Petition picks up 5k signatures to limit city council tax hikes

Petition picks up 5k signatures to limit city council tax hikes
YAKIMA, Wash. -- Nearly 5,000 thousand verified signatures and counting. Yakima voters making their voice heard loud and clear.

"Taxes affect how much money people have to put food on their table," Ben Shoval.

Ben Shoval is a Yakima businessman. He organized the Citizens For Two-Thirds Committee.The group wants to keep Yakima's taxes low by requiring that council to get a two-thirds majority vote on future tax increases.

It would require five out of seven council members to agree on the hike. Currently, it's just a simple majority of four out of seven.

"It's important that taxes are well considered before they're imposed on voters," Ben said.

The group's petition has been circling for weeks. It now has enough signatures to make its way onto the ballot in November.

City council voted against the two-thirds idea earlier this year. Mayor Micah Cawley tells KIMA it didn't seem like enough people cared about it.

And, he thinks a two-thirds vote might limit the council.

"We don't need to have any more rules and restrictions, we've got plenty from the state and federal government so why are we going to limit our ability and authority when we already have close votes sometimes on issues," Cawley said.

Still, thousands of voters apparently feel different. And, Cawley said the council is listening.

"We'll operate however the voters tell us to because they're our bosses and that's what we do at the end of the day," Cawley said.

"Voters have consistently made clear that they support two thirds," Shoval said. "And, this is a perfect opportunity for them to decide whether they want to apply the two thirds rule in the city of Yakima as well."

One big grassroots movement hat might make a two-thirds change.