May 26th, 2016
This morning, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled unanimously that Tim Eyman’s I-1366 is unconstitutional, affirming King County Superior Court Judge William Downing’s January ruling striking down the initiative as null and void in its entirety. Six justices signed the majority opinion, authored by Chief Justice Barbara Madsen, while the remaining three justices signed a concurring opinion authored by Associate Justice Steven González.
No further appeal is possible, so today’s verdict means that I-1366 is dead.
I-1366, narrowly approved by a fewer than twenty percent of the state’s registered voters last November, attempted to coerce legislators into passing a constitutional amendment to permanently require a two-thirds vote to raise revenue.
In the event lawmakers refused to vote for Eyman’s desired amendment by April 15th, 2016, the sales tax would have been cut by about 15%, depriving Washington’s public services of a whopping $8 billion over six years.
However, I-1366’s sales tax cut was never implemented because the initiative was found to be unconstitutional by Judge Downing. With that decision now affirmed, I-1366 is no longer a threat to Washington’s people or future.
“We are elated by today’s ruling,” said Northwest Progressive Institute founder and Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve, who has been organizing opposition to Tim Eyman initiatives for more than fourteen years.
“This is truly a great moment for our beloved state. Today, one of the most destructive Eyman initiatives of all time has been finally sent to the graveyard of Washington politics by a united Supreme Court. Our popularly-elected Justices stood up for us and upheld our Constitution, safeguarding our tradition of majority rule and putting a stop to Tim Eyman’s outrageous abuse of the initiative power.”
“All of us at NPI extend our deepest thanks to Paul Lawrence and the team at Pacifica Law Group that represented our courageous and dedicated friends Reuven Carlyle, David Frockt, Paul Bell, Eden Mack, Tony Lee, Angela Bartels, Jerry Reilly, and the League of Women Voters of Washington in this important case. They were outstanding, and they brought the best case we believe could possibly have been brought against this awful initiative, all but guaranteeing it would be thrown out.”
“We look forward to celebrating this victory with our tireless supporters, who have kept us going through thick and thin.”
An updated version of Tim Eyman’s Failure Chart, documenting the long list of Eyman initiatives that have either failed to make the ballot, been defeated by voters, or struck down as unconstitutional may be viewed here.