Year after year, the voters in our state approve an initiative requiring tax increases to either require a two-thirds vote of the Legislature or a majority of voters to raise taxes.
And year after year, the Legislature either tries to upend the initiative or find ways around it. This year is no different.
Ballots distributed to voters last week include a five nonbinding advisory votes on tax increases approved by only a simple majority of the Legislature.
The measures include Substituted Senate Bill 5444, Sentate Bill 5827, Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1846, Second Engrossed Second Substituted House Bill 1971 and Engrossed House Bill 2075.
The largest of the tax increases, Engrossed H.B. 2075 which refers to the “death tax,” totals $478 million over 10 years. It is being levied retroactively on estates of owner’s who died more than 10 years ago. Clearly, this type of tax tactic should not be allowed and sets a bad precedence.
The other advisory votes are on an excise tax on taxpayers who lease publicly owned property, an excise tax on commuter air carriers, an insurance premium tax for pediatric dentistry and a retail sales tax for telephone and telecommunications services.
Those taxes will not only be levied on businesses, they will be passed on to consumers at a time when job growth and the economy are at best stagnant.
While the ballot measures are non-binding advisory votes only, we as taxpayers need to fire a shot over the bow of lawmakers, making them aware of the fact that these backroom tactics are not appropriate.
We urge you to vote to “repeal” the measures, if only to make a symbolic statement.