Rep. Norma Smith offers alternative to repealing Taxpayer Protection Act
Last night, House Democrats passed Senate Bill 6130, which repeals provisions in the 2007 voter-approved Taxpayer Protection Act, Initiative 960. Rep. Norma Smith, R-Clinton, expressed her concerns about the measure on the House floor:
“I believe today we had an opportunity to change the way we do business in Washington. As the Republican leader on economic development issues, I offered an alternative to higher taxes and fees. I firmly believe that instead of solely considering ways government can extract more money from citizens and private-sector employers, we could have put Senate Bill 6130 aside and started looking at ways to grow our tax base by encouraging a climate that fosters private-sector job retention and creation. Putting people back to work is the solution to our budget shortfall.
“With a two-fold comprehensive strategy, we have within our power the ability to weather this downturn in government revenues without raising taxes. First, we must enact a true 'priorities of government' discipline that would require us to fund the essentials first, and make the needed sacrifices in other services to adjust our state spending. Then, with political courage, we must make a commitment to address the issues creating difficulty in Washington for current and potential employers to stabilize, invest and grow their businesses and create jobs. We have solid studies that rank our state's economic development advantages and disadvantages. We must tackle our ranked disadvantages from the bottom up, and market our strengths to attract and retain businesses.
“Repealing critical taxpayer protections to increase taxes and fees will have the opposite effect on our state's economy. It will further erode our state's job base and hurt our low- and fixed-income residents the most. Putting more people out of work through job-killing tax hikes is not the direction we should be taking. Last night, the Legislature did the state a grave disservice to opening the door to higher taxes and shutting the public out of the debate on how to turn the state's financial situation around by repealing the many of the transparency elements I-960 required. I believe we can turn our state budget around without new and higher taxes.”
The Taxpayer Protection Act (I-960) passed in 2007 with 55.3 percent of the vote in the 10th Legislative District, and 51.2 percent statewide. Current law requires: a two-thirds vote of the Legislature for tax increases; public e-mail notifications for tax increases proposals; and citizen advisory votes on tax increases.
Senate Bill 6130, as passed by the state House, would remove the two-thirds vote requirement of the Legislature and the citizen advisory vote for tax increases immediately after being signed into law by the governor.
There are currently 77 bills in the state House that, when combined, would increase taxes and fees by more than $3 billion in the state's next fiscal year. The governor's proposed tax package adds up to more than $600 million.
The 60-day legislative session is scheduled to adjourn March 11.
###Washington State House Republican Communications