1 seat away from a majority in the Washington State Senate. But they are also only 1 seat away from Republicans controlling the House. Democrats need to increase their numbers in both Houses to be effective and push their legislation.  This year Democrats can start the necessary work now to join California and Oregon in having strong majorities in our Legislature and being able to move forward on the state level to oppose efforts nationally by Trump and the GOP to move our progress backwards. 

List of Legislative races and appointments to the seats:

7th LD Senate – Shelly Short (R)
7th LD House – Jacqueline Maycumber (R)
31st LD Senate – Phil Fortunato (R)
31st LD House – Morgan Irwin (R)
37th LD Senate – Rebecca Saldaña (D)
45th LD Senate – Dino Rossi (R)
48th LD Senate – Patty Kuderer(D)
48th LD House – Vandana Slatter (D)

No Democrats have yet filed to run in the 7th or the 31st races. Republicans will field a candidate in the 45th for sure as well as the 2 seats in the 48th. It is expected that these will be very intensive campaigns with lots of money flowing to both Republicans and Democrats.  Expect that out of state funds from right wing entities like the Koch Brothers will show up.

We need to have Democrats running in every seat – Republicans should have no free ride. And in all these races Democrats can start now registering voters and starting voter contacts to id voters likely to vote Democratic. Marching can get people energized – grassroots organizing is where we make a big difference by changing who’s in charge.

See also  Daily Kos  – Huge – Democrats finally have a chance to take back the Washington State Senate – and turn the State blue.

End Tax Exemptions as Off Budget Spending by Adding Them to the State Budget

 End Tax Exemptions as Off-Budget Spending

by Adding Them as Tax Expenditures to the State Budget!

Washington State HB 1500 -the Tax Exemption Transparency and Accountability Act of 2017 will have a hearing in the State House Finance Committee on Tues. Jan 31st.  Please attend the hearing or comment on the bill on line at leg.wa.gov.

 Why is HB 1500 needed?

We don’t generally think of them as such but tax exemptions, preferences, deductions, credits and deferrals are off budget expenditures. They lack the accountability and transparency that exists for other expenditures the state makes as part of the biennial budget process.

Taxpayers deserve to know who is receiving these tax exemptions, how much money is involved and for what reason they are given.

According to the Washington State Department of Revenue’s  2016 Tax Exemption Study, while the State expects to collect some $7.4 billion in B&O tax revenue in the current 2015 -2017 biennium, it exempts from collection some $11.4 billion. When sales and use taxes were included with the analysis, the results are similar – the state expects to collect some $18.9 billion in revenue from sales and use tax, while exempting some $16.9 billion in revenue

Washington State has created some 694 tax exemptions over the years. Over 450 of these are discretionary tax exemptions, not required by Federal or State constitutional law. These discretionary tax exemptions will account for over $28.3 billion in B &O and sales/use tax revenue not collected in the current biennium..

Including property tax exemptions the 2016 Department of Revenue Report projects that in total, Washington State will see as off budget tax expenditures almost $40 billion in tax exemptions this biennium while only collecting revenues of $32.6 billion for the Legislature to fund its biennial budget according to the Department of Revenue.

HB 1500 introduced by Rep.Pollet and 32 other sponsors would require the governor to propose and the state legislature to adopt a tax expenditure budget every 2 years as part of the biennial omnibus operating appropriations act. A companion bill, SB 5513 has been introduced in the WA State Senate by Senator David Frockt with 12 other sponsors.

HB 1500 / SB 5513 would give the Washington State Legislature an opportunity to periodically evaluate the need and effectiveness of the state’s tax exemptions in meeting current state needs. They would do this at the same time they are making budget decisions about prioritizing other state expenditures for public services as part of the biennial budget appropriations process.

What would HB 1500 /SB 5513 – the Tax Exemption Transparency and Accountability Act do?

 This measure would require new and existing discretionary tax exemptions to be authorized every two years in a tax expenditure budget. It will add much needed transparency and accountability to the hundreds of exemptions and preferences, along with their cost and how each decision to spend money on an exemption or preference is a choice to expend funds for this purpose with particular beneficiaries.

The tax expenditure budget would detail the fiscal impact, purpose, and effectiveness in meeting the purpose of each tax exemption.

 Tax exemption not included in the tax expenditure budget would expire at the end of the calendar year in which the budget is adopted.

Contact your Legislators at www.leg.wa.org and urge them to support the Tax Exemption Transparency and Accountability Act.

