To quote State Senator Dale Brandland (R-Bellingham), “We’ve had an awful session.” Brandland uttered those words just before storming off the Senate floor last week infuriated by anonymous calls to his office making lewd character accusations.
Bawdy phone calls aren’t the only reason this session has been awful. Democrats have run amok with their majorities in both houses and with their so-called governor. At least twice they have unraveled the will of voters by suspending or lifting laws enacted through citizen initiatives. First in suspending I-601, an initiative passed in 1993 mandating a two-thirds majority vote in the legislature to raise taxes. Last weekend the House and Senate voted narrowly to lift that mandate and delivered a half billion dollar tax increase with just a simple majority.
Yesterday the Senate approved its transportation budget, again with tax increases. It also voted to successfully repeal the $30 car tabs that passed by a strong voter majority 6 years ago in I-695. Now citizens are facing a $10-$20 increase in their car tabs. This shouldn’t bode well for residents of rural eastern Washington. Most of the funding will go towards mega-transportation projects in the Seattle/Puget Sound area.
I guess I can forget about having the Guide Meridian widened in Whatcom County, damn those Canadians. I digress.
Tim Eyman, the somewhat infamous voter initiative tycoon said of the vote on Wednesday night, "I have never seen such open hostility to the voters' having their voices heard.” No kidding. Eyman fans need not worry, though. He's planning an initiative next year to undo the legislature’s undoing.
These are shameful acts of arrogance. Considering that both of the above mentioned initiatives passed by strong voter majorities, what right does the legislature have to reverse them? When a representative of the people votes contrary to the direct will of his constituency, he has rendered himself a useless part of the Republic.
Voters should take note of this session. They should remember their 37.5 cents per gallon tax (That’s the newly passed 9.5 cents on top of the existing 28 cents) as they simultaneously watch their gas prices soar from external factors. And they should remember this session when they have to front 10% more for their plasma TV warranty at Best Buy because we forgot to tax it before. Further, they should remember this session when the have to pay estate tax, sin tax, and high surcharges at the county auditor’s office.
They should take note and remove legislators like Rep. Dawn Morrell (D-Puyallup) and Rep. Kelli Linville (D-Bellingham) for their flip flopping on these major issues in the ’06 mid-term election.
My prediction is that this session is the undoing of democratic majorities in the legislature.