What part of "no" didn't you hear in November, Marko? Voters said no to a state income tax, no to 2 cents on a can of pop, King County voters said no to a tiny sales tax increase for always popular criminal justice, and liberal Edmonds voters -- folks who Rep. Marko Liias supposedly represents -- trounced higher car tab fees.
Voters sent a very clear "no new taxes" message in November -- it was so clear that even Gregoire heard it ("She's recognizing what the majority of Washingtonians told her," says Gregoire spokesperson Karina Shagren. "And that is: Do this with no new revenue. We're taxed out." ... "Reality is that while she could certainly come out and push the legislature to come up with new sources of revenue, I think some would say: 'This is just a big waste of time because this is never going to happen.'")
When it comes to taking more of the people's money, voters overwhelmingly passed I-1053 and here's what they were saying: "Here's the rules: if you're going to raise my taxes, either the Legislature gets a two-thirds vote or the voters get to decide."
Liias' bill -- House Bill 1536 -- ignores that completely.
And as we reported last week, the levels of voter support for I-1053 by legislative district are stunning (Liias' district went 61% yes on I-1053).
Other flaws in HB 1536:
* As we've been saying for months, I-1053 said that it must be the elected representatives in the Legislature, not unelected bodies like the Transportation Commission, that must make "revenue" decisions. This bill totally ignores that.
* Temporary taxes? No such thing.
* Voters have repeatedly approved initiatives setting car tabs at $30 and requiring voter approval for anything higher. Every city that has ever asked its citizens whether they support higher car tab fees -- in every case -- the voters have rejected the increase (most recently in Edmonds).
* On February 8th, voters in Pierce County will vote on a 0.3% sales tax increase to fund Pierce transit (Proposition 1). It looks like it's going to go down in flames. Even the uber-liberal editorial board at the Tacoma News Tribune has come out against it (Come back, Pierce Transit, with a tighter Plan B). Here's a fascinating story about the Pierce County Council opposing it (County Councilman wants his colleagues to pass a resolution opposing Pierce Transit's sales tax increase proposal on the Feb. 8 ballot). The point is: even voters in Pierce county oppose higher taxes right now for anything, including transit.
Liias' bill is arrogant and disrespectful of the voters. It failed to pass the Legislature last year; in light of the overwhelming 'no-new-taxes' vote in November, it should fail again.
For more background, here's a Seattle Times story about the issue.