NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Monday, October 19th, 2015

City of Seattle joins coalition opposing Tim Eyman’s awful I‑1366 with unanimous vote

The broad, diverse, bipar­ti­san coali­tion fight­ing to defeat Tim Eyman’s awful Ini­tia­tive 1366 by Novem­ber 3rd just keeps on get­ting bigger.

Today, the Seat­tle City Coun­cil vot­ed unan­i­mous­ly to put the state’s largest munic­i­pal­i­ty on record as opposed to I‑1366, which would slash $8 bil­lion in sales tax rev­enue over the next six years — unless the Leg­is­la­ture bows to the will of Eyman and his wealthy bene­fac­tors and pass­es an amend­ment sab­o­tag­ing our Con­sti­tu­tion’s major­i­ty vote require­ment for pas­sage of bills and budgets.

I‑1366 is a mil­i­tant, hostage-tak­ing scheme cooked up by Eyman in the wake of the failed fed­er­al gov­ern­ment shut­down in 2013. As Eyman’s pre­vi­ous attempts to sab­o­tage major­i­ty rule were struck down as uncon­sti­tu­tion­al by the Wash­ing­ton State Supreme Court in League of Edu­ca­tion Vot­ers v. State, Eyman is try­ing to coerce law­mak­ers into mod­i­fy­ing Arti­cle II, Sec­tion 22 of our Con­sti­tu­tion by tak­ing Wash­ing­ton’s youth (and all the rest of us, too) as his hostages.

Arti­cle II, Sec­tion 22 is the pro­vi­sion that says we run this state demo­c­ra­t­i­cal­ly, and that a major­i­ty vote is the thresh­old for pas­sage of leg­is­la­tion. And major­i­ty vote means greater than fifty per­cent. No more, and no less.

Tim Eyman does­n’t want deci­sions about rev­enue to be made the way our founders intend­ed… by fifty of nine­ty-eight rep­re­sen­ta­tives and twen­ty-five of forty-nine sen­a­tors. He wants to change the rules to allow as few as thir­ty-three rep­re­sen­ta­tives or sev­en­teen sen­a­tors to dic­tate what hap­pens by requir­ing a two-thirds vote.

Iron­i­cal­ly, though, chang­ing the Con­sti­tu­tion requires a two-thirds vote, because our Con­sti­tu­tion is our plan of gov­ern­ment, which isn’t meant to be changed light­ly. And Eyman does not have the votes. So he is resort­ing to black­mail. Extortion.

Thank­ful­ly, peo­ple and orga­ni­za­tions all around Wash­ing­ton State are stand­ing up and say­ing NO to Ini­tia­tive 1366. Just about every respectable major news­pa­per in the state has come out against I‑1366, too.

And now, so have our state’s two largest cities. Spokane went first, last week, and now Seat­tle, the Emer­ald City, has joined this most noble of caus­es as well.

Seat­tle’s res­o­lu­tion oppos­ing I‑1366 was unan­i­mous­ly approved after speech­es by Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Tim Burgess and Coun­cilmem­ber Kshama Sawant.

Burgess briefly explained the harm the ini­tia­tive would inflict, and urged a no vote. Sawant con­curred and empha­sized that Sce­nario 2 of I‑1366 could lock in Wash­ing­ton State’s incred­i­bly regres­sive, worst-in-the-nation tax code for all time (because it would close off the leg­isla­tive process as an avenue for tax reform).

The Coun­cil then heard pub­lic tes­ti­mo­ny for and against the res­o­lu­tion. Sev­er­al civic gad­flies spoke in favor of I‑1366 and against the res­o­lu­tion, includ­ing peren­ni­al office seek­er Good­spaceguy, who laugh­ably referred to Eyman as a hero.

Rep­re­sent­ing the NO on I‑1366 Coali­tion was Sara Kiesler of Fuse Wash­ing­ton, one of the ear­li­est orga­ni­za­tions to take a posi­tion against the mea­sure, along with NPI, the King Coun­ty Democ­rats, and the Wash­ing­ton State Democ­rats. Sara not­ed that I‑1366 is a “lose-lose” ini­tia­tive, and urged vot­ers to reject Eyman’s attempt to toy with our state Con­sti­tu­tion, which has served us well since state­hood in 1889.

NPI thanks Coun­cilm­bers Burgess, Sawant, Har­rell, God­den, O’Brien, Okamo­to, Bagshaw, Ras­mussen, and Lica­ta for their sup­port of our cam­paign. Togeth­er, we can reject the pol­i­tics of hostage-tak­ing and defeat Tim Eyman’s I‑1366.

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