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The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

November 15, 2013 at 1:18 PM

Democrats to try to eliminate tax advisory votes

Democrats are taking aim at Washington state’s tax advisory votes.

State Sen. David Frockt said at a post-election fundraiser Thursday night he plans to introduce legislation as soon as next week to eliminate the votes, which he called “confusing, out of context and downright stupid.”

The proposal may go nowhere, especially in an election year when Republicans control the state Senate. But it is a symbol of Democrats’ frustration with the votes, which are the remnants of a Tim Eyman-sponsored initiative best known for requiring a two-thirds vote in the Legislature for tax increases (that requirement was thrown out by the state Supreme Court this year).

The votes are on the ballot each November, letting voters offer a retroactive opinion on tax increases passed in Olympia earlier that year.

This year, voters said they agreed with three of five tax increases approved by the Legislature.

Republicans say the results are valuable information for lawmakers. Democrats say the results are misleading because the ballot doesn’t include the context of how the money raised from the tax is spent.

Both sides agree the votes probably don’t cause lawmakers to revisit policy, and that the votes cost money — about $130,000 this year.

Frockt, of Seattle, said he would push the Senate bill while state Rep. Sam Hunt, D-Olympia, would sponsor the House version.

0 Comments | More in State government | Topics: David Frockt, Sam Hunt, tax advisory votes

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