I can’t find the press release mentioned in this article online, so I’ll pass doing the full metacommentary on it. But Senators Mike Baumgartner and Doug Ericksen are pushing to change the rules in the GOP controlled Senate so that it would take a 2/3 vote to pass tax increases.
It’s a terrible idea, of course. On top of being an anti-democratic copycat of an unconstitutional idea, it assumes that tax increases are somehow a different category than spending cuts. But things being terrible ideas never stopped the GOP from having them.
Without getting too deep into the parliamentary weeds, the changes involve steps before a final vote. Technically a bill should receive three “readings” before coming to a final vote. But full bills are never read completely. A clerk starts on the text and before he or she needs to take a breath the presiding officer usually calls “last line”, meaning the reader skips to the final line of the legislation, whether it’s at the bottom of that page or 1,000 pages later.
The second reading is usually skipped in a procedure called a “suspension of the rules” that allows the bill to jump forward for a final vote. Baumgartner and Ericksen want to change that rule to require a two-thirds vote to move a bill forward for the final vote. They also want to change another bill requiring that super majority when the Senate agrees to a bill that comes over from the House for final passage after being batted back and forth for changes.
Could the Democrats as stridently do that sort of nonsense? Could we require a 2/3 vote for — I don’t know — tax breaks for major corporations in the state House? Or for renewing unproductive tax cuts? Or for spending cuts? Or for spending money on counties over what they send back to the state?
And not to sound like a broken but why 2/3? What’s magic about that particular fraction? I realize several unconstitutional 2/3 initiatives passed, but is it really appropriate to say that some number Tim Eyman pulled out of his ass is the right thing? It’s just so arbitrary.