The fate of SB5659 - Counties, Cities, Towns authorized to raise taxes above 1% limit - but only with a vote of the people

by Tim Eyman


Olympia, WA - The House & Senate both passed the now infamous Senate Bill 5659. It's a horrible bill. But it was approved, despite all of our efforts against it. There were some last minute changes that made it less horrible and many of those victories are due in large part to a state senator from Vancouver named Don Benton:

* The bill allows counties, cities, and towns to increase property taxes above the 1% limit required by our initiative I-747 but only with a public vote and only at a primary or general election (so any increase will not be allowed at a springtime, low-voter-turnout election). Originally, the bill applied to all local governments but in the final version it's only counties, cities, and towns.
* The bill allows counties, cities, and towns to raise the sales tax but only with a public vote and only at a primary election or general election (again, increases will not be allowed at springtime, low-voter-turnout elections). Originally, the bill applied to all local governments but in the final version it's only counties, cities, and towns.
* The bill allows counties, cities and towns to raise the sales tax, subject to voter approval, but it now exempts both new cars and used cars. Originally, the bill exempted new cars only.

Are we happy it passed? No way. Is it better than it was? You bet. Would any of these changes have been made without over 600 of your emails bombarding lawmakers? Not a chance.

We're waiting to see what Locke does with his line-item veto before we decide how to respond.

Over 600 emails were sent to legislators on this bill alone -- that is
extraordinary. We will never know how many tax increase proposals were killed by our efforts to create a radioactive anti-tax atmosphere in Olympia. Did we stop all tax increase proposals this year? Of course not; politicians' lust for our tax dollars knows no bounds. But thanks to all you, we killed a lot of them.

And of course, the increases that were approved will be refunded with the 25% Property Tax Initiative.

We continue to learn, adapt, and persevere. We win some, we lose some, but at long last, the taxpayers' voice is being heard.

Regards, Tim Eyman, 425-493-9127,

P.S. I offer a special apology to State Senator Val Stevens from Snohomish County. I mistakenly and unintentionally added her name to the list of legislators that needed to be lobbied on SB 5659. Val has been a consistent taxpayer-protection legislator for years and fought against and voted against SB 5659 throughout this year's legislative session. The taxpayers could use more Val Stevens' in Olympia. Sorry for my screwup, Val.

Here is the Senate roll call

Yeas: 32 Nays: 10 Absent: 00 Excused: 07

Politicians who hurt taxpayers:

Voting yea: Senators Dale Brandland, Don Carlson, Mark Doumit, Tracey Eide, Darlene Fairley, Rosa Franklin, Karen Fraser, Pat Hale, Jim Hargrove, Mary Margaret Haugen, Mike Hewitt, Jim Horn, Ken Jacobsen, Jim Kastama, Adam Kline, Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Rosemary McAuliffe, Bob Morton, Joyce Mulliken, Bob Oke, Erik Poulsen, Margarita Prentice, Marilyn Rasmussen, Aaron Reardon, Debbie Regala, Dave Schmidt, Larry Sheahan, Betti Sheldon, Harriett Spanel, Dave Swecker, Pat Thibaudeau, Shirley Winsley

Legislators who protected taxpayers:

Voting nay: Senators Don Benton, Luke Esser, Bill Finkbeiner, Steve Johnson, Linda Evans Parlette, Pam Roach, Dino Rossi, Tim Sheldon, Val Stevens (sorry again, Val), Joe Zarelli

Excused: Senators Lisa Brown (voted "yes" earlier), Alex Deccio (voted "yes" earlier), Jim Honeyford (voted "yes" earlier), Karen Keiser (voted "yes" earlier), Bob McCaslin (co-sponsor of SB 5659), Paul Shin (voted "yes" earlier), Jim West (voted "yes" earlier) -- -- a "yes" vote hurt taxpayers, a "no" vote protected taxpayers

Here is the House roll call

Politicians who hurt taxpayers:

Yeas: 52, Nays: 40, Excused: 06

Voting yea: Representatives Bailey, Berkey, Bush, Campbell, Chase, Clibborn, Cody, Conway, Cooper, Darneille, Dickerson, Dunshee, Edwards, Flannigan, Fromhold, Grant, Haigh, Hatfield, Hudgins, Hunt, Hunter, Jarrett, Kagi, Kenney, Kessler, Kirby, Lantz, Linville, Lovick, McCoy, McDermott, McIntire, Miloscia, Moeller, Murray, O'Brien, Pettigrew, Priest, Rockefeller, Ruderman, Santos, Schual-Berke, Simpson, Sommers, Sullivan, Talcott, Tom, Upthegrove, Veloria, Wallace, Wood, and Mr. Speaker

Legislators who protected taxpayers:

Voting nay: Representatives Ahern, Alexander, Anderson, Armstrong, Benson, Blake, Boldt, Buck, Cairnes, Carrell, Chandler, Clements, Condotta, Cox, Crouse, DeBolt, Delvin, Ericksen, Hankins, Hinkle, Holmquist, Kristiansen, McDonald, McMahan, McMorris, Mielke, Morrell, Morris, Newhouse, Nixon, Orcutt, Pearson, Pflug, Quall, Romero, Schindler, Shabro, Skinner, Sump, Woods

Excused: Representatives Eickmeyer (voted "yes" earlier), Gombosky (voted "yes" earlier), Mastin (voted "no" earlier), Roach (voted "no" earlier), Schoesler (voted "no" earlier), Sehlin (voted "yes" earlier) -- a "yes" vote hurt taxpayers, a "no" vote protected taxpayers


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