June 13th, 2006
Statement on the Initiative 747 ruling by Judge Roberts
Permanent Defense today applauded the decision of King County Superior Court Judge Mary Roberts, who ruled that Tim Eyman’s Initiative 747 was unconstitutional.
“It’s a very simple concept: Washington State laws, including initiatives passed by voters, cannot violate the state Constitution,” said Permanent Defense Chair Andrew Villeneuve. “We agree with the judge and believe her reasoning in this case is sound.”
“What’s more, Initiative 747 has already caused significant damage to communities throughout Washington State,” Villeneuve added. “Police and fire departments, libraries, parks, pools, and other public services have been badly hurt by I-747.”
“Not only are Tim Eyman’s initiatives bad for public services and bad for our communities, but they are poorly written and out of compliance with our state’s constitution.”
According to the Department of Revenue, the loss to the state property tax totals $226,923,000 for the 2005-2007 biennium while losses to local taxing districts total $571,496,000. That’s $571 million dollars – an enormous sum of money. The loss to local governments in 2006 alone is some $285 million dollars (PDF).
Incidentally, there are several conflicts of interest in this court case: Attorney General Rob McKenna, who has (so far) unsuccessfully defended I-747 for the state, was a coauthor of the initiative. The other initiative coauthor is Jim Johnson. Johnson currently sits on the state Supreme Court, which may hear this case on appeal.
Permanent Defense will be calling for Johnson to recuse himself from the case if the state Supreme Court agrees to hear the appeal.