When the state legislature suspended Initiative 960’s blatantly unconstitutional two-thirds requirement for passing tax increases —a measure approved by a mere 51% margin in a low-turnout, off-year election — the Seattle Times editorial board excoriated lawmakers for violating the sacred will of the people.
“Surely the people wanted it that way,” the Times insisted, citing both long-past measures and a recent made-for-TV opinion survey, conveniently assuming that populist pose they are wont to assume when, you know, it conveniently suits their purpose.
Yet the Times’ faith in the intelligence and good will of voters apparently only goes so far, for while they’ll defend to the death a tax-limiting measure approved by barely 20% of registered voters, should our legislators even dare to publicly discuss the notion of putting an income tax measure on the ballot for an up or down popular vote, well, that would be a “truly awful idea.”
The tax measure is a mix of desperation and splashes of bribery and extortion … even asking the question assumes voters are chumps.
Huh. Then why so worried? If the will of the people is so sacred, and their say at the ballot so well informed, what is the harm in putting this proposal before voters? I mean, if the idea – a 4.5% income tax on households earning over $400,000 a year, in exchange for a 1 cent cut in the state sales tax — is so “truly awful,” voters can be trusted to reject it, right?
I mean, the irony is so thick you could cut it with a knife. On the one hand, the Times lavishly defends I-960, a measure whose most prominent provision explicitly forces lawmakers to put proposed tax increases on the ballot, while on the other hand, the Times viciously ridicules Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown for proposing to do exactly that. Could the Times’ editors possibly be bigger hypocrites?
I’m not sure what the Times really thinks of Washington voters, but there’s little question they assume their readers to be chumps.