King County judge rules that 2/3rds majority initiative violates simple majority rule in state constitution.
In a ruling this morning that is certain to lead to a Supreme Court review, King County Superior Court Judge Bruce Heller found that tax increases including the closure of loopholes need only a simple majority.
That ruling, the result of a lawsuit brought by Democratic legislators, the League of Education Voters, the Washington Education Associations and others identified as individual taxpayers, finds that the initiative that created the two-thirds majority is unconstitutional.
Heller first decided that the case is properly brought before the court, that the plaintiffs have standing. That itself is significant because previous challenges to the two-thirds majority were found to be premature. Three previous times the top court has been asked to decide whether an initiative can create a two-thirds majority requirement for tax increases. Three times the court has found a way not to rule on whether the state constitution’s requirement for a simple majority trumps any statute or initiative.
Heller then granted summary judgement against Tim Eyman‘s Initiative 1053, agreeing that the constitution’s Art. II, section 22 says that a simple majority is needed to pass. In addition, Heller found unconstitutional the initiative’s requirement that tax increases that don’t attract a supermajority go to voters as a referendum. Read more »