Schmudget Blog
— filed under: ,

Battle Over I-1366 Shifts To November Ballot

Posted by Andy Nicholas at Sep 04, 2015 03:10 PM |

The Washington State Supreme Court stopped short of removing Initiative 1366 – a dangerous proposal that threatens funding for schools and other services average people rely on – from the November 2015 ballot.

Initiative 1366 would undercut democracy in our state by threatening lawmakers with billions of dollars in cuts to schools, health care, public safety, and other popular investments unless they pass a constitutional amendment giving a minority of legislators the power to overrule the majority in all state tax and budget decisions. The Court’s ruling means it’s up to voters to reject this damaging proposal at the polls later this year.

This proposal is the latest effort from Tim Eyman, who has a long history of promoting tax initiatives that benefit the richest families in Washington state at the expense of funding for education and other investments that benefit all Washingtonians.

The measure would reduce the state sales tax rate to 5.5 percent from 6.5 percent, eliminating $1.4 billion per year in tax revenues, unless policymakers do what Eyman and his ultra-wealthy backers want by passing a constitutional amendment requiring a two-thirds vote of the legislature to enact any state tax increase instead of the simple majority (50 percent plus one) required for most other legislative actions.

Voters’ decision on I-1366 will come at a crucial moment in Washington state history. In 2012, the State Supreme Court found that lawmakers have been underfunding public schools in Washington state for decades. Under the Court’s “McCleary ruling,” the legislature and the governor were ordered to increase spending on K-12 education by billions of dollars in order to ensure the state’s children receive the high-quality education they’ll need to compete in the 21st century economy. Complying with the Court’s order without doing irreparable damage to other critical investments like higher education, health care, and child care, will require policymakers to raise additional resources and modernize Washington’s 1930s-era tax system.

I-1366 threatens the state with just the opposite. The two-thirds “supermajority” vote on taxes sought by Eyman would make it virtually impossible to raise new resources for schools required by the State Supreme Court. Instead lawmakers would have to impose devastating cuts to other investments kids from struggling families need to be successful in the classroom, such as nutritious meals, mental health services, and safe housing.

Voters should reject I-1366 at the November ballot to send a clear signal that lawmakers should focus on building a prosperous future for all of Washington state’s kids.

Document Actions
HIGHLIGHTS

We're Seeking Board Members

Want to engage more deeply with the work of the Budget & Policy Center? Then consider joining our Board of Directors! We are looking for three new board members this year. Click here for details.

Watch Our Budget Beat Webinars

We host regular Budget Beat webinars throughout legislative session to bring you updates and breaking news from Olympia and timely policy analysis. Visit our YouTube channel to watch our previous Budget Beats. 

Testimonies in Olympia

To advance our legislative priorities, the Budget & Policy Center team is in the state capitol throughout session testifying on a wide range of bills. Watch our recent testimonies on TVW:
Misha TVW

View Our School Funding Plenary 

Roxana_BMC_plenary_2016View the Budget Matters 2016 conference plenary, "What's at Stake in the 2017-2019 Budget: Funding McCleary and Beyond." Moderated by Ann Dornfeld of KUOW, the plenary features Nathan Gibbs-Bowling, the 2016 Washington State Teacher of the Year; Lew Moore of the Washington Research Council; Roxana Norouzi of OneAmerica; and Sen. Christine Rolfes. The plenary starts after an intro by Executive Director Misha Werschkul and an intro video by Gov. Inslee.