A series of stories about our 2012 efforts
* Legislative hearing yesterday on $3.7 billion transportation tax increase — here’s a thorough story by Jerry Cornfield of the Everett Herald (excerpt: “The tax is unfair, it’s unreliable and it’s likely unconstitutional,” said Tim Hamilton of the Automotive United Trade Organization comprised of motor fuel retailers and suppliers. Anti-tax devotee Tim Eyman of Mukilteo deemed the proposal a “huge tax increase” that the public cannot afford. He said it is an insult to even be considering the package after voters in 2010 overwhelmingly rejected proposals for an income tax and a tax on soft drinks.
* My full statement aired on TVW (excerpt: “Taxpayers are strugging and they don’t support nor can they afford a $3.7 billion tax increase. This bill clearly goes against what the voters intended when they passed I-1053. Voters have approved the 2/3 requirement 4 times and each time it passes it receives more and more public support. Why? Because of bills like this one that insult the voters’ intelligence by claiming $3.7 billion isn’t a tax increase that doesn’t need the 2/3 vote requirement that 64% of voters recently demanded”.
(starts at 54:45 – 56:30): http://www.tvw.org/index.php?option=com_tvwplayer&eventID=2012011201
* Legislative hearing on Monday against anti-initiative bill — here’s a thorough story by Brad Shannon of the Olympian (excerpt: Eyman called HJR 4224 “the latest in a series of anti initiative bills” that he called “a yearly tradition down here’’ at the Capitol and he accused lawmakers of “hypocrisy” for trying to set a new standard for initiatives while frequently passing bills that can’t be funded in the future. “For Olympia to demand of the citizenry what they do not demand of themselves is duplicitous,’’ Eyman said. He also warned that requiring initiative sponsors to identify a tax source that could then be approved by the state budget office would add weeks to the initiative process, delaying valuable time to citizens wanting to collect signatures for their measures to qualify for the ballot. “Gutting the 1st Amendment isn’t good for legislatures and it isn’t good for citizens,’’ Eyman said.) http://www.theolympian.com/2012/01/23/1960991/initiative-cost-bill-gets-hearing.html
* Judge’s decision on Friday to fine the city of Monroe $10,000 plus attorneys fees for their lawsuit to block our red-light camera initiative (excerpt: Never let it be said that anti-tax, anti-red light guru Tim Eyman doesn’t know how to do a world class gloat when he wins one big.
* Exceptional legal defense of I-1053 by McKenna’s team in the AG’s office (excerpt: As to Plaintiff individual legislators, the two-thirds supermajority vote provision of RCW 43.135.034(1) may make it politically difficult to raise taxes, but freedom from political difficulty is not a right or legally protected interest of Plaintiff legislators . . . Article II, section 22, by its plain language, establishes a constitutional minimum of a simple majority vote for bill passage. It does not, either expressly or by fair inference, prohibit statutes that require greater than a simple majority vote for passage. (And, of course, any bill receiving a supermajority vote has received a simple majority.) Absent such a limitation, the legislature, or the people, are free to express their legislative policy judgment that certain types of bills warrant greater than simple majority consensus for passage. RCW 43.135.034(1) expresses such a policy judgment—that a two-thirds majority vote of each house should be required for passage of bills raising taxes.”
Here’s the brief they filed recently (hearing on February 17 in King County Superior Court): http://www.washingtonpolicy.org/sites/default/files/state1053.PDF
It’s been a busy and impactful few days.