From: Our Expanded Team of co-sponsors for I-1053, the "Save The 2/3's Vote For Tax Increases Initiative": Tim Eyman, Jack Fagan, Mike Fagan, Mike Dunmire, Senator Don Benton, Senator Janea Holmquist, Erma Turner, Nancy Nelson, Dagny Lord, Keli Carender, Senator Pam Roach, Rep. Matt Shea, John Ahern & Ken Morse
The Seattle Times and Everett Herald have already endorsed I-1053 (SEATTLE TIMES, 7/21/2010, Initiative 1053's 2/3's -- once more with feeling and EVERETT HERALD, 9/10/2010, I-1053 forces focus on reform). Both of these newspapers supported I-960 in 2007 and opposed this year's legislative suspension of the 2/3's protection and its many sunshine/transparency policies.
But Sunday's pro-1053 editorial by the Columbian is especially interesting because they opposed I-960 in 2007. Why the switch? Olympia's mistreatment of the taxpayers this session and their lack of focus on reform -- the Columbian is not alone. Many, many citizens who opposed I-960 did so because they believed politicians like Governor Christine Gregoire who promised no-new-taxes and Majority Leader Lisa Brown who promised tax increases would be a last resort -- and after this year's legislative session, these trusting folks feel like they've been played as suckers -- they feel betrayed.
Here's some highlights from the Columbian's Sunday editorial 'Yes' on I-1053 -- Two-thirds approval for tax increases is necessary for low-performing Legislature:
* One of the most frequent but misleading indictments of Initiative 1053 is that it will make our state more like California. ... This incorrectly implies that Washington state would venture for the first time down the two-thirds-requirement path if I-1053 is approved. History quickly contradicts that point. As I-1053's proponents have written, the two-thirds requirement has been intermittently applied in our Legislature since 1993. "In those 17 years, during legislative session when it's been in effect, tax hikes were a last resort resulting in more reform and fewer taxes. When Olympia suspends it (like this year), tax increases become a first resort with less reform and much higher taxes."
* ... There is no doubt that (1) the Democrat-led Legislature this year rushed to suspend the two-thirds requirement of Initiative 960 of 2007; (2) revenue was raised this year by almost $800 million, largely through tax increases, and (3) little to no effort was made to reform government. Those three realities lead The Columbian to recommend a "Yes" vote on Initiative 1053.
* We do so because legislators have abdicated their responsibility to reform ways in which government services and programs are delivered. Instead of resetting government and making it more efficient, lawmakers have lazily resorted to hackneyed budget solutions that are obsolete in this, the greatest economic crisis in seven decades. Democrats, especially, in the Legislature have only talked about reform, while at the same time refusing to make unionized state workers share in the same recession-related burdens that private-sector workers have incurred.
* Thus, we are driven to this editorial stance by the legislators' refusal to perform, their unwillingness to step up to the plate and proffer innovative strategies to deal with record deficits. Perhaps if their tax-increasing tendencies are stifled by passage of I-1053 they will turn in desperation to reform and solid strategies for cost control.
* Three years ago we opposed Initiative 960 (another two-thirds requirement for tax increases) on the grounds that legislators should be allowed to do their jobs and be held accountable in subsequent elections. Much has changed in those three years. The Legislature has failed so miserably in multiple budget crises that we now believe a strong message should be sent: Forget tax increases during a recession. I-1053 delivers that message.
* We acknowledge that lawmakers can modify or suspend an initiative after two years. That doesn't matter. If their performance doesn't improve and this same message must be repeated in two years, so be it.
-- END --
The pro-960 coalition has only gotten bigger and broader because everyone saw how Olympia acts when it is not restrained by the 2/3's. Without I-1053, next year's legislative session will be even worse: lengthy debates not about whether to raise taxes, but simply which taxes to raise and by how much. With I-1053 in effect, the focus will be on government reform and prioritizing spending, something they've continually kicked down the road.
We ask everyone to please support I-1053 in November.
Learn more about I-1053 at our website.Posted by Tim Eyman at September 19, 2010 03:17 PM | Email This