Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Read Reuven Carlyle's guest column opposing Tim Eyman and BP's Initiative 1053

These days, it's rare for the Seattle Times to publish anything on its opinion pages that isn't moldy or stale, besides David Sirota's syndicated column. So when it does print something refreshing, it's worth a blog post.

Such is the case today. Our good friend Reuven Carlyle — who ably represents several of the activists who serve on NPI's Board of Directors in the state House, has penned a must-read piece which presents a well-argued case against Tim Eyman and BP's Initiative 1053, relying upon the arguments we've been making since January to eloquently deconstruct the measure. Here's an excerpt:
On a deeper level, this initiative isn't really about taxes. It's about your democratic right to fairness.

Under the undemocratic I-1053, 17 legislators are encouraged and empowered to join forces to effectively seize control of our state revenue process. It prevents a majority of your 147 bipartisan citizen-legislators from prudently managing our finances. Despite our state's substantial challenges we still maintain the highest bond rating possible — saving taxpayers tens of millions — because of our fiduciary ability to responsibly balance the $32 billion budget.

I-1053 allows 17 legislators to block a new user fee as small as 25 cents for 911 emergency services, or to provide financial aid for college students or supplies for teachers. Realistically, it would also have the effect of locking in each and every existing corporate tax break, loophole and special-interest deal. Forever.
Reuven also mentions that I-1053 is unconstitutional, a point that simply hasn't been repeated enough. Our founders knew that democracy requires majority rule, so they gave us a Constitution that explicitly says that the threshold for passage of all legislation is a majority vote. That means fifty percent plus one.

No more. No less.

Three of I-1053's cosponsors are right wing Republicans who are dead set on wrecking government so that it can't work for us: Pam Roach, Don Benton, and Janea Holmquist. They're all state senators.

I-1053 gives them and fourteen of their colleagues in the Senate the power to block any revenue increase that they don't like. Even if every single one of Washington's one hundred and thirty other lawmakers disagreed with them.

I-1053 is the antithesis of what democracy is really about. No surprise, then, that powerful corporations like BP, ConocoPhillips, Tesoro, Shell, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and USBank are the reason I-1053 is on the ballot.

They put up the money so Tim Eyman could force the rest of us to vote on his scheme to sabotage majority rule. They win under I-1053 because they can go to the likes of Holmquist, Benton, and Roach, and instruct them to block any bill that repeals their special tax breaks, or requires them to pay their fair share in membership dues to our state.

On or before November 2nd, uphold our Constitution and vote NO on I-1053.


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