Eyman to Seattle City Council: Don’t Stop the Vote – Let the Voters Decide on the Jobs Tax
Just 4 weeks ago, you imposed a massive new tax. There wasn’t a single dissenting voice. You all voted in favor of it. It was a terrible idea and you did it anyway. Unanimously.
But the people also had the right to second-guess your decision. And they exercised that right … with vigor.
The state Constitution and the Seattle city charter guarantee the voters the right to vote on your new tax if enough voter signatures are collected (17,000 needed). Now we know that over 50,000 voters signed. Those 50,000 people demanded the chance to vote. Petitioners who asked voters to sign petitions promised everyone that if enough signatures were collected, there’d be a public vote in November.
So the voters did what they were required to do. They signed the petitions in record numbers. They earned the chance to vote.
Seattle City Council — don’t stop the vote. Let the voters decide on the jobs tax.
Don’t disrespect the process. It’s not fair to rob the 50,000 petition signers of their right to vote. It’s not even fair to the people who didn’t sign petitions to rob them of their chance to vote. Everyone’s voice deserves to be heard.
On the last day of the legislative session, the Legislature sidestepped the Constitution and blocked the people from voting on Initiative 940. I brought a lawsuit against them for that illegal maneuver and a Thurston County judge recently ruled that they were wrong. Now the Seattle City Council and Mayor are conspiring to do the same thing: trying to block the people from voting on a ballot measure that has successfully collected the required number of signatures.
Today’s council vote to repeal the jobs tax is only being done to avoid a public vote on this successful referendum. It disrespects the voters because it robs them of their right to vote.
Council members’ voices were heard when the tax was passed. The mayor’s voice was heard when she signed it into law. The talking heads in the media have been heard. The business interests who funded the referendum’s signature drive have been heard loud and clear.
But what about the voters? Why shouldn’t they be heard? Why are their voices being muzzled? The initiative and referendum process exists to give the voters the chance to be heard. Seattle city councilmembers should not cut the voters out of the process.
There is tremendous value in a public vote on a ballot measure because everyone has months to learn about the issue, discuss it, debate it, and then everyone gets to express their own opinion with their own vote.
The mayor and city council should not take away the people’s right to vote. Let the process proceed as guaranteed by the Constitution and the city charter. Let the public discussion over the jobs tax play out. And let the voters decide!
Anything short of that is a disservice to the people you’re elected to represent.
I look forward to testifying at today’s 12 noon hearing and expressing this sentiment in person during public testimony.
Top 5 Contributors: Suzanne Burke, Puget Sound Chapter NECA PAC, Andrew Skotdal, Tim Eyman, Thomas O’Brien