2/3 on Taxes Initiative Struck Down in Washington
Washington’s State Supreme Court ruled 6-3 yesterday to strike down a law passed by voters which requires a two-thirds vote in the Legislature or a vote of the people to increase taxes. The decision specifically overturns a 2010 initiative, but comes after two decades of voters passing the same basic initiative and seeing it repealed by legislators.
Voters passed these “2/3 to Raise Taxes” initiatives sponsored by anti-tax activist Tim Eyman in 1993, 1998, 2007, 2010 and once more in 2012. All these citizen-initiated measures were needed because initiatives passed by voters at the ballot box can be repealed after two years by legislators. The legislature in the Evergreen State, consistently seeking to raise revenue, suspended the 2/3 requirement again and again.
The lawsuit contended that the two-thirds requirement contradicts the State Constitution of Washington, which requires only a simple majority to pass laws in the Statehouse.
“Should the people and the legislature still wish to require a supermajority vote for tax legislation, they must do so through constitutional amendment, not through legislation,” the opinion of the court stated regarding the ruling.
In the wake of the ruling, Tim Eyman, who spearheaded the initiatives, pointed out that, “Almost 2/3 of voters approved the 2/3-for-taxes vote requirement in November. It passed in every county. It passed in every legislative district outside Seattle (44 of 49 districts). The depth and breadth of public support for this policy is extraordinary. In light of today’s ruling, all eyes now move to the Legislature and what they’re going to do.”
Senators Don Benton, R-Vancouver and Pam Roach, R-Auburn are currently sponsoring a resolution to amend the state constitution to make the two-thirds requirement stick.
Read More at The Seattle Times