 Action item – Urging your Legislators to pass HB 1500 and companion bill SB 5513 is easy. You can leave them a message by going to leg.wa.gov, entering 1500 or 5513 for the bill number after clicking the bill information link and then clicking on “comment on this bill.” Or call the Legislative hotline at 1-800-562-6000 and leave a message to for your legislators and the Governor to support HB 1500 and SB 5513 to create a tax expenditure budget as part of the biennial budget appropriations process. And be sure to thank your legislators if they are a sponsor of this legislation. Their support is appreciated.

 Legislators sponsoring HB 1500 – Pollet, Farrell, Appleton, Tarleton, Ryu, Wylie, Santos, Marci, Doglio, Jinkins, Orwall, Tharinger, Stonier, Kagi, Fitzgibbon, Kloba, Stanford, Berquist, McBride, Ortiz-Self, Goodman, Dolan, Cody, Pettigrew, Riccelli, Sells, Hudgins, Kirby, Lovick, Frame, Peterson, Ormsby, Pellicciotti

 Legislators sponsoring SB 5513 – Frockt, Hasegawa, Miloscia, Rolfes, Saldana, Keiser, Wellman, Conway, Chase, Billig, Kuderer, Hunt, McCoy

  For more information:

Contact Steve Zemke – Director Tax Sanity, steve@taxsanity.orgwww.taxsanity.org,  

cross posted at TaxSanity.org

Washington Chapter Sierra Club 2016 General Election Endorsements

The Washington Chapter of the Sierra Club has made the following endorsements for the 2016 General Election ballot on November 8, 2016.

President – Hillary Clinton/Tim Kaine
US Senate – Patty Murray

US Representatives

  CD 1  Suzan DelBene
 CD 5  Joe Pakootas
 CD 6  Derek Kilmer
 CD  9  Adam Smith
CD 10  Denny Heck

Governor – Jay Inslee
Lieutenant Governor – Cyrus Habib
Attorney General – Bob Ferguson
Commissioner of Public Lands – Hilary Franz
Supreme Court Justice, Position #1 – Mary Yu
Supreme Court Justice, Position #5 – Barbara Madsen
Supreme Court Justice, Position #6 – Charles Wiggins

State Senate
State House
LD  1  Derek Stanford 
LD 1   Shelley Kloba 
LD 2  Amy Pivetta-Hoffman
LD 3  Marcus Riccelli                                                                                                                LD 3  Ormsby, Timm
LD 5  Darcy Burner
LD 10  Doris Brevoort
LD 11  Zack Hudgins
LD 11  Bergquist, Steve
LD 21  Strom Peterson
LD 21  Lillian Ortiz Self
LD 22  Laurie Dolan
LD 22 Beth Doglio
LD 23  Sherry Appleton
LD 23  Drew Hansen
LD 24  Mike Chapman
LD 24  Steve Tharinger
LD 25  Michelle Chatterton
LD 26  Larry Seaquist
LD 26 Randy Spitzer
LD 27  Laurie Jinkins
LD 27  Jake Fey
LD 28  Christine Kilduff
LD 28  Mari Leavitt
LD 29 Davis Sawyer
LD 29 Steve Kirby
LD 30  Mike Pellicciotti
LD 32  Cindy Ryu
LD 32  Ruth Kagi
LD 33  Tina Orwall
LD 33  Mia Gregerson
LD 34 Eileen Cody
LD 34  Joe Fitzgibbon
LD 35  Irene Bowling
LD 38  June Robinson
LD 38  Mike Sells
LD 39  Ronda Metcalf
LD 40  Kristine Lytton
LD 41  Tana Senn
LD 43  Frank Chopp
LD 43  Nicole Macri
LD 44  John Lovick
LD 45  Roger Goodman
LD 46  Gerry Pollet
LD 46  Jessyn Farrell
LD 47  Pat Sullivan
LD 48  Joan McBride
LD 49  Sharon Wylie
LD 49  Monica Stonier
LD 49  Alishia Topper
Clallam County Commissioner, District 2, Port Angeles – Ron Richards
Snohomish County Council – Hans Dunshee
Pierce County Executive – Rick Talbert
Pierce County Commissioner, District 2 – Carolyn Edmonds
Pierce County Commissioner, District 4 – Connie Ladenburg
Pierce County Commissioner, District 6 – Linda Farmer
Thurston County Commissioner, District 1 – Jim Cooper
Thurston County Commissioner, District 2 – Kelsey Hulse

 

Washington Conservation Voters 2016 General Election Endorsements for Legislature

The Washington Conservation Voters works to “elect environmentally responsible candidates” in Washington State. Below is their list of candidates for the Washington State Legislature they think will be leaders in protecting the environment. Additional statewide endorsements and ballot measures endorsements can be seen on their endorsement page.

