Buck opposes repeal of I-601 spending-limit law

Olympia, WA - 3/18/05 - State Rep. Jim Buck voted Friday against a Senate bill that would dismantle provisions of Initiative 601 and clear the way for a big increase in taxes. Instead of a two-thirds vote of the Legislature, Substitute Senate Bill 6078 would require only a simple majority to raise taxes. Buck cautioned that by erasing the law created by the passage of Initiative 601 in 1993, legislative Democrats have cleared the way for imminent tax hikes, broken faith with Washington voters, and undermined public confidence in government.

“The citizens of Washington have made clear that they want and expect state government to live within its means,” said Buck, R-Joyce. “By removing the I-601 spending-limit protections, the majority party has steered a course toward a boost in spending of 12 percent. That kind of overspending requires a tax increase, and since there is no bipartisan support to approve the taxes their budget requires, they pushed through a bill that guts the I-601 protections and turns a cold shoulder to the voters.”

Buck noted that in addition to giving voters a stronger voice in how their money is spent, I-601 has saved taxpayers more than $4 billion since it became law in 1993.

 “I don’t buy the argument that there’s an emergency in the state’s finances, and that the so-called emergency justifies abandoning the voter-approved spending-limits law. The only emergency that I see is the majority party’s insistence on raising taxes more than $500 million to pay for a level of spending we don’t need and can’t afford,” he said.

“With $1.7 billion in new revenue, we’re on much firmer ground than we were in 2003 when we came together on a bipartisan basis to pass a budget that didn’t raise taxes. That collaboration and disciplined budget writing helped get the state back on the path to economic recovery. At a time when families and businesses are struggling to make it, Senate Bill 6078 isn’t just a back-handed slap to taxpayers, it’s a round-house right.”

The measure failed 49-47 when it first came to a vote Friday night, but in a parliamentary maneuver, Democrats called for a revote and the bill passed the second time around 50-43. The amended bill was approved Saturday by the Senate and sent on to the governor.

“I hope Governor Gregoire will be guided in her decision by her conscience and the promises she made during her campaign not to raise taxes,” Buck added.


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