King County judge strikes down voter-approved anti-tax initiative

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Eyman

Tim Eyman (File photo)

KING COUNTY, Wash. — A judge says Tim Eyman’s latest anti-tax measure is unconstitutional and void in its entirety.

King County Superior Court Judge William Downing issued his ruling on Initiative 1366 on Thursday.

The measure, approved by voters in November, would have cut the sales tax by one percentage point, beginning in April, unless the Legislature allows a public vote on an amendment that would require a two-thirds supermajority for future tax increases.

Opponents, including two Democratic lawmakers and the League of Women Voters of Washington, sued, saying constitutional amendments can’t be proposed by initiative and the measure violates the rule that initiatives be limited to a single subject.

 

But lawyers for Eyman and for the state, which is defending the voter-approved measure, responded that I-1366 was legal.

The ruling is expected to be appealed.

Eyman responds

Tim Eyman is urging lawmakers to let voters decide whether they want a two-thirds supermajority for future tax increases even though a judge has tossed out his tax-limiting initiative.

Eyman was testifying before a Senate panel considering a two-thirds constitutional amendment when he received a text from his lawyer informing him of the judge’s ruling.

Eyman told lawmakers “we obviously disagree with the judge and his decision but it does not change what the voters decided and I would certainly encourage this Legislature to move forward with it as it goes upward to the Supreme Court.”

Gov. Jay Inslee says Thursday’s ruling striking down Tim Eyman’s Initiative 1366 will allow the Legislature to focus on its priorities without being distracted by the measure.

The governor says those priorities include figuring out how to pay for education, deal with the state’s teacher shortage and boost funding for mental health and wildfires.