A bill linking citizen initiatives to their actual taxpayer costs got a hearing Monday in a House committee. But the proposal’s fate was unclear after several critics spoke out sharply against it.
House Joint Resolution 4224 has bipartisan support and 23 co-sponsors. Proposed as a constitutional amendment, it says any initiative that adds more than $5 million in new taxpayer costs must identify a new tax or revenue source, or the state elections office cannot give it a number for the ballot.
Democratic Rep. Fred Finn of Thurston County sponsored it, saying in an interview that the state just can’t afford all the good ideas voters approve, including Initiative 1163 that passed in November to require about $18 million in extra state spending to improve training for homecare workers. Finn said that just three measures – led by Initiative 728 and I-732, which were passed in 2000 for education funding – cost more than $1.2 billion per budget cycle.