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Laurie Jinkins, other lawmakers sue over I-1053 supermajority

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on July 25, 2011 at 10:51 am with 39 Comments »
July 25, 2011 11:03 am

A dozen state legislators are suing their state, saying Washington voters have passed an unconstitutional measure that keeps them from raising taxes.

The lawsuit is being filed this morning by lawmakers, including Reps. Laurie Jinkins of Tacoma and Jamie Pedersen of Seattle, who laid the groundwork for their challenge to Tim Eyman’s Initiative 1053 during the legislative session.

Here’s some background on the political theater during the session, when the House couldn’t summon the two-thirds supermajority necessary to pass Jinkins’ bill that would have raised taxes on big banks in order to avert class-size increases in elementary grades.

The lawmakers, including Sam Hunt of Olympia and Chris Reykdal of Tumwater, are joined in their suit by the League of Education Voters, the Washington Education Association, former Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Utter and others. The defendant: the state and Gov. Chris Gregoire, who agrees with them that a court should decide the constitutionality of I-1053.

The teachers’ union said in a news release today:

A provision of the statute in question requires a two-thirds vote of both chambers of the Legislature to raise revenue or modify tax preferences. The plaintiffs believe that the state constitution is clear that such measures require only a majority vote of the legislature.  The state’s constitution cannot be amended by statute, regardless of how that statute came into existence.

“The idea of providing a $100 million tax break for huge, out-of-state banks at the same time as we are making deep cuts in our schools just seems ridiculous,” said state Representative Laurie Jinkins, sponsor of SHB 2078. “Even the lobbyists for these banks admitted in a committee hearing that Washington home-buyers were receiving no benefit from this tax break, but the supermajority requirement prevented us from closing the loopholes and redirecting that money to education.”

Eyman contends that the supermajority requirement repeatedly approved by voters is constitutional. The courts have been asked to decide the issue before, including in a lawsuit filed by Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown against Lt. Gov. Brad Owen — but the Supreme Court declined to rule on the substance of the complaint.

i 1053 Complaint

Leave a comment Comments → 39
  1. tree_guy says:

    1,600,000 Washington voters said they wanted this restriction on the authority of elected officials. Apparently a small cadre of utopians have now ridden in on their unicorns to pull a fast one on the voters. We have the names of the legislators who are trying to thwart our will and come election time they’d better be packing their carpetbags.

  2. surveyor1 says:

    Ms. Jinkins will use the fact that she wants the super majority repealed so that she can only impose the tax on “big banks”, thus making the average voter feel good about it. What it is really about is getting it repealed so that the dem’s can go about business as usual and just raise taxes whenever they need some money rather than do the hard work of making necessary cuts in wasteful and unecessary programs to achiev their funding goals.

  3. bruce bessler says:

    Those politicians and others should be tried for treason to go against the voters wishes. Since it was approved by the voters as with other legal measures it is just a way that the socialists are once again telling the voters to go to hell and that we dont know what we want, but that THEY know what is best for us. The time for a Revolution is soon to be, because of this type of attack on the American public and our Constitution.

  4. WhatJustHappened says:

    Are we shocked? Not at all! Jinkins didn’t hide the fact she’s a progressive with a plan – in fact she was very proud of that fact and was voted in anyway! This is the change that Tacoma wanted (apparently) so it’s getting just that!!

    It’s not about Dems or Republicans, folks; progressive’s like Jinkins don’t think the public is smart enough to know what it wants … or what’s good for them. They want the government to have the power to tell/decide/rule you. She’s telling you that what we voted for isn’t what she wants, so it must be unconstitutional.

    Perhaps her getting voted in was unconstitutional. Huhm. Should we sue?

  5. The teachers want more money to work 180 days a year. They’re shacke dthat they dont get a cost of living adjustment and now have to kick in some on their health insurance. Bye Bye unions.

  6. Laurie Jenkins is a prime example of why things are going to get very dark in America as we pass through this phase.

  7. LarryFine says:

    … yet there are still people surprised that democrats go against the will of the people AND are willing to take food from the mouths of hungry children by going forth with this frivolous lawsuit. They should be ashamed…

  8. LarryFine says:

    btw… when the state constitution was inconvenient regarding the tolling of the Narrows Bridge… they changed it. Kooky.

