We're thrilled with our new initiative: 2/3 Constitutional Amendment
Dear Fellow Taxpayer:
It’s a measure that will ensure permanent protection from higher taxes. 17 other states already enjoy these same protections – it’s time for Washington to be #18. In 2012, Initiative 1185 got more votes than any initiative in state history. It passed in every county. It was overwhelmingly approved in 44 of 49 legislative districts (only the 5 in Seattle rejected it 1185 results). Almost 2/3 of voters support the 2/3!!
But in February 2013, the state supreme court overturned the 2/3 law and said that a 2/3 constitutional amendment was necessary. At first, we were furious. But the more we thought about it, the more we realized it was a blessing. Our previous 2/3 measures only lasted 2 years while the 2/3 constitutional amendment will last forever (pass it once and it’s permanent).
So that’s what we’ve been working on for the past year. We’ve done extensive polling:
* Even though the voters have approved this policy 5 times, some politicians and special interest groups have filed a lawsuit trying to get the courts to find it unconstitutional. If they succeed, do you think the legislature should let the people vote on a constitutional amendment requiring two-thirds legislative approval or majority voter approval for tax increases?
65% support the legislature letting the people vote
19% oppose the legislature letting the people vote
16% not sure.
* 17 other states have constitutional amendments requiring two-thirds legislative approval for tax increases. Do you support or oppose a constitutional amendment requiring two-thirds legislative approval or majority voter approval for tax increases?
58% support the constitutional amendment
27% oppose the constitutional amendment
15% not sure.
Remember, only a simple majority vote of the people is needed (so 65% and 58% is way above the requirement). So we know the voters support the vote and that it’ll be approved. The challenge is how to get the Legislature to put it on the ballot. In 2013, we explored scores of options (we literally filed over 80 different versions). We wanted something that was legal, easy to understand, and had enough “oomph” to force the Legislature to put it on the ballot.
We succeeded. Our new initiative is simple: it knocks a penny off the sales tax unless the Legislature puts the 2/3 constitutional amendment on the ballot for a vote.
Our initiative gives the Legislature an impossible-to-ignore financial incentive to let us vote. It’s elegant, legal, and easy to explain. Either they let us vote (which costs them nothing) or we get the largest tax cut in state history.
Here's how it works:
1) The initiative reduces the state sales tax from 6.5% to 5.5%. For taxpayers, that means $1 billion per year in tax relief. For Olympia, that would translate into a 6% "hit" on the state's general fund.
Olympia's politicians will not be thrilled with this policy.
2) So the initiative provides them with an escape clause. The initiative gives the Legislature until April 15, 2015 to put the 2/3 constitutional amendment on the ballot. If they do that, then the sales tax reduction expires on April 14 and never takes effect.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 3. (1) Section 2 of this act (FYI - section 2 changes the state sales tax from 6.5% to 5.5%) takes effect April 15, 2015, unless the contingency in subsection (2) of this section occurs.
(2) If the legislature, prior to April 15, 2015, refers to the ballot for a vote a constitutional amendment requiring two-thirds legislative approval or voter approval to raise taxes as defined by voter-approved Initiatives 960, 1053, and 1185, section 2 of this act expires on April 14, 2015.
Here's the all-important description by the Attorney General: This measure would decrease the state retail sales tax rate unless, by April 2015, the legislature refers to the voters a constitutional amendment requiring two-thirds legislative approval or voter approval to raise taxes.
Our initiative gives the Legislature a billion reasons to refer the 2/3-for-taxes constitutional amendment and let the voters decide.
But that's ONLY IF we collect the required number of signatures by July and that's ONLY IF the voters approve it in November. Those are two huge hurdles. But as the polling shows and repeated election results illustrate, we are pursuing a policy the people clearly support. So we're moving full steam ahead with this initiative effort in 2014. It's very exciting.
We need your help to raise the financial resources necessary to ensure this effort is successful. Please click on the DONATE BUTTON below – and do a secure by PayPal, VISA, or M/C. Or, you can fill out the form and send us a check or credit card donation of $10, $25, $50, $100, $250, $500, $1,000, $2500, $5000 or more (there are no limits on the amount that can be given). Either way, please send in your most generous donation TODAY. And please consider making donation monthly. We need your help to get this initiative on the ballot.
Adding a 2/3-for-taxes amendment to our state Constitution keeps Governor Inslee and the tax-hiking Democrats on a short leash. But more importantly, it means 10/20/50/100 years from now, the taxpayers of Washington will be protected from Olympia’s propensity to raise taxes. It will ensure that taking more of the people’s money will always be an absolute last resort.
We ask for your support so we can let the voters decide this important issue. Thank you.
Best Regards, Tim Eyman, Jack Fagan, & Mike Fagan, co-sponsors of 2/3 Constitutional Amendment