Tim Eyman’s anti-tax Initiative 1366 may have won in the election, but now faces legal challenges

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SEATTLE -- Tim Eyman won another big anti-tax victory during these week’s election.  But a legal challenge from opponents has already begun.  They claim that Initiative 1366 violates the state’s Constitution.

Do they have a case?  Well, see what you think.  But let’s start by reviewing what the people passed on Tuesday.

Here are the basic elements of I-1366:

  • It would lower the state’s portion of the sales tax by 1 point (from 6.5% to 5.5%), unless…
  • The Legislature passes a constitutional amendment to require a supermajority to raise taxes.

Now that seems like it should be OK, to put some fire under legislators to reinstate the supermajority requirement that use to exist.  But here is the potential problem:

  • According to the Washington Constitution, amendments must originate in the Legislature and then be sent to people for ratification (not the other way around).

So, what do you think? Does citizen Initiative 1366 change the Constitution or just give legislators a choice?

Opponents argue that citizens threatening lawmakers into passing a constitutional amendment is the same thing as citizens passing a constitutional amendment.  Eyman says no way. The Legislature doesn’t have to do anything.  They can just live with a lower sales tax, although that would cost the state a lot of revenue.

A court will have the final say in the next few months.

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