Letters to the Editor

Tax advisory notes necessary on ballot

The Olympian favors repealing the voters’ right to vote on this year’s crop of tax increases. Tax advisory votes are once again on the ballot and once again the elites don’t like them.

To appreciate and understand why this policy is beneficial, it’s important to know why they were created in the first place.

The Legislature has essentially repealed the referendum power guaranteed by our state Constitution. Since 2003, the Legislature now regularly and consistently slaps emergency clauses on tax bills, making them referendum-proof. So even though voters have a constitutional right to referendum, the Legislature has found a way to take it away.

Politicians’ elimination of the people’s referendum power is, in my view, a gross injustice.

So in 2007, when drafting Initiative 960, we included a new policy called a tax advisory vote. It does not allow the public to veto a tax increase, the way a referendum does, but an advisory vote at least puts each blocked tax increase on the ballot for voters to vote on. And voters get to learn which taxes were raised, how much they’re going to cost, and lists how each legislator voted on each tax increase.

So now, whenever the Legislature raises taxes and blocks the people from doing a referendum by declaring an emergency, there is a tax advisory vote.

Rather than repealing tax advisory votes, the Legislature should stop negating the people’s constitutionally guaranteed right to referendum by declaring emergencies for their tax increases. Until then, advisory votes work.