Lawmaker says ‘The people continually tell the Legislature ‘no’ and the Legislature has continually increased taxes. It’s time for that to stop’
Rep. Greg Cheney, R-Battle Ground, wants voters to have more of a voice when it comes to tax increases.
The 18th District lawmaker is cosponsoring a constitutional amendment that would require a vote of the people to approve any tax increases passed by the Legislature.
“Some of the issues that came up as I traveled around my district this past year were the issues of affordability and cost of living,” said Cheney. “It’s not just inflation, but the price of fuel, housing, higher education, health care, and child care. Every aspect of life can be financially draining. I think in response to what my constituents are saying, further parameters and protections against unwanted and unnecessary tax increases is justified.”
The proposal Cheney is cosponsoring, House Joint Resolution 4202, would require a referendum – a vote of the people – at the next general election after a tax increase is passed by the Legislature. If voters reject the tax increase, the original legislation would go back to the legislative chamber of origin. No amendments to the original bill would be allowed, but if both the House and Senate passed the measure again, it would become law without triggering another mandatory referendum.
“Voters have continually rejected tax increases, and we know this because we see the results of the tax advisory votes,” said Cheney, who is a practicing attorney. “The people continually tell the Legislature ‘no’ and the Legislature continually increases taxes. It’s time for that to stop. It’s time to add some weight to the voice of the people and let them have the final say.”
In Washington state, a constitutional amendment like HJR 4202 must have the support of two-thirds of the legislators in both the House and Senate to pass the Legislature. If that happens, it would then go to a vote of the people, where a simple majority vote would establish it into law.
The 105-day 2023 legislative session began Jan. 9.
Information provided by Washington State House Republicans, houserepublicans.wa.gov
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