Home > Miscellaneous, Washington State Legislation, Washington State Petitions > Here’s the Latest on SB 6130 – I 960

Here’s the Latest on SB 6130 – I 960


Here’s what I find this morning.  I watched this debate until about 10:00 last night.   They’re going to convene at 10:00 today to continue the debate and vote later today.  Please make a trip down there if at all possible.  If you can’t make it to Olympia, you can watch the live debate and vote here: http://www.tvw.org/index.cfm?bhcp=1   You can also find it broadcast on TVW Station from your local cable provider. 

Wash. House has debate on suspension of I-960

By RACHEL LA CORTE | Associated Press Writer

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The state House had a contentious debate Tuesday night over the temporary suspension of tax-limiting Initiative 960, with opposition Republicans maneuvering to delay a vote.

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Making full use of their limited power, the GOP minority asked to indefinitely postpone action on the bill, a move that allowed each legislator up to 10 minutes of speech time and led to about six hours of debate. The House currently has 61 Democrats and 37 Republicans, and the motion ultimately failed.

“This bill completely guts taxpayer protection in this state,” said Rep. Jaime Herrera, R-Camas. “I think there is no greater thing we can do than to respect the will of the people.”

The House is expected to return to the floor at 10 a.m. Wednesday for more debate before voting on the measure that would suspend I-960, which was approved by voters in 2007.

The initiative requires that two-thirds of the Legislature approve any tax increase – a significant hurdle compared to the simple majority approval needed for other bills.

The Senate already has endorsed a suspension of that rule until July 2011, when the next two-year budget cycle begins. Majority Democrats said they needed to make that move to patch a budget deficit now pegged at $2.8 billion.

Democratic lawmakers plan to increase taxes and cut spending to balance the deficit, but they don’t have enough members to get a two-thirds vote in either the Senate or House.

“I believe that my voters want me to have a balanced view of how I look at our budget and our responsibilities here,” said Rep. Ross Hunter, D-Medina.

Lawmakers can amend initiatives with a simple majority vote after they’ve been on the books for two years, making this the first legislative session that Democrats can suspend I-960.

But critics of the plan said it would be a mistake to raise taxes while Washingtonians try to recover from the worst recession in decades.

“The bill before us would raise taxes during one of the worst economic downturns of our state,” said Rep. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale.

As it stands, the I-960 suspension bill would still allow e-mail notifications to be sent to the public about proposed tax increases, including 10-year cost projections of the measures. But the rest of the measure would be suspended, including a requirement for a nonbinding advisory vote by the public on taxes passed by the Legislature.

Four Republican amendments were rejected Tuesday night, including one that would restore the advisory vote requirement.

The changes to I-960 must clear both chambers and be signed into law by Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire before lawmakers can move ahead with tax-raising votes. Gregoire is expected to approve the Legislature’s plan.

The state Senate would have to vote on the bill one more time before it could be sent to Gregoire for final approval.

The I-960 suspension is Senate Bill 6130.

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