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Letter From Tim Eyman to Governor Gargoyle re: I 960 & ESSB 6130

February 24, 2010 Leave a comment

February 24, 2010

To:  Governor Chris Gregoire (she can be emailed here:  govcommoffice@gov.wa.gov)

From:  Tim Eyman, ph: 425-493-9127, email: tim_eyman@comcast.net, http://www.VotersWantMoreChoices.com

cc:  Our thousands of supporters throughout the state, all media outlets — reporters, columnists, editorial writers, and others in newspapers, radio, and TV — and House & Senate members

RE:  Eyman to Gregoire:  throw some crumbs to the peasants, veto the repeal of I-960’s advisory vote on tax increases, 2 pages in voters pamphlet with legislators tax votes and costs

        90% of Initiative 960 is/was the 2/3’s vote requirement for tax increases – that was the big enchilada.  You’re going to sign ESSB 6130 at 4 pm today and suspend that requirement for this session and next session and will sign into law BILLIONS OF DOLLARS in higher taxes. 

        That really infuriates a lot of people. 

        But I-960 also addresses a very real problem in Olympia — everything’s an emergency.  The emergency clause makes bills ‘referendum proof’ and that’s what’s going to be slapped on every tax increase bill you sign this session.  The people’s constitutionally guaranteed right to referendum will be taken away on every one of them.

        I-960 anticipated this unfair situation and proposed a modest remedy:  rather than stopping the indiscriminate overuse of the emergency clause, it simply says for any tax increase bill where the people’s right to referendum is taken away, at least give the voters a chance to express their opinion (with a non-binding advisory vote) and give the voters 2 pages in the voters pamphlet listing legislators’ tax votes, their contact information, and the cost of the tax hikes.

        In other words, I-960 provided transparency and a voice for the people.

        Chris, you will take away the 2/3’s vote requirement at 4 pm today (I’ll see you there) but throw some crumbs to the peasants:  veto the repeal of I-960’s advisory vote on tax increases and the 2 pages in voters pamphlet. 

        This morning’s Seattle Times asks for the same thing — Gov. Gregoire:  Use veto to keep transparency provisions of Initiative 960http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/editorials/2011165339_edit24veto.html

        I’m asking you for this small mercy even as you take away what voters worked so hard to pass (3 times).

        This reminds me of a scene from Troy, one of my favorite movies.  Right after Achilles (played by Brad Pitt) kills Hector in a duel and drags his body back to his camp, Hector’s father Priias, the King of Troy, sneaks into Achilles’ tent and confronts him:

Priias:  “You have taken everything from me, my eldest son, heir to my throne, defender of my kingdom.  I cannot change what happened, it is the will of the gods, but give me this small mercy, I loved my boy from the moment he opened his eyes to the moment you closed them.  Let me wash his body, let me say the prayers, let me place two coins on his eyes for the Boat Man.”

Achilles responds:  “If I let you walk out of here, if I let you take him, it doesn’t change anything:  you’re still my enemy in the morning.”

Priias answers:  “You’re still my enemy tonight … but even enemies can show respect.”

         For the past six years, it is clear that you and the voters have battled over taxes.  And with regard to this particular battle, you will succeed at getting rid of 90% of I-960 — you will take away the 2/3’s vote requirement for tax increases, the jewel of I-960’s crown.

         But if you have any honor, any honor at all, you will grant the voters this small victory, proving that “even enemies can show respect.”

Washington State Fascists will try again to suspend I-960Legislative do-over

February 10, 2010 Leave a comment

This is INFURIATING.  These FASCISTS need to hear from us, and soon.  To ignore the State Constitution and the will of the people is absoloutely jaw-dropping.   Their imperialistic attitude will not be tolerated and they’re going to see just how mad We, The People are in November, but I hope they hear us LOUD AND CLEAR before then.  To say that they’ll face a WALL OF RAGE, no matter what they do, so they should just do it anyway is absoloutely UNACCEPTABLE and APPALLING.  This is Nazi crap we’re dealing with now, folks.

 GET OUT OF OUR HOUSE.  YOU ARE FIRED.

Vote would suspend entire initiative, not just part of it.

State Senate Democrats say they flubbed their vote on suspending the two-thirds vote requirement in Initiative 960 for tax increases, and they need to vote again as soon as today on a broader measure.

The Senate voted 26-23 on a largely party-line basis to suspend the supermajority vote requirement for I-960. But they really intended to suspend the entire initiative and will have to vote again, Senate Ways and Means Chairwoman Margarita Prentice, D-Renton, said Tuesday evening in a news release.

