Opinion

Listen to voters on tax increases | Editorial

We’re disappointed, but not surprised, that Democrats in the state Senate would act so quickly to undo voters’ wishes on tax increases.

Senate bill 6843 would let the Legislature raise taxes with just a simple majority. Worse, it also would make permanent changes to Initiative 960, which voters approved in 2007. That initiative reinstated a requirement that the Legislature have a two-thirds majority to raise taxes. The Senate bill also would suspend I-960 until July 2011, meaning that the Legislature could raise taxes next year, too, with just a simple majority.

But wait! There’s more. The bill also says that any future tax increase that goes toward a voter-approved initiative would only need a simple majority, too.

Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, D-Spokane, tries to excuse this outrage by saying I-960 puts “an unfair limitation on the process in a situation where we have a short time to solve a big problem.”

Really?

The state has been overspending for years, adding programs and personnel with no concern of what would happen if times turn tough. Note to the Legislature: times always turn tough at some point.

We understand that the state faces a challenge to maintain the current system. Here’s a flash – so do the citizens of the state. Unfortunately, the average person doesn't have the luxury of raising their income at the expense of someone else. They have to make do on what they have.

That’s good advice for the Legislature, too. A tight budget year doesn’t mean kicking the less well-off to the side of the road. It means reallocating the funds the state has to meet its most pressing needs. Yes, some things will have to get cut. But done right, those programs that are expendable will free up money for those programs that help the greatest number, especially those who have nothing and have no prospects of getting any.

Those who have a job – or something - should feel lucky. Those who don’t should get our help.

– Craig Groshart, for the Bellevue Reporter

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