Opinion

Whatcom View: Washington Initiative 1366 offers permanent protection taxes hikes

Should there be a higher threshold for state government to raise your taxes? I believe the answer is yes. I’m not alone: Five times the people of Washington have approved initiatives requiring a two-thirds vote of the Legislature or majority vote of the people to raise taxes. The last time it was on the ballot, in 2012, almost two-thirds of voters passed it.

Today I am asking you to join me in supporting Initiative 1366 – the 2/3-For-Taxes Constitutional Amendment Initiative – in November.

I-1366 is all about giving the voters the chance to vote on a 2/3-for-taxes constitutional amendment. After five public votes in favor of this taxpayer protection, I believe the voters have earned the right to permanently protect themselves with this common sense policy.

I have served Whatcom County citizens in the state Legislature for the past 17 years. I know how Olympia works – there is relentless pressure to raise taxes. I fundamentally believe that the coercive act of government taking more of your hard-earned money should require a higher vote threshold than other types of legislation.

You work hard for your money and I believe it should be harder for the government to take it. As much as candidates promise not to raise your taxes, taxes are increased almost every year. The 2/3-for-taxes constitutional amendment will protect the taxpayers by helping those politicians keep their promises by making tax increases the last resort and not the first choice.

Let’s face it: reforming government is hard but politicians taking your money and giving it to others is easy. The 2/3s amendment will force legislators to work together, prioritize spending and make government more efficient — all the things they say they want to do.

The opponents of I-1366 claim that making it tougher to raise taxes only benefits billionaires and big companies. As taxpaying members of the middle class, you and I are smart enough to know that’s not true: making it tougher to raise taxes benefits all of us. Tax-hiking politicians claim they only want to raise taxes on the rich, but when the votes are taken, powerful lobbyists protect their clients and you and I are the ones who get stuck paying the bill.

I firmly believe that after I-1366 passes, the people will get what they want: permanent protection from higher taxes.

It’s time to let the people decide once and for all if they want to permanently protect themselves from Olympia’s insatiable tax appetite. Protect yourself by voting yes on I-1366.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

State Sen. Doug Ericksen represents the 42nd district, which includes all of Whatcom County except south Bellingham and the southwest corner of the county.

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