This Washington

Poll: Support for Changing 1053 May Not be Strong Enough

By Josh Feit May 10, 2011

A new KING 5 poll on Barack Obama (49 percent approval rating in Washington State) and on Tim Eyman's I-1053 two-thirds rule for tax hikes (90 percent would vote the same way they voted last year when it passed by nearly 64 percent)—also asked about State Sen. Ed Murray's (D-43, Capitol Hill) proposed ballot measure.

Murray wants voters to rule on repealing tax loopholes: Should ending tax breaks be considered a tax increase, and therefore, be required to meet the 1053 two-thirds rule, or should the legislature be able to repeal loopholes with a simple majority vote?

The poll found 55 percent in favor of allowing the legislature to repeal tax loopholes with a simple majority. Breaking it down: Democrats favored the idea by 64 percent (22 percent were opposed); Republicans were 47 percent in favor (45 percent opposed); Tea Party voters were were 47 in favor (45 percent opposed); and Independents were 52 percent in favor (34 percent opposed).

In response to the 55 percent support, Sen. Murray says: "Usually with initiatives you want a much higher number going into a campaign, but the direction is encouraging." Typically, initiative campaigns like to start out above 60 percent.

A campaign to make it easier to repeal tax loopholes, a cause celebre of the left this year, would require traditional interest groups on the Democratic side to contribute big dollars. The Washington Educations Association (one of the biggest spenders against Eyman's 1053 in 2010 and biggest supporters of the high-earners income tax), told PubliCola they don't think 2011 is a good year for an initiative.

Adam Glickman, spokesman for another potential big donor, the Service Employees International Union, tells PubliCola: "I think [the numbers] show that the public generally did not think that when they voted for I-1053 they were seeking to allow as few as 17 legislators to protect special interest corporate tax loopholes."
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