February 1, 2013 at 1:29 PM
House Democrats turn down two-thirds majority rule for tax increases
House Democrats on Friday voted down a rule proposed by Republicans that would require a two-thirds majority to increase taxes.
Melinda McCrady, a spokeswoman for the House Democrats, said the GOP proposal would have changed procedural rules and required a two-thirds vote to bring up a tax measure for final passage.
The concept of a two-thirds threshold is currently before the Washington Supreme Court. The rule proposed by Republicans would have acted as a backup if the court rules that it’s unconstitutional to require a two-thirds vote on final passage. The GOP measure would have required a super-majority vote just to bring up a tax measure for final passage.
Current law, reaffirmed by passage of Initiative 1185 last year, requires a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate to increase taxes.
Rep. J.T. Wilcox, R-Yelm, urged fellow representatives to pass the two-thirds rule to honor the decision made by voters. He also argued that making tax increases more difficult to enact would help the economic recovery for middle-class families.
“When taxes go up, it hits [the middle class] and the people who work for them, because people don’t have the money to come in and spend,” Wilcox said.
Rep. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, argued that the House had a responsibility to fund government, and that imposing the two-thirds rule would make that more difficult. He said passage of the rule could lead to “rule of the minority.”
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