  9. asecptic says:

    wow, the state is in hurting status financially. We can’t fund education per the state constitution and you bozo’s think teachers make money and yet you only think you know what they pay for health care. Have any of you walked into one of their classrooms to volunteer, have you ever been to a school district where most of the grade schools are 50% to 80 % free and reduced lunch . Do you even know the type of teenagers that attend that can’t do the basics because the grade school teachers were afraid if they didn’t peer pass them there would be lawsuits from those parents who will sue for any reason. I doubt it, yes we need taxes and we need them to be fair and impartial just as we need jobs. The unfortunate truth is that most people don’t have an education because they dropped out, didn’t get a GED and really don’t care if they live off of welfare.

  10. gonefishin69690 says:

    Get ready for the big “Government money grab” folks.

  11. ChipperT says:

    There should be no heartburn on either side on this. If the new law is constitutional then it will stand as passed. If not, then the proper judges will decide that and the people who conceived this law (Tim E) will have to work to get the constitution changed. That is as it should be. Until the matter is decided, the law will stand. That is the way our government in this state was created. Incidentally, if you think the constitution should be able to be amended by an initiative of the people, why don’t you get a constitutional amendment done that says just that?

  12. itwasntmethistime says:

    If somewhere between 50% and 66% of legislators thought it was a good idea to raise taxes on banks that means somewhere between 34% and 50% of them though it was a bad idea. In my opinion, any idea that has that strong of a disapproval rate doesn’t have much merit. It’s not good to have 49% of the people royally PO’d. If they can’t get 66% approval for a plan, they need to come up with a better plan.

    Simple majorities are fine for children’s games or for choosing between two specific choices, but nowhere good enough for setting policy that shapes our nation.

  13. Rollo_Tomassi says:

    What nerve they have, insisting that that the state actually follow the constitution! Doesn’t anyone understand that popular opinion should outweigh the rule of law?

    Or should we remember that mob rule is no substitute for republican government and let the courts adjudicate?

  14. itwasntmethistime says:

    asceptic — There would be planty of money for education if we cut off welfare. I say we fund education FIRST, then split up whatever is left over for those who don’t want to work.

  15. Tacoma Joe says:

    The only sane outcome to this lawsuit is for a judge to ball it up into a wad and order Jinkins to stick it straight up her a$$.

  16. Hmm, you keep electing the same Liberals and expect a different result.

    Kinda sounds like the definition of insanity

  17. reformedliberal says:

    Well now, it looks like it’s time for a recall, doesn’t it? How else should we respond when elected officials show open contempt for the voters?

  18. BigSwingingRichard says:

    And to think it was my district that elected Laurie Jinkins as State Rep. Crap!

    Our choice was her or Jake Fey, both liberals who have contempt for the will of the people and who believe the ability to tax the electorate shall never be limited.

    I really wish people would pay more attention to who we are electing. Did any one know we were electing someone who is perfectly willing to ignore the will of the people. Lets not reelect her.

    Unfortunately, for the reading of the above posts, the teachers’ union is clearly behind this lawsuit and Laurie Jinkins is in their pocket. She represents them, not us.

    The next election cannot come soon enough.

  19. BigSwingingRichard says:

    I noticed the TNT failed to mention, Kurt Miller, president of the Tacoma School Board is also listed as a suing party. No surprise there.

    If 100% of the entire state budget was spent on schools they would claim it is not enough.

  20. Are any of you happy with the prosperity these days? No taxes for the people making more than $250,000, two unfunded wars, and those trickle down economics have been working SO WELL this last decade. Now we get the pleasure of watching the peasants turn on each other with the motto “If my life sucks, than everybody else must go down with me!”

  21. Business as usual in Olympia…. Who cares what the people of Washington State thinks if it interfers with their agenda.

    If people want things to change they’re going to have to reevaluate their voting paterns and elect people who will respect the initiative process, or who at the very least will respect “the will and intent.”

    The end of one party rule in Olympia would be a good start

  22. the3rdpigshouse says:

    Convenient how their party affilliation is not in the article – I’m betting they are all socialist democrats and they are out of your money – they want more!!!

  23. the3rdpigshouse says:

    This whole mess is a reflection of an “ignorant electorate”!!!

