Washington Supreme Court rejects anti-tax initiative that voters supported | KUOW News and Information

Washington Supreme Court rejects anti-tax initiative that voters supported

May 26, 2016

The latest tax-limiting initiative approved by Washington voters will not go into effect. Thursday, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional. Justices said the measure violated the requirement that initiatives be limited to a single subject.

But a poll shows voters still support the crux of the initiative.

Initiative 1366 would have cut the sales tax by 1 percent this past April, unless lawmakers allowed a public vote on a constitutional amendment requiring a two-thirds majority in the Legislature for tax increases.

The Washington Policy Center, a free-market think tank, anticipated the court's move. In December, the center commissioned a survey from independent pollster Stuart Elway. It asked voters what should happen if the initiative is ruled unconstitutional.

Sixty-five percent said lawmakers should still put a constitutional amendment about taxes on the ballot; 27 percent said to let the Supreme Court ruling stand and take no other action.

Jason Mercier at the Washington Policy Center says the results didn’t surprise him. "They want the people to be the ones to finally end this debate and not have the courts be the last word on it. The voters have passed a super-majority requirement for tax increases at the ballot box six times going back to 1993," Mercier said.

The poll sample was 500 voters, primarily in western Washington.

Initiative promoter Tim Eyman sponsored the initiative. He is backing another tax related initiative this year.

State Senators David Frockt and Reuven Carlyle were plaintiffs in the case against I-1366.