Sen. Pam Roach asked the state attorney general’s office today to give an informal opinion as to whether a measure to tax cigarettes from roll-your-own machines the same as retail smokes qualifies as “raising taxes,” for Washington residents.
That’s significant, because voters passed Initiative 1053 in 2010, which requires a two-thirds vote by lawmakers to do just that.
Lawmakers passed the roll-your-own measure with a simple majority of the Senate during special session. Lt. Governor Brad Owen ruled that a supermajority was not necessary, saying the bill applies an existing tax to a new technology.
Read The News Tribune’s story about the bill here.
Roach forwarded her email request, ending it with:
P.S. Regardless of the merits of this tax increase (I voted against it), it is important that the Legislature be honest about the bills that it passes (they weren’t in this case) and follow the rules the voters require (the Legislature didn’t in this case). I am very concerned that this violation of I-1053 (I was one of the initiative’s co-sponsors) will only spur further I-1053 violations.