Insistence on higher taxes is cause of special session — Inslee’s tax-hiking obsession exposed

by | Apr 29, 2013

  Ever since Governor Jay Inslee’s complete reversal on raising taxes (24 hours after his swearing in), he’s hated how it looked publicly.  The Senate’s no-tax-increase budget had become a total nightmare for him.  In the final weeks of the session, it had become a simple binary choice:  go with the Senate’s no-tax-increase approach or the House’s $6.4 billion tax hike approach.  It was a public relations disaster.  So Inslee and his communications team had to do something because his tax-increase-obsession was so exposed.  So with a week left in the session, he held a press conference where he suddenly listed a bunch of stuff (DUI reform, etc) that were “go home” issues for him. 
 
       Don’t fall for it. 
 
       His insistence on billions of dollars in higher taxes is the cause of the special session.  My favorite state senator, Pam Roach, said it perfectly in her statement last night once the special session was announced:  “In the Senate, we’ve had a great session.  We’ve worked through some tough issues and we were able to come to agreement on a budget that does not raise taxes and the policy bills that go along with that budget.  That part of our work is done.

       “Unfortunately, instead of reaching agreement on a responsible budget that lives within the state’s means, the Legislature will be entering a special session due to the insistence of the governor and the Democrats in the House of Representatives to raise taxes by around one billion dollars in the next two years.

       “We know that the people of our state do not want new taxes.  As proof, we need to look no further than the recent votes on the two-thirds threshold to raise taxes, the repeal of taxes on soda, candy and gum and the voting down of an income-tax initiative.

       “What our citizens are looking for from the Legislature is a leaner, more efficient state government that provides services while living within our means.  That’s what the Senate budget provides – without resorting to new taxes.

       “In the recent weeks I’ve often been reminded of one of my favorite quotes: ‘confrontation is the lifeblood of politics; if that bothers you, maybe you should get into something more sheltered.’  Make no mistake – the budget confrontation that we find ourselves in is caused by the fact that the governor and Democrats in the House of Representatives are insisting on raising taxes.

       “Those who are insisting on tax increases are not listening to a majority of the people.  More than anything, what I want the public to know is that in the Senate, we are listening.  We will continue to insist on a responsible, sustainable budget that does not raise taxes.”

 

        Here’s what our new initiative does:  

1)     Requires yearly advisory votes every November:  “Do you support or oppose having the legislature refer to a vote of the people a constitutional amendment requiring two-thirds legislative approval for raising taxes as defined by voter-approved Initiatives 960, 1053, and 1185?  We call it the “ask the voters” clause.
2)     Limits the duration of tax increases to one year.  We call it the accountability clause.

3)     Requires that the governor’s and legislators’ tax votes — tax increases imposed starting this year — appear below their candidate photos in the voters’ pamphlet (example: “This legislator imposed, without a vote of the people, the following tax increases:  HB 2036 costing $6.4 billion, HB 1954 costing $5.8 billion, TOTAL:  $12.2 billion”).  We call it the sunshine clause.  
 
        Politicians hate ’em all, especially #3.  So our initiative provides them with an escape clause:  these 3 policies expire once the legislature approves, and refers to voters for ratification, a constitutional amendment requiring two-thirds legislative approval for raising taxes as defined by voter-approved Initiatives 960, 1053, and 1185. 
 
       Our message to the Legislature is clear:  let us vote or learn to love our new initiative’s restrictions.