Voters have a hefty ballot to get through this year. The people will vote on nearly every statewide office, two state legislative positions, two seats in Congress, U.S. president and two seats on the Walla Walla County Board of Commissioners. In addition, there are six state ballot measures that will be decided.
Yet, voters are also being asked to waste their time on two advisory votes that are a direct result of the passage of Initiative 960 in 2007. Voters have nobody but to blame but themselves for this inane exercise.
I-960, one of Tim Eyman’s many anti-tax initiatives, set a variety of thresholds aimed at making it tougher for lawmakers to increase taxes. One was a two-thirds majority to approve a new or increased tax or fee (an idea we have come to endorse). The other called for an advisory vote of the people after lawmakers approve a tax or fee by the required two-thirds majority.
Non-binding advisory votes are simply unnecessary. And this was a major reason we opposed I-960 five years ago.
An advisory vote in these two cases would appear to be overkill. The increase in taxes or, as in one case, the closing of tax loopholes were approved by a huge majority in the House and Senate.
Beyond that, we simply don’t need to have advisory votes on every tax proposal. We elect legislators to make those decisions.
If we aren’t happy with their decisions, we vote them out of office.
Nevertheless, there will be two advisory questions on the ballot — Advisory Vote 1 and Advisory Vote 2.
We recommend voters cast their ballots that both tax decisions be “maintained.”
Advisory Vote 1 focuses on legislation that eliminated a mortgage-related tax deduction for large financial businesses. It was a prudent piece of legislation approved by 35-10 in the Senate and 74-24 in the House.
The other advisory vote regards extending an existing tax on wholesale petroleum products. It was approved 40-0 in the Senate and 93-1 in the House.
We urge voters to give legislators support for the decisions even though this action is non-binding and meaningless.