by Jason Mercier, Chris Cargill
Washington Policy Center
June 19, 2014
A May 2014 statewide poll of Washingtonians found that 63% want greater taxpayer protection at the local level. The cities of Spokane and Yakima, as well as Pierce County, recently approved such a protective measure: a supermajority vote requirement to raise taxes. Supermajority requirements are a routine part of all democratic governing systems and are common in many Washington city codes and charters for making various policy changes. By approving a supermajority requirement for tax increases, local government officials would simply be stating a policy preference that they want a higher level of agreement before increasing the financial burden a city or county places on its citizens. As shown by the consistent support for this policy at both the local and state level, taxpayers expect reasonable limits, like a supermajority vote requirement for tax increases, to protect them from narrow, controversial votes being used to raise taxes without broad public support.