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Initiative 601, limiting state spending, was enacted by the voters in 1993. I-601 requires two-thirds vote to raise taxes and limits the annual growth in state spending to the average rate of increase in the state population and inflation during the past three years.
This year, the projected revenues for Washington State are $1.7 billion greater than they were for the last biennium. Under I-601 the state would be allowed to spend $1.63 billion of this, increasing state spending by approximately 7 percent.
However, Democrats in both the House and Senate have proposed $26 billion budgets that represent about a 12 percent increase in spending over the current two-year budget. And both chambers have proposed tax-increase packages of around $480 million.
Senate Bill 6078 suspends I-601 in order to allow this increase and to allow taxes to be raised with a simple majority. As if that is not enough, SB 6078 looks to future years and recalculates the spending limit on a 10-year average of state personal-income growth beginning July 1, 2007. This will allow spending to grow approximately 2 percent faster that it is now.
The desire to spend over the limit is not about education. Both the House and Senate budgets fund Initiatives 732 - teacher COLAs, and Initiative 728 - classroom sizes, as well as other education enhancements. The total increase in proposed education spending is about 7 percent, or the current limit under I-601.
Senate Bill 6078 passed the WA House of Representatives April 15th with 50 votes. The following representatives voted yes.
Sullivan, B. (D)
Sullivan, P. (D)
SB 6078 passed the state Senate April 16 with 25 votes. Voting yes were the following Senators:
The legislature now has the capability of raising your taxes with a simple majority. Contact your elected officials today and ask them to live within the voter-approved spending limit and not to raise your taxes.