  24. SensibleTaxesOnly says:

    Should not the results of any measure approved by Washington voters outweigh any existing statute or the state constitution? It would seem to me that the will of the people needs to be the dominant voice of public policy. At a minimum, it should be the obligation that legislators do not set public policy that contradicts the will of our state’s citizens. After all, elected officials serve at the pleasure of their jurisdiction’s voters.

    2/3 supermajority is a reasonable minimum threshold for any proposed policy which will impact the state’s revenue. If the legislature can’t get a 2/3 supermajority vote, then more debate and subsequent proposed policy revisions are needed to create greater buy-in. In other words, if 2/3s of our state’s elected representatives can’t agree, then maybe the legislation isn’t in the best interest of the state.

  25. dbreneman says:

    It’s too bad that the article doesn’t mention the party affiliation of those filing the lawsuit against the people.

    …But I can guess.

  26. Dumb!!!! Jenkins should read this string!

  27. 1st Base says:

    In response to dbreneman above: Yes, every one of those listed as a Washington State Representative, they are democrats.

  28. Poor conservatives! Constitutions can be such difficult things can’t they? Sadly, you don’t get to ignore the parts you don’t agree with and no matter how often he tries, Eyeman can’t amend it with his gimmick of the year initiatives.

  29. I will never understand the logic of a supermajority requirement being perceived as protecting the “will of the people.” That aside, the Constitution is quite clear on what makes a majority in the Legislature. To change it, you need a Constitutional amendment. Therefore, I-1053 is clearly unconstitutional and needs to be challenged.

  30. LarryFine says:

    asecptic says:
    July 25, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    “Have any of you walked into one of their classrooms to volunteer”
    Does the Teacher’s Union allow volunteers?

  31. billyizme says:

    You all should have voted for Ken Nichols.

  32. crusader says:

    Ms. Jinkins would be wise to learn the tenet of Maggie Thatcher……… the problem with socialism is that sooner or later you run out of other people’s money.

  33. I am sorry that Jenkins isn’t my representitive as I would get the chance to help vote her out of office!I can only hope the voters will take note of all those reps that approved of ignoring the peoples wishes and vote accordingly when they come back wanting to be reelected.

  34. I just love listening to rich white people whine.
    Who you should be pissed at is the rep’s-I’ll guess their party affiliation- that voted against the bill allowing a tax on big money banks. You have no venom for those bottom-feeders, but plenty for a person that you don’t even know. My God, one of you even quoted Margaret Thatcher, a disembodied puppet of Ronald RayGUN.
    If you people would quit complaining about paying your fair share to run the State, things would be much easier for everyone.

  35. LarryFine says:

    “No taxes for the people making more than $250,000″ Really ?

    What’s that saying about the fool and his mouth?

  36. LarryFine says:

    “You have no venom for those bottom-feeders, but plenty for a person that you don’t even know”

    Soooo you “know” those “bottom feeders” ?

  37. truthbusterguy says:


    Why didn’t you say these were democrat legislators. Why?????

    Don’t you care that the readers think you are biased and you are losing your credibility reporting political issues. You are costing your editor subscribers.

  38. JustJimToo says:

    Listen closely you stupid MFers. You work for us. We tell you what you can and cannot do. Quit complaining, or just quit. I’m sick and tired of your BS.

  39. Greg Takemoto says:

    Thank you truthbusterguy for making that point. It is interesting to note that the News Tribune failed to mention the party affiliation of the fascists attempting to undermine Government FOR THE PEOPLE BY THE PEOPLE. Let us not forget that these are the very same people who held secret closed door meetings to override voters previous attempts the override the peoples vote.

    Well said JustJimToo These moron fascists believe that they the elite are qualified to RULE the people. They have forgotten their place, that they are our SERVANTS.

    My hope is that people see that their entire argument is fallacious. I-1053 has provisions in place to raise taxes without a super majority. If the tax increases have merit it can be put to a vote by the people and the people can make the increases assuring taxation with representation. As obviously these self serving buffoons have no interest in representing the people or our interests.

    This lawsuit has nothing to do with supporting or not supporting our schools. It has everything to do with undermining GOVERNMENT FOR THE PEOPLE BY THE PEOPLE. Furthering their fascist agenda to rule the people against OUR will

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