In a 6-3 ruling, the Washington State Supreme Court struck down the requirement for a two third majority vote in the legislature to pass a tax increase. The reasoning was that such a requirement is in conflict with the state Constitution which is interpreted to require only a simple majority to pass tax proposals.
The ruling is hailed by educators and by Gov. Jay Inslee because there is a constitutional mandate to make ample provision (in taxes) for the education of the children in the state. The state conservative political corner decries the ruling as opening the floodgates to more taxation and a rejection of the will of the voters who approved a series of initiatives calling for a supermajority vote to pass any tax increase. Activist Tim Eyman has made a career in anti-tax initiatives.
The intrinsic problem with taxes and initiatives is that whenever people are canvassed regarding taxes, they would reject any tax proposal without knowing any of the particulars. They will sign anything they feel would lower their taxes even if proposed taxes would be beneficial and necessary. Garnering anti-tax initiatives gives Mr. Eyman an easy way to make a living.
Legislators are elected to make informed decisions on state revenues and expenditures since they would have the advantage of detailed information and public forums and if they vote for taxes against the voters’ will, then the recourse is to vote those bums out. Having prudent and scrupulous legislators, a simple majority vote on taxes should be enough to ensure a well-functioning government.
It will take a constitutional amendment to change a simple majority to a supermajority requirement but electing legislators who will advocate voters’ will makes an amendment unnecessary. Go out and vote for worthy legislators, not sign any initiative that comes along .