The new vote would completely suspend Initiative 960, including its requirement for nonbinding or advisory votes for any tax increases as well as publication of all tax increases approved and who voted for them.

“Today’s vote was a recognition of the revenue crisis facing our state and 47 others, and the need for immediate responsiveness on the part of the Legislature to the state’s current budget emergency,” Prentice said in her statement. “Suspending the entire initiative allows for prompt action now, avoiding the added delay and additional cost to the state that a November public advisory vote would require.

The state treasurer says the state will run out of cash by September, so you can see how that sort of delay is something the state just can’t afford.”

Republicans roasted the Democrats in floor speeches during a more than two-hour floor debate for purportedly “gutting” I-960 with Senate Bill 6843. The GOP is likely to step up those attacks.

The vote on SB 6843 initially appeared to move the Democrat-controlled Legislature another step closer to being able to raise taxes as they work to plug a budget gap now measuring $2.2 billion.

Sen. Tim Sheldon of Potlatch and four other Democrats – Steve Hobbs of Lake Forest Park, Claudia Kaufmann of Kent, Derek Kilmer of Gig Harbor and Chris Marr of Spokane – had crossed over to vote with Republicans in opposition.

Until the do-over was announced, the bill was supposed to go to the House, where Democratic leaders said a vote might not occur until next week. Democrats need Gov. Chris Gregoire to sign the bill into law before tax bills can move easily through the two chambers, because they do not have two-thirds majorities needed to approve taxes, as I-960 requires. Gregoire also backs the bill; her legislative director said she wants to be sure lawmakers can provide revenues to avoid an all-cuts budget.

In a lead-up to their vote, Democrats dropped a plan to amend several details of I-960 besides the tax-vote requirements. Instead, they chose to focus on the vote requirements – a move that was less severe than their decisions to fully suspend two education-funding initiatives in 2003 and again last year.

Rural Democratic Sens. Jim Hargrove of Hoquiam and Brian Hatfield of Raymond led the changed strategy, and it was the way a majority of the caucus preferred to go, according to Sen. Tracey Eide, Democrats’ floor leader. But it still drew thundering objections from Republicans, who said its emergency clause prevents a public referendum to overturn SB 6843 in November.

Republican Sen. Mike Carrell of Lakewood and others complained Democrats were “thwarting the will of the people.’’ But Democratic Sen. Rodney Tom of Medina said the circumstances of the state have changed dramatically since 51 percent of voters approved I-960 in November 2007, and the economic downturn has cost 225,000 jobs in the state. “This is not an easy vote, but it is the right vote,” Tom said. “We are in unprecedented times. How many of you have lived through a time like this? How many of you have family members that are unemployed, that are losing their jobs? I do,” said Sen. Eide, D-Federal Way. “Think about this. We are in a crisis. We need to think logically. And who do the people of this state turn to when they need help? To you, me, all of us. They turn to us.”

The vote on I-960 is needed to free up action on other measures to raise revenue. For instance, the House is waiting to act on a bill that closes several tax “loopholes.” Among those is House Bill 3176, which will be heard in the House Finance Committee. HB 3176 would raise $205 million in the budget year ending in June 2011, according to Rep. Ross Hunter, the Medina Democrat who sponsored the bill and is the chairman of the Finance Committee. The bill closes a tax break that was widened by a 2009 Supreme Court ruling in the Dot Foods case; it also adds an excise tax to privately owned airplanes, eliminates a sales tax break for out-of-state residents who shop in Washington, and imposes other taxes on out-of-state firms that do a certain minimum amount of business in Washington.

Numerous other tax proposals are on the table, including a tripling of a hazardous-materials tax that would mainly hit oil refiners and makes of pesticides; a cigarette tax increase; and taxes on candy, bottled water and other products.

Hospitals also have a proposal for increasing the tax, or “assessment,” they pay as a way to generate a larger matching payment by the federal government.

Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown has not ruled out broader taxes on businesses instead.

Whatever happens with I-960, Republican Sen. Cheryl Pflug of Maple Valley warned in a floor speech that lawmakers face “a wall of rage” from voters if they repeal or suspend I-960.

Democrats say that misses a larger point. Hatfield, a conservative Democrat, said in an interview before the vote that Democrats face voter anger no matter what they do. He said lawmakers already cut several billion in spending last year, which affected law enforcement and drug-prevention efforts in his district. “I think we get a wall of rage either way. If we vote for another all-cuts budget, we’ll have a wall of rage,” Hatfield said. “The easy thing to do is say, ‘Let someone else solve the problem’ and vote no. That’s irresponsible.”

 

http://www.theolympian.com/southsound/story/1132118.html

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