It is a rare occasion when 64% of voters agree on an issue and rarer still when they consistently agree on that same issue in five separate votes since 1993. Such overwhelming voter agreement requires an enthusiastic belief in the cause—the way Washington State voters feel about Initiative 1185 or, simply, the 2/3 rule.
Initiative 1185 requires a 2/3 approval threshold for lawmakers seeking to pass tax increases through the Legislature. By a simple majority vote, Lawmakers also have the option to send tax increase proposals to the ballot and let the people decide. Approved by 64% of the vote and by 44 out of 49 legislative districts, the 2/3 rule is an initiative of and for the people.
The 2/3 rule succeeded in blocking harmful and unpopular tax increases since its implementation. Last year, after 20 years of voters approving and Democrats repealing the initiative, the state Supreme Court arrived at the conclusion that the initiative violated the state constitution.
The state Court’s decision recommended that the future of the 2/3 rule rest on legislator and voter approval of a constitutional amendment. The Senate Majority Coalition sought the opportunity to abide by the express will of the people and do just what the state Court recommended this week. SJR 8213 would “amend the state constitution to require a two-thirds majority vote of the Legislature to raise taxes.” Upon passing the Legislature, the measure would be placed on the ballot and voters would have their opportunity to approve or reject the constitutional amendment.
Unfortunately, not all lawmakers respect the will of the people. Every member of the Senate Democrat Caucus acted against the clear wishes of their constituents and voted against a 2/3 rule constitutional amendment. After remarking that his fellow Democrats showed “real leadership” by rejecting the people’s wishes, state Sen. Adam Klein summed the problem with Democrats’ relationship with their constituents when he said, “It is easy to fight against taxes. Tax cuts are like candy in a candy store. Every kid wants them. And as parents, sometimes we are in a position of having to say no, for their own good.”
Hard-pressed to think of a scenario where children elect and pay the salary of their parents? We are too. For your benefit as a taxpaying voter, here is an interesting list of Democrat state Senators representing areas of King County who mistake their role as public servants for public parents:
– Sen. Mark Mullet, Legislative District 5 (Renton, Issaquah, Carnation, North Bend, Maple Valley, Snoqualmie, Black Diamond), voted against 68% of his constituents who are in favor of the 2/3 rule.
– Sen. Tracey Eide, Legislative District 30 (Federal Way, Milton, Algona, Pacific), voted against 68% of her constituents who are in favor of the 2/3 rule.
– Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe, Legislative District 1 (Bothell, Mountlake Terrace, Brier, Maltby), voted against 64% of her constituents who are in favor of the 2/3 rule.