Voters were overwhelmingly approving a measure to increase the number of yes votes required for the Pierce County Council to adopt new taxes, in early returns Tuesday.
The charter amendment requires a supermajority of five votes on the seven-member council instead of the current four.
Proponents said the higher threshold is needed to control spending. Opponents said the measure would create a super-minority.
Under a supermajority, three no votes a minority of the seven council members can defeat a proposal instead of a simple majority of four votes.
The charter amendment would take effect Jan. 2.
County Councilman Roger Bush, the Frederickson Republican who first set out to limit the countys taxing authority this year, has acknowledged the council hasnt approved new taxes during his eight years in county office.
But some on the council have voiced concern the Legislature will cut funding for county programs, then give local governments taxing authority to make up the difference. Proponents say requiring a supermajority will deter the Legislature from doing that kind of cost-shifting.
Washington voters already have installed a supermajority vote in the Legislature to raise state taxes, and they were approving Initiative 1185 Tuesday to reaffirm that requirement. The state Supreme Court is weighing a lawsuit that contends the required two-thirds vote in the Legislature is unconstitutional.
County Council attorney Susan Long has said that pending legal ruling wont affect the countys supermajority measure.
Steve Maynard: 253-597-8647