Washington Conservation Voters     General Election Endorsements                     Washington State LEGISLATIVE RACES 2016

1st District
Senate: Guy Palumbo
House Position 1: Derek Stanford
House Position 2: Shelley Kloba
3rd District
Senate: Andy Billig
House Position 1: Marcus Riccelli
House Position 2: Timm Ormsby
5th District
Senate: Mark Mullet
House Position 1: Jason Ritchie
House Position 2: Darcy Burner
6th District
House Position 1: Lynnette Vehrs
10th District
Senate: Angie Homola
House Position 2: Doris Brevoort
11th District
Senate: Robert Hasegawa
House Position 1: Zachary Hudgins
House Position 2: Steven Bergquist
17th District
Senate: Tim Probst
House Position 1: Sam Kim
21st District
House Position 1: Strom Peterson
House Position 2: Lillian Ortiz-Self
22nd District
Senate: Sam Hunt
House Position 1: Laurie Dolan
House Position 2: Beth Doglio
23rd District
Senate: Christine Rolfes
House Position 1: Sherry Appleton
House Position 2: Drew Hansen
24th District
Senate: Kevin Van De Wege
House Position 1: Mike Chapman
House Position 2: Stephen Tharinger
25th District
House Position 2: Michelle Chatterton
26th District
House Position 1: Larry Seaquist
House Position 2: Randy Spitzer
27th District
Senate: Jeannie Darneille
House Position 1: Laurie Jinkins
House Position 2: Jacob Fey
28th District
Senate: Marisa Peloquin
House Position 1: Mari Leavitt
House Position 2: Christine Kilduff
29th District
House Position 1: David Sawyer
House Position 2: Steven Kirby
30th District
House Position 1: Michael Pellicciotti
House Position 2: Kristine Reeves
32nd District
House Position 1: Cindy Ryu
House Position 2: Ruth Kagi
33rd District
House Position 1: Tina Orwall
House Position 2: Mia Su-Ling Gregerson
34th District
House Position 1: Eileen Cody
House Position 2: Joseph Fitzgibbon
35th District
House Position 1: Irene Bowling
House Position 2: Craig Patti
36th District
Senate: Reuven Carlyle
House Position 1: Noel Frame
House Position 2: Gael Tarleton
37th District
House Position 1: Sharon Tomiko Santos
House Position 2: Eric Pettigrew
38th District
House Position 1: June Robinson
House Position 2: Michael Sells
40th District
Senate: Kevin Ranker
House Position 1: Kristine Lytton
House Position 2: Jeffrey Morris
41st District
House Position 1: Tana Senn
House Position 2: Judith Clibborn
42nd District
House Position 1: Sharlaine LaClair
43rd District
House Position 1: Nicole Macri
House Position 2: Frank Chopp
44th District
House Position 1: John Lovick
House Position 2: Katrina Ondracek
45th District
House Position 1: Roger Goodman
House Position 2: Lawrence Springer
46th District
House Position 1: Gerald Pollet
House Position 2: Jessyn Farrell
47th District
House Position 2: Patrick Sullivan
48th District
House Position 1: Patricia Kuderer
House Position 2: Joan McBride
49th District
Senate: Annette Cleveland
House Position 1: Sharon Wylie
House Position 2: Alishia Topper

Volunteer Signature Gatherers are Collecting Signature for Initiative 735

A grassroots volunteer signature gathering effort is underway in Washington State for Initiative 735. Initiative 735 is sponsored by WAmend – a coalition of citizen groups working for a US constitutional to overturn Citizens United and other US Supreme Court decisions that have unleashed a flood of money by large donors and special interest groups and corporations.

WAmend is pushing tor an amendment that would declare that corporations are not people and money is not free speech under the US constitution. It wants all political donors to be disclosed and not kept secret and wants the US and states to have the power to regulate money donated in political campaigns.

