Editorial: State reps miss on levy bill

Tenth District Representatives Barbara Bailey and Chris Strow aren’t representing Oak Harbor very well on the bill that would allow school levies to pass with a 50 percent majority rather than the 60 percent now required.

The bill (HJR 4205) passed the House by the required two-thirds majority. Strow voted against it. Bailey voted for it, but copped out by saying she’s against it, but just wanted the voters to have their say. The change requires a constitutional amendment, which will also take a two-thirds vote in the Senate and approval by the people, likely next November.

The bill is limited enough that both Bailey and Strow should have supported it with enthusiasm. It does not apply to school bond issues, which generally are expensive proposals such as a new high school and would still require 60 percent voter approval. It applies only to maintenance and operation levies, such as the one Oak Harbor voters will be deciding on March 8. Such levies usually maintain current school programs, or offer modest new ones that are thoroughly aired in public, and should not require 60 percent approval.

Oak Harbor’s modest proposal on March 8 seems to have widespread community support and should pass with the required 60 percent. But no tax issue is a certainty in this city, as numerous past elections have shown. If it fails with 59 percent support, maybe that will show Reps. Strow and Bailey why the House bill they do not support is so important to this community. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

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