This year’s Initiative 1366 should look familiar: Voters have had a 22-year track record of overwhelmingly approving initiatives that make it tougher for Olympia to raise your taxes.
Whether you are a Republican, Democrat, or independent voter, can’t we all agree that it’s better when state government prioritizes spending and reforms government rather than just raising taxes? Olympia has proven time and again that if it’s easy to raise taxes, they will. And they’ve consistently shown us that without these tougher-to-raise-taxes policies, they’ll impose higher taxes on regular taxpayers.
For me, it’s easy to support I-1366: As a legislator, I know how Olympia works. There is relentless pressure to raise taxes. In 2005 and 2010, two legislative sessions without the two-thirds vote requirement, a simple majority imposed massive tax increases (measured over 10 years it was $9 billion in higher taxes in 2005 and a whopping $6.7 billion in 2010).
That’s why I have continually proposed a bill to refer a two-thirds-for-taxes constitutional amendment to the voters. But the political establishment in Olympia has repeatedly blocked my bill. That’s why we need to pass I-1366 in November.
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As a taxpayer, I know how tough it is when the government continually takes more and more because that means less and less for you and your family to spend on your needs and priorities.
Unfortunately, too many politicians in Olympia don’t get that.
The way it works in Olympia is pro-tax politicians talk about raising taxes on “the rich” but when taxes are actually increased, you and I get stuck with higher sales taxes, gas taxes, property taxes, car tab taxes, and utility taxes.
Recognizing this political reality, five times the voters have approved initiatives requiring a two-thirds vote of the Legislature – or majority vote of the people – to raise taxes. In 2012, 1.9 million voters (64 percent) approved the two-thirds requirement, getting more votes than any initiative in state history. Voters clearly want tax increases to be an absolute last resort.
Nonetheless, Olympia won’t listen to the people unless we pass I-1366 in November.
Despite huge increases in revenue, Olympia will continue to face future deficits due to unsustainable spending.
We have to protect ourselves. Again, without the two-thirds requirement, this year’s Legislature raised taxes a jaw-dropping $17.5 billion. They simply can’t control themselves. I-1366 is called the Taxpayer Protection Act – it’s all about protecting taxpayers with a tougher-to-raise-taxes constitutional amendment. After five votes of the people, I believe the voters have earned the right to permanently protect themselves with this common sense policy.
When voters pass I-1366, Olympia will be prodded to reform government, prioritize spending and re-evaluate existing programs. If voters reject I-1366, Olympia will resort to job-killing, family-budget-busting tax increases.
Protect yourself from Olympia’s insatiable tax appetite by voting YES on I-1366.
Rep. Ed Orcutt represents the 20th district in the state House of Representatives, and serves on the House’s tax policy committee. I-1366 is co-sponsored by Tim Eyman, Jack Fagan and Mike Fagan.