Citizen Group Collecting Signatures for Ballot Initiative - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Citizen Group Collecting Signatures for Ballot Initiative

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YAKIMA, Wash.-- A new citizen group in Yakima is hoping to make it harder for city council members to raise taxes.

They're called the Citizens for Two-Thirds. The organization started gathering signatures this week to get a new measure on November's ballot.

They want to change Yakima's city charter and require a two-thirds majority vote of the city council anytime they want to impose new taxes.

Right now, a simple majority vote would pass a new tax. But, under the two-thirds rule, a super majority would be required. That takes it from four council members agreeing, to five out of seven.

The group needs 4,400 signatures of registered voters by mid-July to get the measure on the ballot. Then it would be up to voters to make the final call.

"What we're asking people to do is not decide on this now, but simply to sign in order to enable them to have the opportunity to choose whether they'd like to sensibly limit taxes," said Ben Shoval, vice-chairman for Citizens for Two-Thirds.

In February, Councilman Bill Lover asked to put the measure on this year's ballot, but his request failed when it went to a vote.

So now, the only way for it to go to voters is through a citizens group.
     
Voters in Spokane and Pierce County have already enacted the two-thirds rule.

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