OLYMPIA - Rep. Matt Manweller said no two-third majority vote for taxes means less bipartisanship in the Legislature and economic uncertainty for the state.
The state Supreme Court struck down last week the requirement the Legislature pass new tax increases only if it has two-thirds majority, calling the requirement unconstitutional. Manweller, R-Ellensburg, said the need for compromise and discussion between the two parties are gone.
"It means less bipartisanship because now majority Democrats don't need to negotiate with minority Republicans," he said in a press release. "In the past, Democrats needed to work with Republicans if they were ever going to get 66 percent of the vote."
Manweller said without the two-thirds requirement, the Seattle-based majority could impose higher taxes at will.
"Under the two-third requirement, minority Republicans in either the House or the Senate could stop tax increases, but that check has been eliminated by a state Supreme Court dismissive of the people's will," he said.
He also said without the two-thirds rule, the economic environment faces more uncertainty.
"Business owners and entrepreneurs need a stable economic environment," Manweller said. "They need to know what the horizon holds before they invest, hire and grow."
The only option to revive the two-thirds majority is through a state constitutional amendment. Senate Joint Resolution 8205 would do just that but requires two-thirds approval in the House and Senate. Manweller supports the amendment but doesn't see this happening.
"The real solution here is: the judges that passed that ruling, they have to put their names on the ballot too. You're going to get a chance to vote against those judges before you get a chance to vote on the two-thirds amendment," he said at a public forum Wednesday. The forum was held in Moses Lake and citizens had the opportunity to hear from Manweller and Rep. Judy Warnick, R-Moses Lake, via Skype.
"We need to remember who those six judges were and when their name shows up on a ballot for re-election, you vote no and you send a clear message that if those judges aren't going to accept the will of the people, maybe they shouldn't be judges," Manweller said.