Volunteers are collecting signatures in 2015 to place Initiative 735 before the Washington State Legislature next year. Valid voter signatures from  8% of those who voted in the last Governor’s race are required to qualify an initiative. That is 246,372 for this cycle.  I-735 is targeting to collect 330,000 signatures by the end of the year to cover invalid signatures, including those who sign more than once or who are not registered voters.

If the Washington State Legislature does not enact I-735 it will be placed on the Nov 2016 General Election Ballot. The Legislature can place an alternative on the ballot and voters would vote first to pass an initiative and then pick one of the two versions.

If you would like to sign the initiative you can go to the I-735 website at www.WAmend.org and request a petition be sent to you if there is not a location nearby where you can sign. You can also volunteer to join the campaign and help collect signatures. Volunteers are critical to the success of this effort and are greatly appreciated.

The official ballot title, summary and a link to the actual initiative is below:

Ballot Title
Initiative Measure No. 735 concerns a proposed amendment to the federal constitution.

This measure would urge the Washington state congressional delegation to propose a federal constitutional amendment that constitutional rights belong only to individuals, not corporations, and constitutionally-protected free speech excludes the spending of money.

Should this measure be enacted into law? Yes [ ] No [ ]

Ballot Measure Summary
The measure would urge the Washington state congressional delegation to propose a federal constitutional amendment clarifying that constitutional rights belong only to individuals, not corporations; that spending money is not free speech under the First Amendment; that governments are fully empowered to regulate political contributions and expenditures to prevent undue influence; and that political contributions and expenditures must be promptly disclosed to the public. The measure would urge the legislature to ratify such an amendment.

View Complete Text PDF

Initiative 735 is in response to the big money in our election process. Big corporations, wealthy individuals and other special interest groups through the sheer impact of possessing lots of money have the ability to dominate the electoral process in our country . Initiative 735 asks that Congress help end this dominance of the electoral process by big money by passing a resolution to the states for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and other court decisions. Three quarters of the States would need to ratify a constitutional amendment for it to be valid.

Washington State Democrats Oppose Eyman’s Initiative 1366

The Washington State Democrats at their April 18, 2015 quarterly meeting in Pasco, Washington passed a resolution opposing Tim Eyman’s Initiative 1366. Initiative 1366 is expected to be on the Nov 2015 ballot.

Initiative 1366 is a Senator Ted Cruz Tea Party style measure, trying extortion tactics to impose minority rule over Washington State’s budget and revenue policy. In what is probably an unconstitutional move, it intends to slash a billion dollars a year from the Washington State budget unless Legislators put a constitutional amendment for 2/3 votes to raise revenue or repeal tax exemptions on the ballot.

The Washington State Constitution says only Legislators have the power to place a constitutional measure on the ballot by a 2/3 vote of both houses. Eyman is ironically unable to convince legislators to do what he wants them to do and so is resorting to extortion tactics. He could just as easy have said Legislators would not be paid unless they vote for a constitutional amendment, or they would lose their driver’s license or they would be sent to jail until they vote for what he wants. That is extortion and not legal.

Here is the official ballot title and summary from the Washington State Secretary of State’s website:

Ballot Title
Initiative Measure No. 1366 concerns state taxes and fees.

This measure would decrease the sales tax rate unless the legislature refers to voters a constitutional amendment requiring two-thirds legislative approval or voter approval to raise taxes, and legislative approval for fee increases.

Should this measure be enacted into law? Yes [ ] No [ ]

Ballot Measure Summary
This measure would decrease the state retail sales tax rate on April 15, 2016, from 6.5 percent to 5.5 percent. The sales tax rate would not be decreased if, by April 15, 2016, two-thirds of both legislative houses refer to the ballot a vote on a constitutional amendment that requires two-thirds legislative approval or voter approval to raise taxes, and majority legislative approval to set the amount of a fee increase.

View Complete Text PDF

 

Below is the text of the resolution passed by the Washington State Democrats:

Resolution Opposing Initiative Measure 1366

WHEREAS Tim Eyman, Mike Fagan, and Jack Fagan have sponsored and are circulating petitions for Initiative 1366, filed on January 5th, 2015 as an initiative to the people for 2015; 

WHEREAS I-1366 would reduce the sales tax, and therefore approximately $1 billion in state revenue every year, thereby preventing the increased spending on K-12 education  required by the McCleary decision, while jeopardizing higher education, transportation  and the social safety net, unless the State Legislature follows the dictates of the initiative  and sends to the voters a constitutional amendment undemocratically requiring a two- thirds vote in each House of the Legislature to raise revenue or repeal any tax loophole; 

