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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

March 13, 2013 at 4:30 PM

Lawmakers should consider voters on taxes

The people should not always have the final word

The Times keeps continuing its attack on the Supreme Court ruling on taxes so I am responding to the March 10 editorial telling legislators they should respect the people’s votes on the two-thirds tax-restriction initiative [“Lawmakers should heed voters on decisions about taxes,” Opinion, March 10].

This is a complete outrage. The Times still doesn’t believe that the state constitution does not support the two-thirds tax requirement. The editorial shamefully suggests that you can get the two-thirds requirements anyway by getting the legislators to support it by not voting for taxes, even if a majority support it. Why don’t you give it up and support our justices, who have made a decision on what the state constitution actually says?

A vote by the people in support of something unconstitutional does not make it right in our form of government, and that is a good thing.

–Michael Johnson, Kent

Supermajority allows for minority interests to trump majority

The Seattle Times in its recent editorial errs in it’s judgment that supermajority votes are somehow in the best interests of our state. Logic says that to require a supermajority vote to pass legislation means that the minority interest would trump the majority interest. Under Initiative 1185, if 17 State Senators out of 49 Senators said no to a revenue bill to fund education, they would prevail over any majority vote by both the state Senate and House.

As the state Supreme Court noted, “ … a supermajority requirement for ordinary legislation would allow special interests to control resulting legislation. While the current Supermajority Requirement applies only to tax increases, if carried to its logical conclusion, the State’s argument could allow all legislation to be conditioned on a supermajority vote. In other words, under the State’s reasoning, a simple majority of the people or the Legislature could require particular bills to receive 90 percent approval rather than just a two-thirds approval, thus essentially ensuring that those types of bills would never pass. Such a result is antithetical to the notion of a functioning government and should be rejected as such.”

–Steve Zemke, Seattle

Comments | More in Seattle, State initiatives, Tim Eyman, Washington Legislature | Topics: Initiative 1185, supermajority

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