Washington Senate Adopts Two-Thirds Rule For New Taxes | KUOW News and Information

Washington Senate Adopts Two-Thirds Rule For New Taxes

Jan 12, 2015
Originally published on January 12, 2015 6:04 pm

Washington Governor Jay Inslee wants a new capital gains tax to help fund schools and other priorities. But Republicans in the state Senate voted Monday to make it harder to get a tax proposal like that through the legislature.

No sooner had the gavel fallen than the partisan fights began. Majority Republicans proposed a change to the rules of the Washington Senate. All new forms of taxation would require a two-thirds vote before they were brought to the floor for final passage.

Democrat Andy Billig said the rule would make it harder to govern from the middle in a sharply divided legislature.

“This set of rules is a recipe for gridlock,” he said.

Republican Michael Baumgartner dismissed that suggestion.

“Even this rule before you is a sign of compromise,” Baumgartner said. “Some of us wish it had applied to all taxes.”

A spokesman for Governor Inslee said the new rule is not a “huge game changer” and notes it could be repealed.

There is an exemption to the new Senate rule. A supermajority vote would not be required for a new tax if there’s a referendum clause to allow a public vote on the issue.

In 2013, the Washington Supreme Court tossed out a voter-approved supermajority requirement for tax hikes.

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