8th District lawmakers fight for Taxpayer Protection Act
Majority Democrats in the Washington State House of Representatives voted 51-47 to overturn the will of the people last night by suspending Initiative 960, the Taxpayers Protection Act.
Senate Bill 6130, which passed the House after lengthy debate late Wednesday night, eliminates the two-thirds vote requirement by the Legislature for tax increases.
Eighth District lawmakers, Rep. Larry Haler, R-Richland, and Rep. Brad Klippert, R-Kennewick, voted against Senate Bill 6130 and issued the following statements:
Rep. Larry Haler
“I've heard from hundreds of people in my district on this issue. And the overwhelming majority – almost 90 percent at last count – have asked me to fight for the taxpayers of this state by voting against Senate Bill 6130. Voters have asked repeatedly for a high threshold to pass taxes. By overturning the Taxpayer Protection Act, we're causing further distrust between the public and state government.
“We haven't set clear priorities when it comes to spending. Voters want us to exhaust every option available before coming to them for more taxes. Tax increases should be the absolute last resort, not the first option. I did not vote for Senate Bill 6130 and I do not support tax increases as a way to balance a budget that has suffered from years of overspending when times were good.”
Rep. Brad Klippert
In his floor remarks, Klippert said he had an obligation to defend the will of the voters and to protect the taxpayers he was elected to represent.
“Each of us in this chamber took an oath of office when we came to the House of Representatives. In that oath, we promised to uphold the constitutions of the United States and the state of Washington. In the Preamble of the U.S. Constitution, it states: 'We the people in order to form a more perfect union and to establish justice….'
“Mr. Speaker, we the people have spoken through the Taxpayer Protection Act, and the voters have asked us to use one method to pass taxes from this floor, and that's with a supermajority. President Lincoln, in his Gettysburg Address, spoke of a government that was 'of the people, by the people and for the people.' On the people's behalf, I stand here today in opposition to Senate Bill 6130. I ask that the House not take the easy course to raise taxes and put the burden of this budget deficit on the people of Washington state. Instead, I ask that we do the difficult thing and make government more efficient. It's up to us to do the hard work.”
The Taxpayer Protection Act(I-960) passed in 2007 with over 61 percent of the vote in the 8th 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 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 60-day legislative session is scheduled to adjourn March 11.
For more information, contact: Brendon Wold, Senior Information Officer, (360) 786-7698.
###Washington State House Republican Communications