Washington Senate Adopts Two-Thirds Rule For New Taxes
Washington Governor Jay Inslee wants a new capital gains tax to help fund schools and other priorities. But Republicans in the state Senate voted Monday to make it harder to get a tax proposal like that through the legislature.
No sooner had the gavel fallen than the partisan fights began. Majority Republicans proposed a change to the rules of the Washington Senate. All new forms of taxation would require a two-thirds vote before they were brought to the floor for final passage.
Democrat Andy Billig said the rule would make it harder to govern from the middle in a sharply divided legislature.
“This set of rules is a recipe for gridlock,” he said.
Republican Michael Baumgartner dismissed that suggestion.
“Even this rule before you is a sign of compromise,” Baumgartner said. “Some of us wish it had applied to all taxes.”
A spokesman for Governor Inslee said the new rule is not a “huge game changer” and notes it could be repealed.
There is an exemption to the new Senate rule. A supermajority vote would not be required for a new tax if there’s a referendum clause to allow a public vote on the issue.
In 2013, the Washington Supreme Court tossed out a voter-approved supermajority requirement for tax hikes.