Tag Archives: Eyman

League Supports Ruling Against Supermajority

The League of Women Voters of Washington welcomed the State Supreme Court’s decision that an initiative requiring a two-thirds vote to raise taxes was in conflict with the state Constitution, thereby giving the Legislature the authority to pass laws by simple majority. The LWVWA filed an amicus brief which argued that the rule was inconsistent with the history and text of the Constitution—reasoning that the Court ultimately adopted!

“This is a big win for schools, for infrastructure, and especially for democracy,” said Kim Abel, Co-President of the League of Women Voters of Washington.

“The brief filed by LWVWA clearly played a key role in the majority opinion that struck down the two-thirds rule,” said attorney David Perez, who authored the LWVWA’s amicus brief pro bono. “The ruling was largely based on an understanding of the meaning of the phrase, ‘unless a majority.’ We argued that the Framers of our Constitution meant a ‘simple majority.’ And the Court agreed.”

“Voters want good schools, safe bridges and roads, clean air to breathe and clean water to drink along with trustworthy elections and safe communities—all the work of our elected officials,” says Abel.

Many are skeptical that even with the simple majority requirement the current legislature will be willing to identify additional revenue. Ms. Abel disagrees. “We believe that this decision will allow the legislature to do the job they were elected for and manage the budget in a way that meets the most basic needs of the state.”

Linnea Hirst, LWVWA Co-President, concurs: “This court ruling will help our legislators fulfill their responsibilities in accordance with the Constitution, as emphasized by the recent McCleary decision requiring full funding of public education.”

The League of Women Voters is a respected nonpartisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

A Call to Action

Kim Abel, former Port Orchard mayor and current League of Women Voters of Washington Lobby Team Chair, sent this e-mail message out today:
Dear League Members,

Now more than ever we must stop devastating cuts to education, healthcare, environmental programs, and services for the most vulnerable. The future of our state and our economic prosperity depends on it!

This is one of those times YOU can make a difference by showing up in Olympia! This Saturday and this Monday your presence is needed. In light of increasing needs for services and lowered revenues sources hit by this terrible recession, the League needs you to make a difference.

First, this Saturday morning, the House Finance committee is holding a hearing on very important bills to help preserve services and programs important to the League. The hearing addresses Tim Eyman’s Initiative 960 (SB 6843 and SB 6130), and a bill that would close $210 million in tax loopholes, (HB 3176). The hearing is this Saturday, February 13th, at 9:00a.m. in Hearing Room A in the John L. O’Brien Building on the Capitol Campus in Olympia. To ensure a space, please be there by 8:15am. League Lobby Team members will be there to support planned speakers. You can help them by signing in to support the bills above and stay to show your support with your attendance.

Second, whether you can make the Saturday hearing or not, we need YOU to make a difference by attending the Rally to Protect our Future on President’s Day, Monday, February 15th. As part of the Rebuilding Our Economic Future Coalition, the League needs to show that Washington supports a positive, balanced approach to our state budget that includes new revenue, not just cuts.

It’s incredibly important to show up at the Capitol for these two events. It is not our usual phone call or email (although you can still do that, call your Representatives and share your support for the bills being heard tomorrow), but in this sound/sight bite era, it is very important to be present! Please call your League friends, your co-workers, your neighbors and your relatives and fill up a vehicle and join us in Olympia.

