Don’t get mad, get even — here’s the latest

by | Jan 22, 2016

Jack, Mike, and I are furious.  Whenever our opponents (the politicians, the judges, the media) insult the voters’ intelligence, we pretty much lose it. 

        But we firmly believe in the adage:  don’t get mad, get even. 

        There are reasons to be mad, but there are also reasons to be optimistic:

Reason to be mad:  King County judge William Downing ruled yesterday that the voters didn’t understand I-1366 and do not have the power to tell the legislature that we want to vote on a constitutional amendment.

Reason to be optimistic:  This same judge struck down a King County initiative that reduced the size of the King County Council because he said the people didn’t have the power to change the King County Constitution (their charter).  The state supreme court unanimously overturned his narrow view of the people’s rights and upheld the initiative. 

Reason to be mad:  Jay “I-promise-to-veto-all-taxes” Inslee did an arrogant victory dance yesterday, saying he’s simply thrilled because the ruling means the voters’ approval of I-1366 would no longer “be a distraction” in Olympia.  Voters are a distraction?   

Reason to be optimistic:  Sen. Pam Roach had a legislative hearing yesterday on her bill, Senate Joint Resolution 8211 (SJR 8211) which DOES EXACTLY WHAT THE VOTERS WANT:  it refers a tougher-to-raise-taxes constitutional amendment to the 2016 ballot.  My testimony centered on this:  after 6 public debates, 6 public votes, and 6 public approvals, the voters have been clear — they want to make it tougher for Olympia to take more of the people’s money.  SJR 8211 will be on the senate floor for a vote next week.

Reason to be mad:  In the state house, Democrats have razor-thin control (50 D’s versus 48 R’s).  For years, House Speaker/Seattle Democrat Frank Chopp has repeatedly blocked Rep. Ed Orcutt’s bill that refers a constitutional amendment to the ballot. 

Reason to be optimistic:  Spurred by the voters’ 1366 mandate and undeterred by the courts, those 48 House Republicans are 100% committed to pushing Orcutt’s bill.  If swing district Democrats refuse to support Orcutt’s bill, 1366 will help Republicans gain the extra seats necessary this November to take over the house and roadblock future tax increases.

Reason to be mad:  A King County judge disregarded your vote on 1366.

Reason to be optimistic:  This judge’s ruling in no way changed the people’s vote on 1366 (or the votes on 960, 1053, and 1185, and others). 

Additional reasons to be optimistic:

*  Whether it’s $30 car tabs or charter schools or property tax limits, the Legislature has a track record of correcting the court and implementing the will of the people when the will of the people is clear.  And on this issue, voters could not have been clearer.

*  We’ve already raised nearly a million dollars for our 7th tax-limiting initiative (we need everyone’s help to raise the rest).  It’s called “Tougher to Raise Taxes” and it puts a one year time limit on tax increases and requires legislative approval for fee increases.  In other words, it prohibits auto-pilot, forever tax increases and prohibits state agencies from unilaterally imposing higher fees.  Polling shows it’ll pass easily and it’ll make tax and fee increases tougher anyway (63% support, 28% oppose, 9% not sure).  Persistence is our greatest asset.

*  We continue to be inspired by Justice Jim Johnson who wrote:  “If the history of this great state can teach us anything, it is this:  the power of the people will prevail.  If the legislature passes a tax the people oppose, the people will find a way to repeal it.  That “way” may include throwing out legislators or using other article II remedies.  In an even more commanding exercise of their power, the people may choose to enact a constitutional amendment requiring a supermajority to pass taxes.  The changes in the way our state values property and limits levies followed a similar history.  Consistent with the spirit and history of our Washington Constitution, I am sure democracy will carry the day; the voters will not be denied their rights.

       We need your financial support to continue fighting for taxpayers in the courts, in the legislature, and with our initiatives.  Please make a donation today.  With your help and support, we will succeed.