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Posts published in “Day: May 30, 2012”

Throwing out 1053

Today's court decision throwing out Initiative 1053 may reshape quite a bit of Washington politics. It was a lower court decision, by King County Superior Court Judge Bruce Helle, but there's a strong chance it'll be upheld at the Washington Supreme Court level (where it certainly will reach).

I-1053 was the measure requiring that a two-thirds majority is needed in the state legislature to pass tax or many fee measures. It has put a severe limit on state budgeting options. The group No on 1052 - Uphold Our Constitution argued, "Initiative 1053 is Tim Eyman’s latest attempt to wreck government, funded by out-of-state corporations like BP, ConocoPhillips, Shell, Tesoro, Bank of America, USBank, and Wells Fargo, who want to change the basic rules our Legislature has operated by since statehood so they can preserve their special tax breaks. Under Initiative 1053, seventeen out of one hundred and forty seven lawmakers can block any revenue-raising bill that they don’t like. Initiative 1053 is an assault on our cherished tradition of majority rule – the bedrock principle of our democracy. It would effectively give a fringe minority the ability to veto important fiscal decisions."

Helle's short summary judgement decision was more to the legal point, that the initiative's "supermajority vote requirement violates the simple majority provision of Article II, Section 22 of the Washington constitution, rendering that provision of the statute unconstitutional." A mandatory referendum requirement, he wrote, violates another portion of the constitution.

If upheld, that means nothing like 1053 can hold up - Tim Eyman and his initiative organization can't simply try against with different words. The concept is too flawed, by this legal ruling.

Since the Supreme Court is unlikely to deliver a decision on this before the Washington Legislature convenes in January, this is going to create a big squabble. Not least in the upcoming general election.

Carlson: More like Simpson

Chris Carlson
Carlson Chronicles

Second District Congressman Mike Simpson continues to make a case to be Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives some day. He believes in solving problems and making government work. We need more like him.

He recently spoke candidly to the Idaho Conservation Leagues’ annual retreat at Redfish Lake. What he said was a breath of fresh air to those who are beginning to wonder if either political party will figure out that real solutions to the nation’s challenges will require compromise and bipartisanship.

Simpson not only figured it out a long-time ago, he has taken steps to form a working coalition of like-minded Republicans and Democrats. His frustration is that outside of the “Gang of Six” in the Senate he sees little else that gives any hope that the Senate, which has failed to pass a budget for three straight years, will be of similar mind.

In what some would consider heresy, Simpson repeated his endorsement of the castor oil but comprehensive approach worked out by the Erskine Bowles/Allan Simpson Commission. It arrived at a combination of entitlement reform, spending cuts and revenue enhancements that would be a path forward out of the debt wilderness would folks, including the President who formed the Commission, get behind it.

Asked about the unholy hold “take the no taxes pledge or else" Grover Norquist seems to have over most Republicans, Simpson said he’d signed the oath once and had refused to do since. He pointed out the illogic of closing loopholes and supporting tax reform being translated into further tax increases by Norquist.

A line that brought applause was a statement that he no longer signed any pledges or requests by any interest groups, that the only oath or pledge any member should take is the oath of office that pledges to defend the Constitution.

Other statements by Simpson included: (more…)