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WA State Supreme Court Strikes Down Supermajority Requirement for Tax Hikes!

WA Supreme Court strikes down tax initiative
(courts.wa.gov website)

Once again, the folks in Olympia just don’t get it!

The Washington State Supreme Court has struck down a voter-passed initiative that would have required a 2/3 majority vote for the Washington State Legislature to pass new tax increases.  The decision was handed down Thursday morning in Olympia.

After prodding by a collection of legislators and education groups, the Supreme Court agreed to expedite the ruling, hear the case, and make a judgement.   The court ruled the super-majority violates the Washington State Constitution.

Last fall, and in previous elections,  tax activist Tim Eyman had successfully pushed to get the super-majority measure on the ballot and it was most recently approved AGAIN by Washington voters last November.

The issue that the Supreme Court believes the super-majority clause violates the State Constitution is not the REAL issue here.   It’s the fact that for the better part of the last 2 decades, especially during the tenure of former Governor Chris Gregoire, citizens have been battling and pushing back against a legislature that has turned a deaf ear when it comes to no more taxes.

The reason Eyman and others have put forth these measures is because the state legislature has not listened to citizens calls for responsible, affordable government.   Consider these staggering statistics:  Since 1993,  a super-marjority vote requirement to approve tax increases has been approved or upheld FIVE TIMES by Washington state voters:

  • 1993 -Initiative 601  passed with 51% yes vote.
  • 1998-Referendum 49, upholding I-601 57% yes.
  • 2007-Initiative 960, passed with 51% yes vote.
  • 2010-Initiative 1053, passed with 64% yes vote.
  • 2012-Initiative 1185, passed with 64% yes vote.

The reason there have had to be so many initiatives and referendums is because Gov. Gregoire and others successfully fought these in court and were able to get them nullified.

Those who oppose the super-majority clause often use the Constitution as a  way to justify their side, all while missing the point.  Perhaps more than any other state, Washington has seen it’s citizens push back against their financially irresponsible government, only to see them try to run roughshod over the citizens and voters.

Governor Jay Inslee issued a statement supporting the Supreme Court ruling, saying:

“I’m heartened that the state Supreme Court acted today to protect our constitution.”

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