Spin Control

2/3rds for taxes amendment fails in Senate

OLYMPIA -- The Senate turned down a proposed constitutional amendment that would have required a two-thirds majority to raise taxes, failing to give it that same two-thirds approval on the vote.

Supporters insisted "the will of the people" dictated that the Senate pass the amendment onto the November ballot because voters had repeatedly approved such a restriction by initiative.

Opponents countered that it would actually create a "super-minority" that could control any legislative discussion of taxes because as few as 17 senators could block any tax measure.

The proposal by Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn, received a 25 - 21  vote, but it needed at least 33 yes votes under requirements for amending the state constitution.

An attempt to amend the amendment, allowing the Legislature to repeal tax exemptions with a simple majority while keeping the supermajority for new taxes, failed on a 20-26 vote. 

Among Spokane-area senators, Republicans Brian Dansel, Mike Padden and Mark Schoesler voted yes, Democrat Andy Billig voted no. Republican Mike Baumgartner was excused.


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Jim Camden
Jim Camden is the Olympia bureau chief, covering the Legislature and state government. He also is a political columnist and blogger for Spin Control.

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