Rep. Ed Orcutt introduces taxpayer protection constitutional amendment

Rep. Ed Orcutt, R-Kalama, has introduced a proposed constitutional amendment that would make it harder for the Legislature to raise taxes. House Joint Resolution (HJR) 4215 would refer a state constitutional amendment to the November ballot that would require a two-thirds vote, a supermajority, of both legislative bodies for any tax increase. Bicameral approval could be waived if the Legislature referred the action to the voters, in which case, a simple majority would be sufficient.

“Lawmakers need to represent the will of the people.  Since 1993 there have been six initiatives to put limits on tax increases. Each time it was approved by the voters, and then overturned by legislators or the courts. I believe the citizens of Washington state have earned the right to permanently protect themselves with this common sense policy,” said Orcutt.

Recently the King County Superior Court struck down as unconstitutional Initiative 1366, a measure passed by voters last November. 1366 would cut the state sales tax by one percent if the Legislature does not put the two-thirds requirement in place. The court ruled against the initiative stating it usurped the role of the Legislature by proposing to place restrictions on its ability to raise taxes.

“The Legislature needs to use tax increases as a last resort.  Voters have consistently supported a two-thirds supermajority. The court has said it will not stand unless it is a constitutional amendment. It is time for the Legislature to put this forth as a constitutional amendment so the voters can have the final say,” said Orcutt.

HJR 4215 would place restrictions on tax increases, including any action by the Legislature that would raises taxes. Amendments to the state constitution require a two-thirds vote in the Legislature and then approval by voters at the next general election.

Click here to read more about HJR 4215.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov