Essentially, aside from the hatred most of the lamestream media for Tim Eyman and the requisite gratuitous shots at him, the rag acknowledged the reality of the 2/3rds tax issue: we have voted for it on 6 different occasions and as such, it's time for the legislature to put this constitutional issue to a vote.
The rag beating the hell out of Eyman comes to no surprise: he wants to cut our taxes that go to the burgeoning programs the rag so favors... what was so surprising was this acknowledgement of the right of the people to have a say.
In the past, the local version of the Völkischer Beobachter (Nazi Party National Observer newspaper) has trashed most efforts where the will of the people is sought; when the outcome is in doubt viz their agenda, putting questions to the people is the anethma to them.
Is it because the rag lives on a B&O tax cut? Is it because they have finally felt the sting of the taxes we all have to pay?
Who knows. But it's like cutting the grass and finding a diamond in the back yard.
In Our View: Allow Vote on Two-Thirds
Legislature must let voters decide on changing requirements for tax increasesPublished: May 29, 2016, 6:01 AM
The ruling did not come as a surprise. Even Tim Eyman, the creator of Initiative 1366, had acknowledged that it might not pass muster in the courts, so Thursday’s unanimous state Supreme Court decision voiding the measure was predictable.
But while the courts once again have overturned a two-thirds majority requirement for raising taxes, it is time for the Legislature to follow the will of the people. Six times voters have expressed support for a higher threshold on tax matters, and six times that support has been knocked down by either lawmakers or the courts. While strong arguments can be made for or against requiring a two-thirds vote in the Legislature when it comes to taxes, such a requirement clearly is desired by the public.
Initiative 1366 presented a new twist on the issue. Rather than using a ballot measure to try and amend the state constitution, an approach that has been overturned in the past, Eyman devised a novel tactic. Lawmakers were given one of two options: Place a constitutional amendment on the ballot that could entrench the two-thirds requirement; or see the state’s sales tax rate drop by 1 percentage point. A total of 51.5 percent of statewide voters (57 percent in Clark County) agreed with that approach, painting the Legislature into a corner.
The item was largely ignored during this year’s legislative session as the issue played out in the courts. Thursday, justices said the measure violated the state constitution’s requirement that initiatives be limited to a single subject. “Based on the plain language of the initiative, we hold that I-1366 requires the Legislature to choose between two operative provisions,” read the opinion, authored by Chief Justice Barbara Madsen. “This does not constitute valid contingent legislation.” Three justices, in a concurrent opinion, also wrote that the initiative violated the constitution by essentially proposing an amendment by initiative, which is not allowed in Washington.
On a side note, it would take some time to figure out how much money the state has spent over the years in court fights relating to Eyman’s ballot initiatives. At least four times, he has promoted measures passed by voters only to be ruled unconstitutional after winding their way through the courts — odd behavior for somebody who rails against taxes and government spending. He has failed enough times to learn something — one would think.
Meanwhile, the Legislature next year should take action. The Washington Policy Center, in anticipation of Thursday’s ruling, commissioned a statewide poll by Elway Research and asked voters what they would like lawmakers to do if I-1366 is tossed out by the courts. According to the organization, 65 percent of respondents said they want lawmakers to send voters a constitutional amendment allowing them to weigh in on a two-thirds requirement.
Raising the threshold from the current level — 25 of 49 votes in the Senate, and 50 of 98 votes in the House of Representatives — could hamper government’s ability to address issues, react to emergencies, and provide needed services. It also would place an inordinate amount of influence in the hands of a small minority of legislators. But, as six previous votes indicate, the public is clamoring for the opportunity to enact those restrictions — and ultimate power must rest with the people.
Lawmakers should not view the latest Supreme Court decision as a reprieve from a lose-lose situation, but rather as a call to heed the public. They should place a constitutional amendment before voters.