Analysis: Why 2/3’s for taxes?
When a caucus has an even skinny margin, say 25/24 one would think they all realize that hanging together is better than hanging separately. Since everyone adds Senator Tim Sheldon to a “no tax, fairly conservative leaning” approach to law making, maybe we should write 26/23.
So, why would this majority caucus want to futz around with a rule that will require a 2/3 vote for the scheduling a new taxes? Shouldn’t they be able to sound the alarm and rally the Torries as Winston Churchill use to say? (NOTE: THIS IS NOT A RULE ABOUT FINAL PASSAGE. IT’S ABOUT A PROCEDURAL REQUIREMENT. FINAL PASSAGE VOTE IS CLEAR IN THE CONSTITUTION, “MAJORITY” AS PER THE SUPREME COURT RULING. THIS IS OR WILL BE, OR WOULD HAVE BEEN A RULE FOR MOVING A BILL FROM CALENDAR TO FLOOR VOTE, MAYBE EVEN OUT OF COMMITTEE, NOT CLEAR AT THIS POINT.)
There’s more here than meets the eye, and surely more than we see from our humble used furniture office, but think about this. We are starting to see the chink in the armor. If Dunshee and DeBolt and Honeyford do come to some agreement on stormwater funding and flood control, is the Guv going to whisper to Honeyford that he gets the water project money in the capital budget if he votes for the carbon tax? By the way didn’t we see former Rossi campaign manager and former legislator Jay Vander Stoep testifying at a hearing this last fall about a coalition he and others have put together to help get funds for water projects and flood control? (Folks, this stuff does not materialize out of thin air) Remember, in one of the many du jour diverse utterances of where the carbon money will go, the Guv mentioned flood control and water projects…and later education…and some transportation…and well you remember the fall of 2014.
And what of the 2016 ballot? It’s the year when all the urban Senate R’s are up for reelection. Nothing gets urban lawmakers going like a general election and the demand for education, and strong environmental laws, and other such urbane approaches to collective rule. Will the citizens of these often well heeled districts still want some money for reduced teacher to student ratios, and roads? How about school funding in general, as in McCleary?
And, Senator Joe Fain has been very open about his desire for transportation funding over the last year. He took public stage last week to encourage the legislature to adequately maintain our road and highways.
The people who read Washington State Wire know who will be voting in 2016. It will not be the conservative, white, older and Obama-opposers who voted in 2014, for sure. Unless the Senate R’s handle it correctly, Carbon Washington will have a tidy little, written-behind-the-curtain carbon tax or cap and trade initiative to bring out all these urbane, lefties to check the box.
So, a 25 or 26 majority in the Senate screams out for a 2/3’s rule. And half the people in the caucus, heck half the people in the state are tired of the Supreme Court wandering over the separation-of- power line and looking into the legislative branch’s underwear drawer. So who cares what they say about votes required for taxes. It’s about time someone, some group stands up and defends the legislative branch of government.
Anyway, since we have all sorts of manners here at the Wire, and we would never add to this post the possibility of a couple, a few, unfaithful, difficult independent members of the Senate R caucus, we will stop here and just finish with, “forewarned is forearmed”. Someone really smart said that. And the Senate R’s are on the tactically correct approach considering they are surrounded by a tax hunger Guv on the far left and tax tolerant House on the other left.
Also, why do we think Senator Dammeier and others took a shot at the majority leader position? Concern about no new revenue opportunity for education and transportation? Maybe. Dammeier is already on record saying he won’t support the 2/3’s rule.
Bottomline: The Senate’s time might be better spent preparing a constitutionally defensible rule that requires all revenue bills to out of the chamber of origin by the end of the first week of session. Anyway, for now let’s see what happens when they spit in the Supreme Court’s face and adopt a 2/3s vote for revenue, and let the games begin.
Quote of the century: Once, when asked why she was so powerful and able to hold her caucus together on issues, then State Senator and Majority Leader Jeannette Hayner simply said, “Well, we don’t need anything.”
You start needing “things” you start having to wander around and vote for other stuff. It’s called legislating. Darn Greeks, huh?
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