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Judge keeps Tim Eyman’s anti-tax measure on fall ballot

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SEATTLE (AP) — A King County Superior Court judge won’t block a Tim Eyman initiative that would limit the Legislature’s ability to raise taxes from appearing on the November ballot.

Initiative 1366 would decrease the 6.5-cent state sales tax by a penny unless the Legislature puts a constitutional amendment before voters that would reinstate a two-thirds legislative majority to raise taxes.

A lawsuit was filed by opponents who said because the measure would essentially change the state constitution, it’s beyond the scope of Washington’s initiative law.

In a ruling Friday, Judge Dean Lum said that while I-1366 “appears to exceed the scope” of the initiative process, it’s unclear whether free speech protections in the state and federal constitutions would preclude a pre-election challenge of the measure.

Lum said that was a determination that must be made by the state Supreme Court.

Previous voter-approved initiatives required a supermajority vote in the Legislature to raise taxes, but the state Supreme Court struck that requirement down in 2013, saying it was unconstitutional.