7/24/2014

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Politics

Votes on tax increases coming, but won't change outcome

Votes on tax increases coming, but won't change outcome
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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - Voters will weigh in on whether they would repeal or maintain five measures the Legislature passed this year that will bring the state about $200 million in revenue over the next two years. But regardless of the results, no laws will change.

A 2007 initiative approved by voters requires an advisory vote by the electorate if lawmakers pass a tax increase without putting it to a public vote. But the vote is just an opportunity for voters to state their opinion.

The state had its first such votes last year on laws removing a tax break for large banks and extending an existing fuel tax paid by oil refiners and gasoline sellers. Voters disapproved of both.

Initiative promoter Tim Eyman, who was behind the 2007 initiative creating the advisory votes, insists they influence lawmakers' behavior in the future, The Daily Herald of Everett reported.

But the chairman of the House Finance Committee where tax bills are formulated and debated said the advisory measures are "meaningless".

Rep. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, says Eyman is "a creative fellow who has found a way to make money in pushing these meaningless advisory votes and pretends they are more substantive and impactful than they really are."

Information about the advisory votes fills out 10 of the 32 pages of the state voters pamphlet prepared by the secretary of state's office, at a cost of $140,000.

The measures voters will give their opinion on include a bill that eliminated an exemption for married couples on the state's estate tax. Also on the ballot is a question about a telecommunications bill reforming the types and amounts of taxes collected from providers of cell, landline and cable phone services.
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