Thank you for all that you do,
Kim Abel
LWVWA Lobby Team Chair
(360) 874-6774

Follow the Money on the Campaign Trail

Have you ever wanted to check to see who is giving money to a particular candidate or ballot initiative?
It’s not difficult with modern technology. You can go to the state’s Public Disclosure Commission website, www.pdc.wa.gov, click on Search the Database and from there go to “Candidates,” “Statewide Ballot Initiatives” or other categories you will see.
You can discover that Bremerton Mayor candidate Will Maupin has raised $53,320, while his opponent, former Kitsap County Commissioner Patty Lent, has raised $46,795.
Their biggest contributors? Maupin got contributions of $1,000 each from Hampton Inn & Suites, McCormick Land Company and the Kitsap County Association of Realtors.
Lent got a $1,000 contribution from Rod Parr, owner of Parr Ford Mazda, two contributions of $500 each from dentist Gregory Wilde and $500 from developer David Overton.
More interesting, perhaps, are the reports for the pro and con campaigns on Initiative 1033. This is Tim Eyman’s latest proposal, aimed at limiting revenue increases for state, city and county governments to the rate of inflation and population growth. Opponents say it does not take into account the way costs for higher education, health care and other government services often rise faster than the rate of inflation.
I-1033 has drawn a range of opponents who have raised $2.65 million to help defeat it.
According to the Seattle Times, “A broad coalition, including the Service Employees International Union, the Washington State Hospital Association and the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce, opposes the measure.”
Going to the PDC reports, you can see that the National Education Association, the SEIU and Bill Gates Sr. have all donated more than $100,000 to try to defeat the initiative.
On the other side, though — the pro-I-1033 side — there is just one donation of more than $100,000. That comes from Michael Dunmire of Woodinville, a retired investment banker who has bankrolled previous Eyman initiatives.
The pro-I-1033 committee, called Voters Want More Choices Lower Property Taxes, has raised $670,189, including $399,000 in cash contributions and $250,000 in loans. It has already spent $625,764, mostly to the group Citizen Solution for paid signature gathering.
The League of Women Voters has joined with AARP, the Bremerton Area Chamber of Commerce, the Cascade Bicycle Club, Group Health Cooperative and many other groups in opposing I-1033.
The Kitsap League will hold a ballot issues forum next week, Oct. 21, from 9:30 a.m. to noon at the Eagles Nest, near the county fairgrounds. Come and see what speakers pro and con have to say about the initiatives.
And matter what side you’re on, it’s always worthwhile to see who is financing the campaign.


Taking a Stand on Ballot Issues

The League of Women Voters never endorses candidates, but it does take positions on issues.
On the two statewide ballot issues in the Nov. 3 election, the League recommends voting yes on Referendum 71 and no on Initiative 1033.
R-71 endorses the so-called “everything but marriage” bill passed by the Legislature earlier this year and signed by the governor. It provides equal rights equivalent to those of married couples to couples the same sex and unmarried senior couples.
I-1033, sponsored by Tim Eyman, would cap the growth of state, county and city general funds at the rate of inflation, plus population growth. Any revenue above the cap would be used to lower property taxes. Revenue increases above the cap would have to be approved by voters.
Here is more detail on the state League’s positions on the ballot issues, plus websites for more information on both sides of each:

Referendum 71

At the biennial State Convention, League members voted to take a YES position on this referendum because of our position opposing discrimination. R-71 asks voters to ratify a bill that was passed in the 2009 Legislature and signed by the Governor. The bill provides equal rights equivalent to those of married couples to couples of the same sex and all unmarried senior couples in many areas including:
Death benefits for partners of police and firefighters killed in the line of duty.
Right to use sick leave to care for a seriously ill partner.
Pension benefits for partners of teachers and other public employees
Right to workers compensation benefits if a partner is killed in the course of employment
Victim’s rights
The League has joined with a coalition to do voter education, voter pamphlet statements and action. For more information, please go to the Yes on R-71 website: www.approvereferendum71.org.

LWV Positions:
League of Women Voters of the United States: “Secure equal rights and equal opportunity for all. Promote social and economic justice…”

League of Women Voters of Washington: “…no person or group should suffer legal, economic or administrative discrimination.” Position in Brief: Action to achieve equal rights for all.

Websites for more information:
Approve = www.approvereferendum71.org
Disapprove = www.protectmarriagewa.com

Initiative 1033

At our August 7, 2009 board meeting, the LWVWA Board agreed to join the No on 1033 coalition. To clarify our position opposing the initiative, the Board made an August email board decision to oppose I-1033. At our regular board meeting on September 11th, we affirmed our opposition to Initiative 1033.

Based on our position regarding fair, open and flexible taxes, the Board believes this initiative is none of these. I-1033 is misleading and complicated. Limiting expenses through a rigid and arbitrary formula based on population growth and inflation, this initiative falls far short of being able to fund even our current levels of health care, education and other basic services. While I-1033 may sound good on the surface, limiting spending in this way will have many unintended consequences.

LWV Positions:
From LWVWA Principles: “…government should maintain an equitable and flexible system of taxation…”
Position In Brief: Action to obtain a balanced tax structure that is fair, adequate, flexible and has a sound economic effect.
The League of Women Voters of Washington believes that flexibility and recognition of changing times and needs is important in tax policy.

Websites for more information:
Pro = www.permanent-offense.org
Con = www.no1033.org