In 2007 voters approved Initiative 960 by 59 percent in the 16th District. The initiative:
- requires public notifications and 10-year cost projections when bills are introduced, heard and passed which increase taxes or fees;
- enforces and clarifies a two-thirds majority vote requirement of the Legislature, or a vote of the people, to increase taxes;
- requires notice to voters in the voters’ pamphlet regarding actions by legislators that raise taxes; and
- requires an advisory vote from the public when taxes are increased.
If the governor signs the bill suspending I-960, the second, third and fourth parts of the initiative listed above would become null immediately.
“My concern is that clearing the way for tax increases to address this budget deficit is not a long-term solution,” said Walsh, R-Walla Walla. “This is not a long-term solution, we will see this budget problem come back every year unless we do something different. I support many of the programs the state has to help people who are truly in need, but we must do things better and we can find efficiencies. Some claim that we are hurting kids. I submit that the best thing we can do for our kids is make sure their parents have jobs in order to support their families!”
“Blame our problems all you want on the recession, but our state’s budget was in trouble months before the recession hit because of unsustainable and irresponsible spending. This is one of the primary reasons I ran for office, because my neighbors and I were upset about the mishandling of the state budget. That is why voters approved Initiative 960, because they could see a train wreck ahead and they wanted to protect themselves from it,” said Nealey, R-Dayton. “By dismantling the Taxpayers’ Protection Act, this Legislature is going to tie taxpayers to the tracks so they’ll be run over by this train.”
Both Walsh and Nealey shared stories from constituents back home who had asked them to oppose suspending the initiative.
“As an employer, I know what it means to struggle, and I know the difficult decisions that must be made to keep things going,” Walsh said. “I’m proud that the people I represent take care of each other in times of need. They step up when someone is suffering and are happy to give a helping hand. Extracting more taxes from them will only hurt their ability to help each other and get back on their feet. The best thing we can do is to get people working, and the way we do that is by helping employers make jobs so folks can work.”
“In the 16th District, there are nearly 47 hundred people out of work. This suspension of I-960 is going to hurt every one of them,” Nealey said. “With passage of this bill, tax increases are next. If taxes are raised, it will send this state into a much longer, deeper recession. It will push many employers now on the brink over the edge. It will lead to higher unemployment rates and force more people onto government services. Plus, it will lead to a much larger burden on our state budget and result in deeper deficits long into the future.”
Earlier today, Gov. Gregoire announced a tax increase package of nearly $760 million, including hiking taxes on candy, soda pop, bottled water, cigarettes, and fuel.
The House passed the measure to suspend Initiative 960 by a vote of 51-47. It now goes to the Senate for consideration of an amendment adopted in the House.