WHEREAS the Washington State Supreme Court in February 2013, in League of  Education Voters v. State of Washington, struck down as unconstitutional a  requirement of a supermajority vote to raise revenue, and Eyman’s I-1366 comprises a  devious attempt to evade that ruling by coercing lawmakers into colluding in his  underhanded scheme to overturn it by holding all state funding hostage; 

WHEREAS either the loss of a billion dollars per annum to our common wealth or the  undemocratic modification of our Constitution to require two-thirds votes to raise and  recover revenue would result in serious long-term damage to the communities of  Washington State; 

WHEREAS our state’s founders understood that democracy requires majority rules  with minority rights, and, after much debate and deliberation, they wrote a  Constitution for Washington specifying that bills in the Legislature are passed by a  majority vote, defined as greater than fifty percent – no more, and no less; 

WHEREAS any higher threshold for the passage of legislation would result in power  being concentrated in the hands of a few (rather than the many), such as one-third of  one house of the Legislature – as when I-601 and its clones I-960, I-1053, and I-1185 were  illegitimately in effect; 

WHEREAS allowing tax exemptions to be created by a majority vote, but repealed only  with a vote of two-thirds or greater, represents an unfair double standard that would  make it nearly impossible to reform our outdated and regressive tax system; and 

WHEREAS I-1366 would further violate Article IX of the Washington State Constitution  by making it impossible for the state to fulfill its paramount duty of educating  Washington’s youth; 

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Washington State Democrats urge all  Washingtonians to refuse to sign Tim Eyman’s Initiative 1366 and, if it is placed on the  ballot, to oppose the measure; 

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we encourage every activist and  citizen who supports the values that Washington was founded upon to join the  coalition opposing I-1366.

 

Eyman’s 2015 I-1366 is a Repeat of Eyman’s 2014 I-1325

Initiative 1366, sponsored by Tim Eyman, is a citizen’s initiative for the Nov 2015 Election. It is a refiling of Initiative 1325 from 2014 which Eyman failed to get enough signatures on to qualify. Here are a couple of comments from last year  about this proposal.

Spokesman Review – Jan. 10, 2014 Editorial – “Eyman’s Tax Initiative Looking for a Problem”

Tim Eyman has a new idea, his worst ever, and that’s saying something.
The watch salesman turned initiative promoter submitted a proposal to the Washington Secretary of State on Monday that would compel the Legislature to enact and pass along to voters a constitutional amendment requiring a two-thirds vote by state lawmakers or voters on any tax increase.
How compel?
Initiative 1325 would cut the state sales tax rate to 5.5 percent from 6.5 percent. The change would reduce annual revenues by about $1 billion. But the reduction would not occur if the Legislature endorses the amendment by April 15, 2015.
In other words, the initiative puts a $1 billion gun to the head of legislators.
Eyman calls the incentive “oomph.” Blackmail is more like it.

This is not about protecting taxpayers. I-1325 is about keeping Eyman in business.

Crosscut, Feb 6, 2014 – “A 2/3 vote for tax bumps?  Tim Eyman will rise again” – article on a vote by the Legislature for a constitutional amendment for a  2/3 vote for revenue to be placed on the ballot. It received a vote of 25 to 21, far short of the 2/3 needed to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot.

“Minority Democrats countered that the Legislature struggled to meet financial requirements when the two-thirds requirement was in effect. They unsuccessfully tried to remove the two-thirds requirements to close tax breaks and to allow majority approval of some fund transfers covered by the supermajority requirement in Roach’s bill. The Democratic attempts failed.
Also, Democrats pointed to the need to comply with a 2012 Supreme Court ruling to upgrade education and to restore a frequently suppressed voters initiative to provide cost-of-living increases to teachers.
Democratic Senate budget chief James Hargrove of Hoquiam noted that it took two extra special sessions in 2013 to close two tax breaks to balance the state budget — with a simple majority rule in place. He said 17 senators — 12 percent of the entire Legislature  — could hold the budget hostage in order to get their pet bills passed. “It’s called the rule of 17, a super-minority,” said Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Kent.

From the Washington State Secretary of State’s website:

Ballot Title
Initiative Measure No. 1366 concerns state taxes and fees.

This measure would decrease the sales tax rate unless the legislature refers to voters a constitutional amendment requiring two-thirds legislative approval or voter approval to raise taxes, and legislative approval for fee increases.

