OLYMPIA The state Senate voted 26-23 Monday to require any bills creating new revenue sources to be supported by two-thirds of members for passage.
The majority caucus — all Republicans and two Democrats — voted in favor of the procedural rule. The remainder of the Democrats opposed it.
The Northwest Progressive Institute, reacting to the passage, called it an engineered stunt by Sens. Michael Baumgartner and Doug Ericksen.
"Less than two hours after taking their oaths of office, Senate Republicans stomped all over our state's cherished tradition of majority rule by pushing through a change to Senate procedure that aims to give one-third of senators the ability to block bold new ideas that would strengthen our commonwealth," institute founder Andrew Villeneuve said. "Ironically, they used a majority vote to infringe on majority rule, because they cannot muster the two-thirds required to amend our state's Constitution as Tim Eyman has demanded."
The procedural move comes after Gov. Jay Inslee's previous calls for increases in gasoline and other taxes to fund transportation projects.
In Eastern Washington, however, residents have called on the governor to rein in unnecessary spending before raising taxes or creating new ones.
For example, Okanogan County residents previously blocked attempts by state Department of Transportation officials to construct an unnecessary roundabout on U.S. Highway 97 at Okanogan. Residents suggested turn lanes along the rural highway and called on state officials to put money into dilapidated bridges — like the Okanogan River bridge entering downtown Omak — before constructing roundabouts.