Eyman’s 2014 Initiative 1325 is a rehash of Eyman’s previous unconstitutional 2/3 voting requirement initiatives imposed on the Washington State Legislature to try to prevent them from raising revenue. The Washington State Supreme Court in 2013 ruled that his previous initiatives requiring a 2/3 vote were unconstitutional. The Court said the only way they would be valid would be if the 2/3 requirement were passed as a Constitutional Amendment.
His latest proposal, I-1325, proposes that voters approve cutting the state component of the sales tax, from 6.5 cents to 5.5 cents, if the state legislature does not put a constitutional amendment for a 2/3 vote requirement on the ballot for people to vote on. The 6.5 cents to 5.5 cents reduction is equal to a 15.4% cut in sales tax revenue to the state. This would reduce the state revenue from sales tax by 1 billion dollars a year!
This would completely wipe out the State Legislature’s Budget increase last year of $1 billion as a down payment on meeting the mandate of the Washington State Supreme Court under the McCleary decision to fulfill the requirements of the Washington State Constitution to fully fund public K-12 education. The current estimate is that by 2017 the Washington State Legislature will have to come up with over $4 billion dollars to do this.
Fortunately in Washington State you can not pass a constitutional amendment by initiative as some states can. To place a constitutional amendment on the ballot you need to get 2/3 of the Legislators in both houses to vote to do so. And that is almost impossible to do as you only need 1/3 of the Legislators to oppose it to stop it being placed on the ballot. Note the irony here that the very system Eyman is proposing to require to raise taxes – namely a 2/3 vote of the legislators, is the same thing he is not able to get 2/3 of the Legislators to do – to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot.
So Eyman, who seems to be channeling Ted Cruz and the Tea Party, has decided to repeat the same failed coercive, extortionist style tactics that failed so miserably for the Republicans last year in the US Congress when they decided to shut down the Government until they got what they wanted. They failed and are still suffering the public backlash.
Tim Eyman makes his living promoting anti-tax, anti government initiatives in Washington State. For over 10 years he has been filing numerous initiatives, usually getting one on the ballot every year. In 2014 he has again already filed five measures and has said he is going to collect signatures on Initiative 1325. Whether he has a sugar daddy this year to pay for the signatures remains to be seen but regardless it is not too early to discuss why I-1325 would be bad for Washington State.
Eyman’s initiatives are never about really solving problems, but are driven by the libertarian philosophy that the lower taxes are, the better, and the smaller the government is, the better.Unfortunately this is not going to provide the funding needed to run our state. It’s like your car needs repair and rather than fixing it, you say you’re not going to spend any money because you don’t like paying car repair people to fix your car. So you just keep driving it until it breaks down or you get in an accident. No one like paying taxes but they are the price to have public services, like roads and schools and libraries and police and fire. We can either have a society where we all work together for the common good or we can vote for Tim Eyman’s measures where it’s everyone for himself or herself and tough luck if you can’t make it.
Two thirds votes run counter to basic democracy and working for the common good. Rather than have a majority of legislators decide an issue like raising taxes, instead it lets one third of the Legislators in one House make the decision. If they oppose raising revenue it takes only 17 Senators out of 49 Senators and 98 Representatives to vote no and their side prevails. It allows a minority vote to decide. The minority vote overrules the majority vote.
Who would support a constitutional amendment to allow a third of Legislators to pass legislation? Yet Eyman’s proposal would allow a third of Legislators in one House to prevent legislation being passed, even if a majority of Legislators support it.
And it would allow a third of Legislators in one House to prevent repeal of tax exemptions that no longer work or are just tax loopholes not providing benefit to the state. Yet it only took a simple majority vote to enact them. This 2/3 constitutional amendment proposal is basically a tax loophole protection amendment – benefiting special interests like big corporations and BP Oil and Conoco Phillips and the Beer Institute who supported Eyman in the past who may have a loophole but making it impossible to repeal them in the future. That’s because Eyman defines repealing a tax loophole as a tax increase.
This is a bad policy proposal and Washington State voters need to not sign I-1325 or support it in any other way.