Efforts Underway to Block Eyman Blackmail Initiative
A group of Washington state residents are suing to block Tim Eyman’s unconstitutional Initiative 1366 from the November ballot. I-1366 is Eyman’s attempt to undercut democracy and blackmail the people’s representatives into writing his disastrous “supermajority” law into the state constitution. The plaintiffs in the King County lawsuit include an elections official, a county auditor, lawmakers, and advocates for education and social services.
Amending the state constitution cannot be done through the initiative process, yet Eyman’s “2/3-For-Taxes Constitutional Amendment Initiative” seeks to do just that. That makes Eyman’s initiative illegal.
Simply put, Initiative 1366 would make one of two things happen. Either the Legislature would have to undercut democracy by passing a constitutional amendment requiring a two-thirds vote of the Legislature on revenue measures – instead of the simple majority required for almost all other legislative actions today – or the state would lose $1.4 billion a year in tax revenues that support schools, public health services, public safety, and other investments that help build a strong state economy.
Neither move is in the best interest of Washington’s future. A supermajority requirement on revenues would make it nearly impossible to eliminate wasteful corporate tax breaks, raise the resources needed to respond to emergencies, or invest in other building blocks of broad prosperity. The loss of $1.4 billion a year – through an automatic sales tax rate reduction that would be triggered under the initiative if the Legislature didn’t bow to Eyman’s supermajority demand – would severely hamper the state’s ability to meet the school-funding requirements of the McCleary ruling or invest in important building blocks of economic growth.
I-1366 would jeopardize Washington’s future in several ways:
- It would blackmail the people’s representatives into doing what Eyman wants under threat of losing billions of dollars crucial to building a strong economy and prosperous state.
- It would tie the hands of legislators and make it very difficult to respond to crises – like wildfires and floods – as well as to make the investments necessary to create jobs and strengthen our communities.
- It would allow a small handful of politicians to block every attempt at closing wasteful corporate tax breaks or increasing investments in public schools and other vital services that strengthen communities. This law would increase partisan gridlock and impede reasonable compromise.
- It would lock in place wasteful tax breaks, putting our state at risk of making cuts to important investments like financial aid for college students and services for seniors.
- It would make it impossible to create a more equitable tax system where everyone, including the rich, plays by the same rules.
- It would undercut democracy by saying the simple majority now required for most other legislative votes shouldn’t to apply to anything Eyman and his backers don’t want it to apply to.
Represented by the same law firm that successfully overturned Eyman’s previous supermajority initiatives, the plaintiffs in this lawsuit are: King County Elections director Sherril Huff; Thurston County Auditor Mary Hall; State Representative Reuven Carlyle, D-36th Legislative District; State Senator David Frockt, D-46th Legislative District; Eden Mack, mother of public school children; Paul Bell, local college student; Tony Lee, anti-poverty advocate; Gerald Reilly, ElderCare Alliance chair.