Should this measure be enacted into law? Yes [ ] No [ ]

Ballot Measure Summary
This measure would decrease the state retail sales tax rate on April 15, 2016, from 6.5 percent to 5.5 percent. The sales tax rate would not be decreased if, by April 15, 2016, two-thirds of both legislative houses refer to the ballot a vote on a constitutional amendment that requires two-thirds legislative approval or voter approval to raise taxes, and majority legislative approval to set the amount of a fee increase.

View Complete Text PDF

Initiative 1366 is an Ted Cruz style of coercion measure, threatening to remove $1 billion a year in revenue from the state budget. It would severely cripple funding for education in this state.  It is a libertarian ant- government, anti-tax initiative intended  to lock in tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy and severely limit funding of public services by requiring a 2/3 vote to raise revenue or repeal tax loopholes.

Do not sign or support or vote for Initiative 1366!

I-1366 – Another Eyman Initiative to Help Corporations and the Wealthy

Initiative 1366 is another Washington State initiative attempt by libertarian Tim Eyman to help the wealthy and corporate America avoid taxes and tax reform. With the most regressive tax structure in the country it is  a blatant attempt to prevent the Legislature from engaging in tax reform or eliminating tax exemptions that do not benefit the state or its citizens. It proposes to use an extortion tactic reminiscent of Senator Ted Cruz’s trying to shut down the Federal government to overturn the Affordable Care Act.

I-1366 would eliminate $1 billion in sales taxes per year  from the  state budget if the Legislature does not vote to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot for a vote. Eyman’s proposed amendment would require a 2/3 vote by the Legislature to raise taxes or eliminate tax exemptions.

Eyman is not able to secure anywhere near the required 2/3 vote required by the Washington State Legislature to normally put a constitutional amendment on the ballot.  So he is attempting this extortion tactic which requires only a majority vote of the public to reduce the sales tax by a billion dollars unless the Legislature takes a 2/3 vote and puts his “corporate tax loophole preservation amendment” on the ballot.

Something just stinks about this sort of extortion style tactics to get what you want rather than following the normal political process.  Eyman of course is trying to sell this to low and middle income voters as a way to keep their taxes low. The problem is that the reverse takes place. Washington State has the most regressive tax structure in the country according to a 2015 report by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

The ITEP report states that the lowest 20% of income earners (non-elderly) making less than $21,000 pay 16.8% of their income in state and local taxes. Meanwhile the wealthiest top 1% earning over $507,000 pay only 2.4% of their income in state and local taxes.

This is not the first year that Washington State held this distinction but it is an ongoing one because for many years Washington state has had a 2/3 vote requirement to raise revenue as well as repeal non-performing tax exemptions. Raising revenue as defined also includes the legislature changing a revenue source even if the overall revenue raised is neutral. This has made tax reform extremely difficult.

The 2/3 vote requirement first put in place by Initiative 601 in 1993, suspended several times and re-enacted several times by initiative until finally ruled unconstitutional in 2013 by the Washington State Supreme Court. The court declared that the 2/3 voting requirement to raise revenue violated Article II, Section 22 of the Washington State Constitution which stated that for a bill to become law it needed a majority vote.

Eyman uses the fear of tax increases by the legislature on those hurting the most by the regressive tax structure of our state. This fear recently saw another defeat of an income tax initiative – I-1098 which would have shifted more taxes to the wealthy and reduced the regressiveness of our  state’s tax structure.

Voters need to understand that 2/3 vote requirements like Eyman is proposing help the wealthy and corporations the most. They allow a minority of 1/3 of the Legislators in either Legislative house who are anti – government anti- tax to overrule a majority of Legislators that want both to enact a fairer tax system and also fund public services like educating our children and helping the needy. Eyman is motivated by an anti-tax anti-government libertarian agenda that puts wealth accumulation and concentration in the hands of a few.  There is no trickle down – it is more like a waterspout with only the rich having the buckets to collect the money.

Don’t sign I-1366 and if it gets on the ballot vote NO. Support tax reform to help end wealth inequality and tax regressiveness. Support raising the minimum wage. Don’t enact a law like I-1366 which will take a billion dollars out of funding for state education for our kids.  Don’t support passing legislation like I-1366 which helps corporations keep their tax loopholes and the wealthy pay a smaller share of their income in taxes than low and middle income earners.