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“Son of 1053” would continue to exacerbate budget woes

Posted by michaelm at Jan 13, 2012 03:10 PM |
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Earlier this month Initiative 1185 (Son of 1053) was filed with the Secretary of State’s office. The initiative would extend the onerous supermajority voting requirement of I-1053 – a requirement that has repeatedly prevented the adoption of sensible policies needed to address our ongoing economic problems.

Due to the supermajority requirement, our public health, education, and other economic structures have been cut by at least $10 billion over the last three years, while unproductive tax breaks have remained completely intact. Like I-1053, I-1185 would extend the mandate that all tax increases be subject to either a public referendum vote or pass a supermajority (two-thirds) vote in both houses of the legislature.

For policymakers, the supermajority requirement works as a significant roadblock to finding responsible solutions to our severe budget shortfalls. The two-thirds mandate allows a small minority of lawmakers to block legislation needed to prevent economically damaging cuts to critical public services, at the expense of the well-being of state residents.

The imbalance caused by I-1053 has prevented the state from scrutinizing ineffective and costly tax breaks while directly leading to the enactment of over $10 billion dollars of cuts threatening our state's economic security, k-12 and higher education systems, and investments in health care.

Hampering policymakers from responsibly raising revenues directly jeopardizes our investments in safe neighborhoods, access to quality education, and supports for middle and low-income working families.

Extending the supermajority requirement will only work to prolong our state’s slow economic recovery, as thousands of working families lose access to child care, individuals with disabilities are cut off from critical financial supports and over 20,000 adults are left without job search and training assistance.

Limiting our state lawmakers with the supermajority requirement is irresponsible, and serves only  to limit future opportunity for all Washington residents.

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