Schmudget Blog

I-1053’s Supermajority Requirement is Excessive and Unreasonable

Posted by Andy Nicholas at Jul 22, 2010 12:00 PM |

Initiative 1053, one of the five ballot measures examined in the latest policy brief from the Budget & Policy Center, would undermine legislative flexibility and rational decision-making at time when these attributes are most needed. Among other things, the measure would reinstate a requirement that all tax increases – no matter how small – be subject to a public referendum vote or a supermajority (two-thirds) vote in the legislature.  

The supermajority requirement distorts rational decision-making by elected officials. Even in normal economic times, the requirement gives a small minority of lawmakers the ability to obstruct important legislation. The supermajority mandate is especially problematic during recessions, when a handful of legislators can block measures needed to preserve basic public services and prevent further economic damage. 

This year, lawmakers temporarily suspended the expanded supermajority requirement that was established under I-960 – an action that allowed them to enact a modest package of revenue enhancements needed to protect fundamental public services like health care and education.

If enacted, I-1053 would prematurely reinstate the supermajority requirement, making it virtually impossible for legislators to adopt a rational and balanced approach to Washington’s ongoing economic problems in the coming year. 

To read the entire paper, please visit our website.

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View the Budget Matters 2016 conference plenary panel, "What's at Stake in the 2017-2019 Budget: Funding McCleary and Beyond," on TVW. Moderated by Ann Dornfeld of KUOW with a budget overview by our own Andy Nicholas, the panel 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 a brief intro by Executive Director Misha Werschkul and an intro video by Gov. Inslee.

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Our agenda for the 2015-2017 biennium calls for an equitable, sustainable revenue system in addition to state investments that: promote a world-class education system; sustain a strong middle class; produce living-wage jobs, and ensure that all Washingtonians have equal opportunity to get ahead. 

Testimonies in Olympia

We testified in support of a number of important bills during the 2016 legislative session. Take a look:

  • Our testimony (at the 23:23 minute mark) on the House Bill that would take a two-generation approach to preventing poverty 
  • Our testimony (at the 1:54:09 mark) on the House bill focused on aerospace-related tax breaks
  • Our House testimony (at the 9:25 mark) and Senate testimony (at the 1:44:54 mark) on the two-generation approach to poverty prevention bill 

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