Opinion

Senate Democrats give the fiscal middle finger | Angie Vogt

Happy Valentine’s Day from our own Federal Way State Sen. Tracey Eide and the Senate Democrats in Olympia. But don’t expect to get kissed, as the saying goes. They don’t really care if you get anything out of their advances. Watching their actions this past week felt like illicit fiscal pornography. I felt corrupted just watching it.

The Senate Democrats (except for two) voted to dismiss I-960, an initiative that was passed by the voters of our state requiring the Legislature to have a two-thirds majority to raise taxes. The Democrats don’t like this law, seeing that it forces them to practice spending restraints. For a little history, you should know that voters have passed this kind of measure three times and waited patiently while one Senate Democrat, Lisa Brown from Spokane, challenged the initiative in court. The initiative has survived four court challenges. Citizens worked for 300 days to qualify and pass I-960, waited nearly a year for a unanimous state Supreme Court rejecting Lisa Brown’s lawsuit, and now the Senate Democrats have revoked the three-time voter-approved policy.

Not only did they revoke I-960, the people’s initiative, but they cut off any debate time and forced the vote after an exasperated Sen. Rodney Tom declared from the Senate floor, “Let’s just get on with it.” Why pretend that you really care about opposing views or debating the merits of a bill when you know you have the power to muscle this through?

The corruption doesn’t stop there. I-960 also required 10-year cost projections of any tax or fee increase and it required an open record of how individual legislators vote on proposed tax increases. These kinds of “open records” laws are called “transparency” or “sunshine” laws. Our state had been trending in favor of more transparency until this session. I’m happy to report that Mark Miloscia (D) and Skip Priest (R), our Federal Way state representatives, have been champions of this trend.

The press and the citizens should have easy access to how their elected officials are voting. This week, as part of their assault on I-960, the Senate Democrats voted to gut the transparency provisions as well. Thank you sir, may I have another?

Not too long ago, some Olympia insiders had written up a proposal to weaken the Initiative process, requiring more signatures on the initial petition and making it harder to certify the petition for a place on the next ballot. I don’t know the status of that effort, but it’s worth noting that the focus of their efforts these days is clearly against the will of the people.

“Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” The 10- to 14-year-old students in my civics class have memorized this quote. It was the one takeaway I insisted that they absorb into their precious little brains. In every conversation about government, history or social studies, I instructed them to look for where the power lies and look for any checks or balances of that power. That is the very purpose of a representative government: To keep power in the hands of the citizens, avoiding a “political class” that rules arbitrarily for their own benefit. The Olympia Senate Democrats have become a corrupt ruling class.

This is what happened in Massachusetts, led by the Kennedys, and it’s what has happened in Washington state with a long, incestuous single-party ruling class that has come to feel entitled to the fruits of our labor and to spend without any accountability. It’s time we start gearing up for battle and making our voices heard. They did it in Massachusetts and we can do it here.

Consider attending the “Push Back Taxes” rally in Olympia from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, Feb. 15, on the Capitol steps. The Sons and Daughters of Liberty will hold a Tea Party anniversary from noon to 2 p.m. Feb. 27 at Northgate between 1st and 3rd Ave NE.

Don’t let the media intimidate you by their contempt toward the Tea Party movement. It’s not a Republican or Democrat movement, but a grass-roots uprising that was inspired by citizen frustration at the establishment. It’s no coincidence that the September 12 Tea Party March in Washington, D.C., was the largest march since the Civil Rights March in 1963. It’s no coincidence that recent polling shows independents as swinging wildly in favor of smaller government and lower taxes.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Olympia. It’s time for a fresh start to our relationship. It’s time to vote the Senate bums out. Senator Eide, I’m looking at you.

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