State Senate votes to rescind I-960’s tax limitations

OLYMPIA — At first, they didn’t succeed.

So Senate Democrats tried again Wednesday to knock down a voter-imposed barrier to raising taxes.

And this time it tumbled.

In a 26-22 vote shortly after 11 p.m., the Senate swept aside Initiative 960 in its entirety, through July 1, 2011. One day earlier, senators passed a bill suspending only a portion of the 2007 measure, an action Democrats deemed a mistake they rectified with Wednesday’s do-over.

The action means the majority party will be relieved of the measure’s powerful requirement that any tax increase be approved by two-thirds of lawmakers or a vote of the people.

The Democrat-controlled House is expected to follow suit. This will allow Democrats, on a simple majority vote, to proceed with their bills to raise hundreds of millions of dollars in new revenue for education, health care and social service programs facing cuts due to the state’s nearly $2.7 billion deficit.

Saturday morning, the House Finance Committee will take up the first major package of revenue proposals as well as debate the I-960 bill.

How they voted

Yes: Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano Island; Rosemary McAuliffe, D-Bothell; Paull Shin, D-Edmonds; Jean Berkey, D-Everett; Darlene Fairley, D-Lake Forest Park

No: Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens; Val Stevens, R-Arlington

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