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Supermajority rule kills jobs, harms state, study finds

Initiative 1185, which will appear on the November 2012 ballot in Washington state, jeopardizes the state’s economic future and undermines basic values held by the vast majority of Washingtonians, including healthy families, education and opportunity, thriving communities, and economic security. That’s the conclusion of a new report, “Supermajority Law’s Damaging Legacy,” released Thursday by the Washington State Budget and Policy Center.

I-1185 would renew the so-called “supermajority law,” which bars policymakers from raising additional tax resources without a two-thirds supermajority vote of the State Legislature, or a vote of the people. The new report says that law has already caused enormous damage to Washington’s economy, and renewing it would be a mistake.

During the worst recession of the post-World War II era, the supermajority law has given a small handful of lawmakers the ability to block legislation to raise the additional revenues necessary to bolster Washington’s economy. As a result, policymakers have been forced to slash funding for health care, schools and colleges, and other public investments that create jobs and support a strong state economy.

In the past three years, the supermajority law has been responsible for:

The elimination of thousands of jobs in Washington state

Protecting wasteful tax breaks at the expense of public investments that support a strong state economy

Suppressing economic growth and causing human suffering

Reducing opportunities for the next generation of Washingtonians

Without the supermajority law, policymakers could have taken a more responsible and balanced approach to the downturn — one that included new revenue to save jobs and protect basic public priorities and values.Read the full policy brief here.

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