URGENT--Your Vote Is Needed On I-1366

Date: October 06, 2015

Supporters and opponents of Initiative 1366 are wondering where NFIB members stand on amending the state’s constitution in order to balance the budget. They know small-business owners are highly regarded and looked to in every community in Washington state. They also know that their largest and leading association, through regular balloting, takes positions based solely on what its members tell it are vital to their interests.

The following information has been faxed to NFIB/Washington members this week. We ask that you look it over and give us your decision on this matter. You can also click here to print the ballot and fax it back. The fax number is on the one-page form.

I-1366 – Amend the state constitution or cut the state sales tax.
SUMMARY:On five occasions, Washington voters have approved initiatives requiring a two-thirds vote of the legislature to raise taxes. In 2013, the state supreme court ruled that a super-majority requirement for raising taxes could only be enacted by amending the state constitution, invalidating the two-thirds requirement previously adopted by citizen initiative. The legislature must propose a constitutional amendment; it cannot be done by initiative. So, I-1366 would reduce the state sales tax from 6.5 percent to 5.5 percent unless the legislature sends a constitutional amendment to the ballot requiring a two-thirds vote of both chambers of the legislature to increase taxes. Voters would then decide whether to add that requirement to the state constitution.
SUPPORTERS say a two-thirds super-majority vote of the legislature is necessary to prevent massive tax increases and runaway state spending. They note that when the legislature has suspended or repealed previous two-thirds requirements, or the court has invalidated them, taxes have skyrocketed – by $9 billion in 2005, $6.7 billion in 2010, and $17.5 billion this year. They argue that I-1366, the Taxpayer Protection Act, will force the legislature to reform government, prioritize spending and re-evaluate existing programs. Raising taxes would be the last resort. I-1366 should be approved.
OPPONENTS point out that just 17 senators could block any tax increase, even one eliminating an outdated or unfair tax break. If the legislature fails to place a constitutional amendment on the 2016 ballot, I-1366’s sales tax reduction would strip roughly $1.5 billion per year from the state General Fund, forcing deep cuts to K-12 schools, higher education, public safety, and healthcare. The state is already under court order to increase funding for basic education and mental health services cut during the recession. The legislature should decide by majority vote, as the constitution now requires, how to raise and spend money on essential government services. I-1366 should be rejected.
Should I-1366 be passed into law? 
[     ] Yes[     ] No[     ] Undecided
Should NFIB/Washington become involved in this issue based on the results of this ballot?
[     ] Yes[     ] No[     ] Undecided

Related Content: Small Business News | Washington

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