Initiative 1053 reinstates the will of people

If the people want restrictions on tax votes they should get those restrictions.

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Over the years we have been troubled by political activist Tim Eyman's initiative aimed at handcuffing government -- from eliminating the motor vehicle excise tax to capping property tax. We felt the initiatives would ultimately result in government being underfunded and unable to provide necessary services.

Eyman is back again with yet another initiative aiming to put restrictions on the state Legislature.

But this time around we are in Eyman's corner on principle.

Voters in the past have imposed a two-thirds majority for the Legislature to raise taxes as well as spending limits. The Democrat-controlled House and Senate have found ways around those restrictions, ultimately wiping them away.

It's a troubling trend that we see as a snub to voters.

Initiative 1053 would bring back the required two-thirds legislative majorities for tax increases. Lawmakers would have the option of putting the tax hike on the ballot. In addition, I-1053 calls for new or increased fees to require legislative approval by a simple majority.

Three years ago Eyman's Initiative 960 was similar to I-1053 although it mandated non-binding advisory votes by the people. We saw that as a waste of time and, more importantly, money. Holding an election is very expensive. For example, Walla Walla County taxpayers have to fork over about $50,000 for each countywide election.

Again, we aren't wild about the two-thirds majority requirement to raise taxes as it would seem -- in theory -- to be unnecessary in a representative government where lawmakers are doing the will of the people.

But over and over again lawmakers found tricky ways around voter-approved hurdles to taxing and spending.

The way in which the voters' will has been usurped is wrong. We urge voters to approve I-1053.

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