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Judge Rules Wash. Supermajority Requirement For Taxes Unconstitutional

Tom Banse


OLYMPIA, Wash. - A King County judge Wednesday ruled that Washington voters cannot impose a two-thirds majority requirement to raise taxes on the state legislature. Superior Court Judge Bruce Heller found voter approved anti-tax Initiative 1053 to be unconstitutional. But the ruling is far from the last word on the matter.

A group of Democratic state lawmakers and their allies sued to overturn the requirement for a two-thirds vote of the legislature to raise taxes. Washingtonians have repeatedly approved that high threshold at the ballot.

But a county judge in Seattle accepted the plaintiffs' argument that the supermajority requirement conflicts with the state constitution. It says a simple majority is all it takes to pass a bill.

Washington's attorney general defended the will of the voters and promises to appeal. Meanwhile, supermajority initiative sponsor Tim Eyman is already circulating another petition for this November.

"I think most people have learned that what happens in Seattle, what happens in King County, is not the final word," he says. "Voters are going to have the final say. I think voters are going to be even more emphatic in their reaffirmation of the initiative because of this."

Eyman has until July 6th to gather the approximately 300,000 voter signatures needed to get on the November statewide ballot.

On the Web:

Memorandum Opinion:

Initiative 1083: