Proposition 2 seems controversial, and I’m not sure why. Some would say it ties the hands of elected officials. Since voters elect these officials to represent us, they should be able to pass tax increases with a simple majority. If something is passed that voters don’t like, the voters’ recourse is to simply vote them out. The Spokesman-Review’s Feb. 1 editorial presented this view, and cited the water rate increase and subsequent defeat of Mary Verner.
Let me present a different view. Voters don’t simply elect officials to make decisions on their behalf. Voters also set the boundaries within which decisions can be made, like how much and when taxes can be raised. Elected officials are then expected to make decisions and set policy within a certain framework. Prop. 2 merely tightens that framework such that the City Council has to work beyond the typical 4-3 split and find broad support. That’s not a bad thing.
Further, let’s stop using euphemisms for raising taxes such as “a tool at our disposal” or “revenue change.” Part of why voters want to make raising taxes more difficult is because officials aren’t always forthright. Let’s be clear and transparent about raising taxes.