First ever tax advisory votes – what did we learn?

by | Dec 13, 2012

 On the November ballot, there were the first ever tax advisory votes.  Originally passed by voters with 2007’s Initiative 960 and reaffirmed by voters with 2012’s Initiative 1185, advisory votes are required whenever the legislature unilaterally imposes a tax without a vote of the people.  There is nothing that government does that has more impact on citizens’ lives than the government’s power to increase taxes.  It’s critical that public feedback be provided to legislators throughout the process, including after a legislative tax vote.  I-960’s/I-1185’s tax advisory votes are a cost-effective way for legislators to get feedback from ALL their constituents, not just the ones who can hire lobbyists or the few who can travel to Olympia on a work day to testify at a multi-hour hearing.  
        Today, we’re going to focus on Advisory Vote #1 which concerned a new tax on customers of out-of-state banks imposed by the 2012 legislature. Statewide voters overwhelmingly rejected the tax with a 57% vote.  Voters in 37 out of 39 counties rejected it.  That’s a clear message from the people that the 2013 legislature should repeal this tax.  The bottom line is this:  the 2012 legislature imposed a tax that 1.6 million voters don’t support.  
        Will the 2013 legislature listen?  Only if individual legislators know how their own constituents voted on Advisory Vote #1 compared to how those individual legislators voted on the bank tax. 
        You can see the results here:  
        All of the “red” legislators should consider what their constituents just told them:  that you didn’t represent your constituents on that vote.  The question is:  will these legislators listen to the people who elected them or will they ignore them?  
        Politicians need to remember they are elected to represent the people, not to rule over them.