Voter support for tax increases still critical, McAuliffe says

Democratic state Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe says any new tax increase would need voter support to stand — despite Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling.

In a suit by the League of Education Voters and the Washington Education Association, the court overturned a voter-approved requirement that tax increases must have a two-thirds majority of both houses of the Legislature or a statewide vote. Now the Legislature can pass a tax increase with a simple majority.

Still, McAuliffe said Thursday if the Legislature doesn’t take a tax increase to voters that would make the measure politically vulnerable. Two years ago, voters overturned the candy and soda pop tax passed by the Legislature.

McAuliffe, the ranking minority member of the Senate education committee, said that the important issue for the Legislature would be finding money to provide full support for basic education by 2018 as ordered by the court. She said that she wouldn’t know whether she would support a tax increase for education until she saw budget figures later in the session that lasts until late April.

McAuliffe was slated to continue as chairwoman of the Senate committee on early learning and K-12 education until two Democrats joined with Republicans to form a governing coalition and install a Republican as chair of the committee.

McAuliffe represents the 1st Legislative District, including most of Mountlake Terrace, all of Brier and Bothell, north Kirkland, unincorporated areas of King County between Bothell and Kirkland, and unincorporated areas of Snohomish County north and east of Bothell.

Evan Smith can be reached at schsmith@frontier.com

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