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Seattle Chamber of Commerce announces opposition to AWB and Tim Eyman’s I-1185

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.