PubliCola reports that Ballard Rep. Reuven Carlyle is challenging the supermajority requirement in the emergency transit bill, SB 5457. The bill’s current form requires six of nine County Councilmembers to approve a $20 license fee that basically avoids Metro cuts for two years. Assuming all five Democrats vote for it, it would need the support of one Republican, likely Jane Hague of the inner Eastside suburbs.
On Carlyle’s blog he outlines his philosophical objecti0n:
In my view, it is unacceptable for the Legislature to institute supermajority rules for local and county governments. This sort of structural change that goes to the heart of how governments function is not trivial. As in medicine, the first rule of the Legislative Session should be to “do no harm.” This idea fails that responsibility.
I’m actually sympathetic to the point Mr. Carlyle is trying to make, although I wouldn’t sacrifice $26m of annual Metro funding to make it. I’m not equipped to handicap the politics of this, but the questions to ask are:
- Would a Carlyle amendment pass the House but then get the whole bill killed in the Senate? Carlyle seems to think it’s a possibility.
- Is Jane Hague really going to vote for this thing? What concessions would she require for a yes vote? Metro has a package of administrative reforms on the table that requires Council approval, and the budget issue adds an extra dimension of bargaining.