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I-1185 Passes-Will It Finally Force 2/3 Majority In Olympia In Order To Raise Taxes?

Will I-1185 actually work?
(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Part of our continuing series Decision 2012-Where Do We Go From Here-takes a look at Initiative 1185, which (again) would force the state legislature to have a majority to raise our taxes. Why was this measure on the ballot? Tim Eyman, the noted anti-tax advocate, was able to get I-1185 on the ballot.  It is often referred to as ‘son of I-1053, a similar bill passed in 2010 but is under legal challenge. Simply, I-1185 requires at least 66% or 2/3rds of legislators to pass or levy new taxes on Washington residents.

Most citizens would think this was a good thing, seeing how Washington state has some of the highest taxes in many areas in the state.  However, three previous times, Initiatives that were passed by Washington voters were struck down by judges as unconstitutional.

Supporters say Olympia is being unresponsive to the demands of the people and voters, those who oppose such initiatives say it would make it difficult-if not impossible-for the legislature to pass necessary taxes to support schools, programs and other infrastructure.

What is likely to happen is I-1185 will meet with a similar legal challenge.  Governor Gregoire had challenged I-1053, and similar measures throughout her tenure.   Where does newly elected Governor Jay Inslee stand?  While no “official” comment has been made by Inslee fresh off his close victory over Rob McKenna,  a check of the official No-On I-1185 website lists the following supporters who were against the measure.

ELECTED OFFICIALS
Governor Christine Gregoire
Congressman Jay Inslee
Senator Adam Kline
Rep. Reuven Carlyle
Rep. Bob Hasegawa
Rep. Chris Reykdal
Senator Dave Frockt
Rep. Sam Hunt
  Many believe I-1185 could meet the same fate at I-1053, and previous efforts, and the only way to force Olympia to adhere to the initiatives is to pass a Constitutional amendment requiring 2/3 legislative majority for tax increases.
 Representative Judy Warnick (R) Moses Lake, who was a primary supporter of I-1185 says she plans to introduce a bill in the next legislative session that would make the 2/3 majority a state Constitutional amendment.
  While such a measure would be an uphill battle to pass in Olympia, if passed, it would be far more effective in limiting tax legislation getting through the legislature.

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