The political establishment is gonna hate this — our next initiative mandates …

by | Nov 17, 2015

 A storm is coming.  A political storm.

        6 times the people have voted for our initiatives making it tougher to raise taxes. 

       We’re more than happy to go for 7.  Or 8.  Or 9.  We’re gonna keep at it until the Legislature finally decides to get off this merry-go-round and respect the people’s repeated ballot box decisions and let the people vote on a 2/3-For-Taxes Constitutional Amendment. 

       We’re filing our next initiative tomorrow in Olympia (Wed, 10 am, Sec of State’s office in the Capitol building).  Legislators are down there for “committee days” so Jack, Mike, and I are confronting them directly with this. 

        Before we get into the details of our new initiative, here’s some important background:  in August, after this year’s I-1366 qualified for the ballot, we began working on our back-up initiative if the passage of I-1366 wasn’t enough to convince the Legislature to refer a 2/3-For-Taxes Constitutional Amendment to the 2016 ballot.  We filed many different versions and eventually identified one we really liked.  Then in late September, we polled its’ ballot title.  

        The results:  63% support, 28% oppose, 9% not sure.  We got ourselves another winner.

        The new initiative is called “Tougher To Raise Taxes.”  Here is the operative section (you can read the full text here:

    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 2.  A new section is added to chapter 43.135 RCW to read as follows:
    (1) After January 1, 2016, any tax increase imposed by the Legislature in any given year expires one year after taking effect unless approved by a two-thirds vote of the legislature or majority vote of the people.
    (2)  For the purposes of this chapter, “tax increase” has the same meaning as “raises taxes” in RCW 43.135.034.

      It puts time limits on tax increases.  As KVI’s John Carlson described it on his radio show this morning, the initiative “just puts an automatic sunset clause on tax increases.”  The Legislature recently imposed temporary tax increases.  The Legislature regularly puts sunset clauses on policies.  There’s nothing in the Constitution that requires tax increases to last forever.  We’re simply creating a law that requires any tax increase to expire one year after taking effect.  

        But the initiative provides two exceptions:  the one-year time limit doesn’t apply to tax increases approved by a two-thirds vote of the Legislature or majority vote of the people. 

        Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

         6 times the voters have passed other tougher-to-raise-taxes initiatives like this one — that perfect track record and the polling above shows they’ll do it again.  And after this initiative passes in 2016, we’re more than happy to renew it again in 2018.  And 2020. 

         Or …

         The Legislature can get off the merry-go-round and let the people vote on a 2/3-For-Taxes Constitutional Amendment WHICH THE VOTERS MADE ABUNDANTLY CLEAR FOR THE 6TH TIME WHEN THEY PASSED I-1366. 

         18 Democrats in the Senate and 40 Democrats in the House represent districts with voters who overwhelmingly support the 2/3.  All that’s needed is 7 Democrats in the Senate to join the united and unanimous members of the Majority Coalition Caucus and 18 Democrats in the House to join the united and unanimous House Republican caucus to refer a clean 2/3-For-Taxes Constitutional Amendment to the 2016 ballot. 

        We’ve going pedal to the metal on this new initiative.  Yesterday, we formed and filed paperwork for a separate, stand-alone political action committee:  “Tougher To Raise Taxes.”  We’ve now begun raising money for a financial war-chest for this new initiative.  

        If those 58 Democrats refuse to let the people vote on a clean 2/3-For-Taxes Constitutional Amendment in 2016, we’ll use that financial war-chest for the signature drive for “Tougher To Raise Taxes.”  If enough Democrats finally decide to represent their pro-2/3 voters in their districts, then that war-chest will be used for a YES campaign for the constitutional amendment.

        Here are the 18 Senate Democrats and the percentage of voter support for the 2/3 in their districts (from the high-turnout 2012 presidential year when Initiative 1185 received more votes than any initiative in state history):

19th district Democrat Dean Takko 70%
44th district Democrat Steve Hobbs 69%
5th district Democrat Mark Mullet 68%
29th district Democrat Steve Conway 68%
38th district Democrat John McCoy 67%
49th district Democrat Annette Cleveland 67%
24th district Democrat Jim Hargrove 66%

3rd district Democrat Andy Billig 66%
33rd district Democrat Karen Keiser 64%
1st district Democrat Rosemary McAuliffe 64%
21st district Democrat Marko Liias 63%
11th district Democrat Bob Hasegawa 62%
32nd district Democrat Maralyn Chase 61%
23rd district Democrat Christine Rolfes 60%
48th district Democrat Cyrus Habib 60%
27th district Democrat Jeannie Darneille 60%
40th district Democrat Kevin Ranker 59%
22nd district Democrat Karen Fraser 54%

      And here are the 40 House Democrats and the percentage of voter support for the 2/3 in their districts (from the high-turnout 2012 presidential year when Initiative 1185 received more votes than any initiative in state history):

31st district Democrat Chris Hurst 73%
19th district Democrat Brian Blake 70%
19th district Democrat JD Rossetti 70%
47th district Democrat Pat Sullivan 70%
44th district Democrat Hans Dunshee 69%
28th district Democrat Christine Kilduff 68%
29th district Democrat David Sawyer 68%
29th district Democrat Steve Kirby 68%
38th district Democrat June Robinson 67%
38th district Democrat Mike Sells 67%
49th district Democrat Sharon Wylie 67%
49th district Democrat Jim Moeller 67%
24th district Democrat Kevin Van De Wege 66%
24th district Democrat Steve Tharinger 66%
3rd district Democrat Marcus Riccelli 66%
3rd district Democrat Timm Ormsby 66%
33rd district Democrat Tina Orwall 64%
33rd district Democrat Mia Gregerson 64%

1st district Democrat Derek Stanford 64%
1st district Democrat Luis Moscoso 64%
21st district Democrat Lillian Ortiz-Self 63%
21st district Democrat Strom Peterson 63%
45th district Democrat Roger Goodman 63%
45th district Democrat Larry Springer 63%
11th district Democrat Zack Hudgins 62%
11th district Democrat Steve Bergquist 62%
32nd district Democrat Cindy Ryu 61%
32nd district Democrat Ruth Kagi 61%
41st district Democrat Tana Senn 61%
41st district Democrat Judy Clibborn 61%
23rd district Democrat Sherry Appleton 60%
23rd district Democrat Drew Hansen 60%
48th district Democrat Joan McBride 60%
48th district Democrat Patty Kuderer 60%
27th district Democrat Laurie Jinkins 60%
27th district Democrat Jake Fey 60%
40th district Democrat Kristine Lytton 59%
40th district Democrat Jeff Morris 59%
22nd district Democrat Chris Reykdal 54%
22nd district Democrat Sam Hunt 54%

          It’s critical that these 18 Democrat Senators and 40 Democrat House members hear from the citizenry.  We ask each of you to send these 58 legislators an email.  Write something like this (feel free to add more, tell ’em how you feel):

“If you refuse to join with the Republicans to refer a 2/3-For-Taxes Constitutional Amendment to the 2016 ballot, we’re gonna jam another 2/3 initiative down your throat.  And we’ll do it again and again and again until you finally listen to the people.  Isn’t it time to get off the merry-go-round?  Do the right thing and let the people vote in 2016.  In 2012 during a high turnout presidential year, a huge percentage of your constituents supported the 2/3.  It passed in every county.  It overwhelmingly passed in all 44 legislative districts outside Seattle.  It got more votes than any initiative in state history.  You’re elected to represent the people, not rule over them.”

        Cut and paste these into the “To” line:


        We must always stay on offense.  We will always stay on offense.  The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.