Washington voters will get a first-ever chance to give their non-binding opinion on a pair of revenue bills passed by the Legislature this year and signed into law by Gov. Chris Gregoire in May.
According to Solicitor General Maureen Hart, voter-approved Initiative 960 triggers advisory votes on provisions of House Bill 2590, extending the petroleum tax that pays for the pollution liability insurance trust account, and Senate Bill 6635, an omnibus bill dealing with tax preferences, including a provision removing a special tax treatment for certain large banks. During debate, the banking provision was described as an $18 million boost to the state treasury. Both bills were deemed tax increases.
The non-binding tax advisory votes are the first to be conducted under terms of Tim Eyman’s I-960. That measure, adopted in a 2007 statewide vote by a 51-49 tally, is best known for requiring a two-thirds vote to approve taxes in Olympia. A lesser known provision requires the public advisory vote on such actions. After seeing the results of the advisory vote this November, the Legislature can revisit the issue, or let their original votes stand.