LET THE VOTERS DECIDE ON A 2/3-FOR-TAXES CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT
To: Our thousands of supporters throughout the state (cc'd to the media, house & senate members, and Governor)
From: From: Tim Eyman, Jack Fagan, & Mike Fagan, sponsors of I-960, I-1053, & I-1185, ph: 425-493-9127
Five times the voters have passed initiatives that created a law requiring a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to raise taxes. But as we’ve learned over the years, a law is only good for two years; after that, the Legislature can change it. So for the last 20 years, hardworking taxpayers and Olympia politicians have had a tug-of-war over the 2/3: we pass it, it protects us from tax increases for two years, then they suspend it and raise a ton of taxes, we pass it again, it protects us for another two years, they suspend it and raise a bunch of taxes, we pass it again, it protects us for two years, etc. It’s been a 20 year battle and voters have supported the 2/3 protection every time, passing it by wider and wider margins every time.
It’s time to make it permanent. That means putting it in our state Constitution. 17 states require a higher legislative vote threshold in their state Constitutions to raise taxes. With a concerted, persistent effort by all of us, Washington will be the 18th.
We were angry when House Democrats, cheered by the Governor, sued the voters to overturn this voter-approved law. We were furious when 6 judges took away a protection that 1.9 million people supported. But when you really think about it, they probably did us a favor because we were never going to get a permanent solution (a constitutional amendment) until the temporary solution (a law) was no longer an option. That’s where we’re at now.
As we said recently: “The people will get what they vote for. You can’t deny the will of the voters, but sometimes you have to work a little harder than you should.”
Here’s what our new initiative does:
1) Requires yearly advisory votes every November asking voters whether they support or oppose letting the people vote on a 2/3-for-taxes constitutional amendment;
2) Limits the duration of tax increases -- those imposed by the Legislature after January 1, 2013 -- to one year; and
3) Provides information in the voters' pamphlet about the governor's and legislators' voting records on tax bills -- increases imposed after January 1, 2013.
Our earlier initiatives already require a November advisory vote on any tax increase imposed by the Legislature. Our new initiative simply creates a new category of advisory votes, requiring an every-November public vote on whether the voters support letting the people vote on a 2/3-for-taxes constitutional amendment (a recent poll shows overwhelming public approval; a whopping 66% of likely voters support voting on it).
Because the 2/3 law is no more, they can raise taxes with a simple majority vote. But under our initiative, such tax increases will expire one year later. The only way a tax increase can continue is for them to pass it the next year too (after getting voter feedback from a November tax advisory vote). The Legislature regularly passes temporary taxes; our new initiative simply requires all tax increases imposed by the Legislature to be temporary and expire after one year (FYI - tax increases referred to the ballot by the legislature for a binding vote would not be subject to the one-year time limit).
Finally, the best way to ensure accountability is by keeping voters informed. Our new initiative requires that the governor's and legislators' tax votes -- tax increases imposed after January 1, 2013 -- appear below their candidate photos in the voters' pamphlet. We call it the sunshine clause (FYI - tax increases referred to the ballot by the legislature for a binding vote would not be listed).
These important policies ensure that taxpayers will be protected and that taking more of the people’s money will always be an absolute last resort.
Lastly, our initiative provides an escape clause, requiring these 3 policies to expire once the legislature approves, and refers to voters for ratification, a constitutional amendment requiring two-thirds legislative approval for raising taxes as defined by voter-approved Initiatives 960, 1053, and 1185.
How do we convince the Legislature to let the people vote on a 2/3-for-taxes constitutional amendment? By lobbying them. What’s our best lobbying tool? Our new initiative: "LET THE VOTERS DECIDE ON A 2/3-FOR-TAXES CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT."
We need your help to raise the financial resources necessary to ensure this is a successful effort. Please send us a donation for $10, $25, $50, $100, $250, $500, $1000, $2500, $5000 or more (there are no limits on how much can be given). Please consider a monthly pledge. You can make a secure PayPal / VISA / MC contribution by going to our website -- OR, you can print a form, fill it out, and return it with a check or credit card information. Just click the DONATE button
Adding a 2/3-for-taxes amendment to our state Constitution keeps Governor Inslee and the tax-hiking Democrats in the Legislature on a very short leash. But more importantly, it means 10/20/50/100 years from now, the taxpayers of Washington state will be protected from Olympia’s propensity to raise taxes (like 17 other states already enjoy). 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.
Tim Eyman, Jack Fagan, & Mike Fagan, Fighting for Taxpayers for 16 Years, 425-493-9127, email Tim
P.S. There are thousands of politicians, bureaucrats, lobbyists, and special interest groups working each and every day to raise your taxes. Shouldn't there be at least one person, one team, one organization that fights to lower your taxes? Please help us so we can continue our successful efforts on behalf of taxpayers.