Shea statement on attempt to suspend I-960, raise taxes

Spokane Valley Rep. Matt Shea said today he is extremely concerned about a bill introduced this week that would suspend the super majority required to raise taxes through the middle of 2011 and make other permanent changes to the tax-limiting measure, Initiative 960, which voters approved in 2007.

Senate Bill 6843 received a hearing in the Senate Ways and Means Committee yesterday and is expected to move quickly through the legislative process.

“Paramount among my many concerns regarding this legislation is that the majority party in the Legislature is using this as a tool to overrule the will of the people.  Two years ago, the voters expressly put I-960 into place to rein in government spending and tax increases. It is arrogant for the Legislature to ignore the express wishes of our citizens, and it will be to the detriment of this state,” said Shea.

The 4th District Republican says the sole purpose of SB 6843 is to allow Democrats to raise taxes.

“Leaders of Democrats in both the House and Senate fully understand they will not have Republican votes they need to reach a two-thirds majority to increase taxes. That’s because Republicans believe the best way out of our budget mess is to create jobs in the private sector, not take more money from people already struggling to pay their bills,” said Shea. “It’s essentially a way to do an end-run around the voters and Republicans in the Legislature so they can raise taxes.”

Shea is concerned that tax increases could push Washington’s economy deeper into a recession at a time when more than 334,000 people are out of work, including more than 6,600 in the 4th Legislative District.

“Tax increases are the wrong direction for the state. I believe raising taxes will have the opposite effect of increasing revenue for the state,” said Shea. “For those of us who live in the Spokane area, we think the tax package expected from Olympia is the ‘Idaho Economic Stimulus Act,’ because it will force many of our local businesses to either shut down or simply move 20 miles across the border into Idaho.”

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Washington State House Republican Communications