Washington State’s Fiscal Dilemma – Letters
February 23, 2011
Hon. Frank Chopp
Washington House of Representatives
Olympia, WA 98504-0600
Re: The Ultimate Fiscal Initiative
Dear Representative Chopp:
Ten years ago the Seattle Post Intelligencer published an editorial I submitted (copy
attached) suggesting a plan to get us out of the state’s perennial budgetary dilemmas. In it
I deplored — as many others have — the woeful fiscal system of this state, largely due to
the fiscal initiative fever that has plagued us and that has hamstrung the legislature’s efforts to
avoid financial crisis.
I proposed a solution that would, on the one hand, accept the inevitability of incurable
excessive direct democracy brought about by conflicting fiscal initiatives, but would, at the
same time, harness and embrace it by “giving voters a better alternative.” The solution
would be a constitutional amendment that would:
Eliminate all taxing limits and spending mandates — past,
present and future, whether enacted by initiative or by the Legislature
itself, and replace that with an ultimate fiscal referendum to the people,
requiring the Legislature to submit biennial budgets to the voters.
The Seattle Times on the March 23, 2002, also published my proposal in a letter to
the editor headlined “Mainlining Democracy”. But no one took me up on this suggestion.
Yet since then the same problems persist and have worsened. Recently Michael Perlman,
U.W. professor of statistics, proposed essentially the same plan (see editorial, Seattle
Times, April 24, 2011, “Eymanize It”).
Ten years have passed since that first editorial, yet we are still facing crisis after
crisis. This is a plan whose time has come. In the attached article I explain why. Also
included for your consideration is a draft of a complete bill proposing such a constitutional
Very truly yours,
Jerome R. Cronk