Walsh introduces Empower Washington Voters Act

Aberdeen, WA – Rep. Jim Walsh, R-Aberdeen, recently filed the “Empower Washington Voters Act,” House Bill 1582.

According to a release, the measure would require every new state tax or tax increase be approved by Washington voters before it takes effect.

“For years in this state, we’ve had ‘Tax Advisory Votes’ that have no teeth,” Walsh said. “Many Washington voters believe these advisory votes are binding on public policy. But they’re not. When people find out the truth, they’re furious. This new bill answers that fury by giving the advisory votes real power.”

Under House Bill 1582, existing Tax Advisory Votes become a practical tool for approving tax increases.

The mechanics of the advisory votes stay the same, taking place at the next general election after a state tax is created or increased.

The only change would be that the tax hike won’t take effect unless a majority approves it in the relevant Tax Advisory Vote.

Walsh’s bill has several cosponsors in the Washington State House of Representatives.

“This change empowers Washington voters,” Walsh said. “It gives the people of this state real and direct veto power over tax policy that affects their everyday lives. It’s the best kind of democratic tool, within our constitutional republic.”

Walsh acknowledges that filing House Bill 1582 near the end of the current legislative session means the proposal will have to wait until the next legislative session for a hearing and possible House vote.

“That’s okay,” Walsh concluded. “As with my recent anti-vaccine passport bill, the goal here is to set these important reforms up to move forward in the next session. We’ll spend the next few months building up bipartisan, grassroots support. And then, hopefully, we can move fast as soon as the next session in Olympia starts.”

The 2021 legislative session is scheduled to end Sunday, April 25.