Sen. Roach to reintroduce two-thirds majority constitutional amendment

Sen. Pam Roach - Courtesy photo
Sen. Pam Roach
— image credit: Courtesy photo

For the Reporter

Saying she wants to give new legislators the opportunity to show their support for taxpayers, state Sen. Pam Roach (R-Auburn) is renewing her push for a constitutional amendment requiring two-thirds legislative approval or voter approval to raise taxes.

"There is no issue that garners greater voter support from the public than the popular two-thirds-for-taxes vote requirement," Roach said.

The voters approved the two-thirds legislative requirement for taxes in 2012's Initiative 1185 by 62 percent statewide. It did not go into effect due to a court ruling of unconstitutionality soon after enactment.

"The resolution I am offering would allow voters the opportunity to put protections directly into the state constitution. I believe the voters should have the right to vote financial safeguards into the constitution. Only the legislature can forward that option to the voters," Roach said.

The resolution is worded as SJR 8205 which Roach introduced last year.

The Legislature will likely not act on the bill, Roach said.

"The Legislature clearly does not want what the voters want," Roach said, "but by reintroducing the bill senators can make a statement to the voters in their districts. If they agree to sign on as a sponsor then they are on record as moving the bill forward. If they refuse to sign. They obviously do not support the bill."

Roach said she will circulate the resolution to each member.

"If voters don't get the chance to imbed what they wanted in the constitution, voters should know who stood in the way," Roach said.

This taxpayer protection policy has been approved by the voters five times over the past 20 years and it received increasing level of support each time it's been on the ballot.

In 2012, it passed in every county and every legislative district except the 5th in Seattle. That means that 88 of 98 house members and 34 of 39 state senators represent districts filled with voters who overwhelmingly support the two-thirds vote requirement.

Roach continued: "We owe it to our constituents to put this resolution to a Senate vote. My message to colleagues is simple: pass the resolution and let the people decide."

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