Think tank: Eyman's tax-vote laws killed jobs
Thursday, August 23, 2012
Initiative guru Tim Eyman's arguments for a supermajority requirement for all legislatively enacted tax increases are well documented. He says it curbs wasteful spending, forces lawmakers to work across political aisles, and requires lawmakers to make a stronger case for revenues.
But the left-leaning Washington State Budget and Policy Center issued a sharply critical report Thursday that says Eyman's initiative efforts have also cost the state 18,000 jobs including teachers and child-welfare advocates. Also, the report says, Initiative 1053 of 2010 has slowed the economic recovery from recession and kept the state from making investments in healthcare and education that support jobs and a strong economy.
"The supermajority law has made it nearly impossible for lawmakers to take a responsible and balanced approach to Washington's ongoing economic problems. Instead, just a handful of lawmakers -- those who are ideologically opposed to any tax increase for any purpose -- have forced the majority to accept unnecessarily deep cuts to public health and education priorities in the last few years," the report says.
The report, by fiscal analyst Andy Nicholas, comes a few months before voters are poised to weigh in on the two-thirds supermajority requirement yet again -- this time in Initiative 1185, which Eyman is sponsoring.
The report, which cites more than $10 billion in spending cuts since 2009, is online at http://budgetandpolicy.org/reports/supermajority-laws-damaging-legacy. It goes on to say that for every $1 in new taxes that was raised, $17 in services were cut.
Nicholas said some of the lost state jobs might have been justified in an effort to streamline state government and make it cheaper to operate but they also included 6,000 local education jobs and child protection workers, at a time when there is great demand for health services and job training.
Eyman was not fazed by the criticisms. In an email response to the report, he said:
"The voters overwhelming rejection of a state income tax and no to 2 cents on a can of pop in 2010, combined with the RoadKill Caucus, it's pretty doubtful that there was the political will in 2011 and 2012 to pass tax increases even with a simple majority vote of the Legislature. Remember it was Gregoire who said "3 strikes, you're out" when it comes to tax increases (she was referring to the voters rejection of I-1098 and approvals of I-1107 and I-1053)."