Great news: Ear­li­er today, the Seat­tle Metro Cham­ber of Com­merce announced that after care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion, it has decid­ed to join the oppo­si­tion to Tim Eyman’s Ini­tia­tive 1185, which would reim­pose the uncon­sti­tu­tion­al two-thirds vote require­ment to raise rev­enue on the state Legislature.

The deci­sion is sig­nif­i­cant because the pri­ma­ry finan­cial force behind I‑1185 is the Asso­ci­a­tion of Wash­ing­ton Busi­ness, which calls itself the state’s cham­ber of com­merce, and because the Seat­tle Cham­ber sup­port­ed I‑1053 two years ago. As was the case with I‑1053, AWB exec­u­tive Don Brunell and his asso­ciates were instru­men­tal in mar­shal­ing lob­by­ists to write checks to Tim Eyman and his pals Eddie Agazarm and Roy Ruffi­no to pay for sig­na­tures for I‑1185.

We under­stand the AWB recent­ly sent Amber Carter to join Tim Eyman in pitch­ing I‑1185 to the Seat­tle Cham­ber. But the Cham­ber’s Pol­i­cy Coun­cil was per­suad­ed by NO on I‑1185 co-chairs Reuven Car­lyle and Doug Mac­Don­ald (both friends of NPI) to take a coura­geous posi­tion against the measure.

Here’s the ratio­nale the Cham­ber laid out today for its stand:

The res­o­lu­tion adopt­ed by the Chamber’s Board of Trustees notes that if passed, I‑1185 would make it more dif­fi­cult to exe­cute two key com­po­nents of the Chamber’s strate­gic plan: pass­ing a long-term, com­pre­hen­sive trans­porta­tion fund­ing pack­age, and secur­ing invest­ments in K‑12 and high­er edu­ca­tion. “Invest­ments in Washington’s edu­ca­tion and trans­porta­tion sys­tems are essen­tial to keep­ing our state a com­pet­i­tive place to do busi­ness,” said Cham­ber Pres­i­dent and CEO Maud Daudon.

Daudon explained that while the Cham­ber sup­port­ed Ini­tia­tive 1053 in 2010 as a tool for fis­cal respon­si­bil­i­ty, Cham­ber mem­bers con­clud­ed that lock­ing the leg­is­la­ture into a super­ma­jor­i­ty require­ment for anoth­er two years would make it vir­tu­al­ly impos­si­ble to address our state’s edu­ca­tion fund­ing cri­sis and to make cru­cial improve­ments to our state’s infra­struc­ture. “These are press­ing needs that can’t wait until 2015. A sim­ple major­i­ty is the thresh­old for any oth­er mea­sure that our leg­is­la­ture pass­es. I‑1185 only extends the time it takes to make deci­sions on vital investments.”

NPI oppos­es I‑1185 because, like I‑1053 and I‑960, it is uncon­sti­tu­tion­al, unde­mo­c­ra­t­ic, unfair, and unsound. Our Mod­el Res­o­lu­tion Oppos­ing I‑1185 lays out the case for why we are opposed to this poor­ly con­ceived initiative.

We applaud the Seat­tle Cham­ber’s deci­sion to join the oppo­si­tion to I‑1185, and we invite oth­er orga­ni­za­tions and indi­vid­u­als still on the fence to do the same.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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