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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spin Control

Tax super majority amendment heads to Senate

OLYMPIA -- A proposed constitutional amendment  that would require the Legislature to approve tax increases with a two-thirds super majority was sent to the full Senate Thursday morning.

On a 4-3 vote, the Senate Government Operations and Security Committee sent the proposal to the panel that decides the scheduling of bills on the Senate floor.

The fate of Senate Joint Resolution 8211 in the committee was not really in doubt because its prime sponsor, Sen. Pam Roach, is the committee's chairwoman and a political ally of Tim Eyman, the main force behind the initiative from which the proposal gets its language.

Initiative 1366, which passed last November, would directed to the Legislature to approve such an amendment and send it to the voters in 2016, or the state's sales tax would be cut by 1 cent per dollar. A King County Superior Court judge has since ruled the initiative is included in an initiative that passed last November but has since been ruled unconstitutional. An appeal to the state Supreme Court is expected.

All members of the Senate's Majority Coalition Caucus -- the 25 Republicans and one Democrat who joined them -- support the proposed amendment, so it's almost certain to come to the floor. But a constitutional amendment requires a two-thirds super majority in both chambers to be sent to the ballot, and most Senate Democrats oppose it, so the amendment may fail.

House Republicans also have introduced a version of the amendment, but it has yet to be scheduled for a committee hearing. It doesn't take the Carnac the Magnificent to predict that if the Senate can't muster the necessary votes for its version, don't look for the House proposal to see the light of day in the Finance Committee.

Jim Camden
Jim Camden joined The Spokesman-Review in 1981 and retired in 2021. He is currently the political and state government correspondent covering Washington state.

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