Tag Archives: I-960

Washington Budget & Policy Center releases analysis of Initiative 960


An Olympia based think tank focusing on fiscal policy has published a new report confirming our arguments and conclusions about I-960:

A new analysis of Initiative 960 completed by the Budget & Policy Center finds that the initiative will not further widely shared goals of improving government accountability and transparency. Rather, if approved by the voters on the November ballot, I-960 will more likely undermine the ability of the state to formulate and implement rational and thoughtful responses to public priorities and will hinder responsible, efficient, and accountable policymaking.

Acting on widely shared values — for instance, the recent bipartisan decision to invest in early learning — could become significantly more difficult.

The report is available in PDF format.

I-960 lawsuit will continue for now

In the Courts

Our parent organization’s blog reports that Futurewise and SEIU 775 – the plaintiffs in the lawsuit to block Tim Eyman’s initiative from being considered by voters – have filed an emergency motion for accelerated review with the state Supreme Court because the Superior Court refused to actually consider the issues at hand.

That’s good news, but the Court still has to take the case.

MORE (JULY 25th): A number of articles have appeared recently in Washington media outlets conveying the idea that Tim Eyman’s I-960 has overcome all obstacles and is now guaranteed to go before the voters of Washington State. Despite I-960’s passage of a random sample check conducted by the Secretary of State’s office, the initiative is still not cleared for placement on the ballot yet because Futurewise and SEIU 775 have appealed Judge Catherine Shaffer’s decision to allow I-960 to proceed. The lawsuit thus continues while the state Supreme Court decides whether to hear the case.

“If the Supreme Court accepts the case, it is our hope that it will set a precedent that checks abuse of the initiative process and upholds the rule of law,” said NPI Executive Director and Permanent Defense Chair Andrew Villeneuve.

“The initiative process has limitations for good reason. It cannot, for instance, be used to amend the U.S. Constitution. An initiative that attempted to covertly amend the U.S. Constitution would be struck down by the Courts and not allowed to go before voters. Likewise, I-960, which contains language that is in conflict with our state’s Constitution, ought to be nullified.”

I-960 passes random sample check

Ballot Watchdogging

The Secretary of State’s office just put out a release saying that a random sample check has determined that Initiative 960 has sufficient valid signatures to qualify for the November ballot, as expected:

According to elections officials, a check of petition signatures submitted in support of the proposal has shown that the measure meets constitutional requirements for a minimum of 224,880 valid voter signatures. The measure will appear on the November 6th General Election ballot.

Initiative 960 would require two-thirds legislative approval or voter approval for tax increases, legislative approval of fee increases, certain published information on tax-increasing bills, and advisory votes on taxes enacted without voter approval. The official ballot summary on Initiative 960 reads, “This measure would require either a two-thirds vote in each house of the legislature or voter approval for all tax increases. New or increased fees would require prior legislative approval. An advisory vote would be required on any new or increased taxes enacted by the legislature without voter approval. The office of financial management would be required to publish cost information and information regarding legislators’ voting records on bills imposing or increasing taxes or fees.”

Sponsors of Initiative 960 submitted a total of 314,504 petition signatures to the Secretary of State. Election officials conducted a random sample of 9,607 signatures, of which 8,410 were valid signatures – 1,197 were determined invalid. Signatures are invalid if the signer is not a registered voter or if he or she signed more than once.

The petition was checked using the “random sample” process authorized by state law. Under the process, a statistically valid percentage of the signatures are selected at random and checked against voter registration records. A mathematical formula is then applied to the results to obtain a projected rate of invalidation.

Election officials examined 9,607 (a 3 percent sample) on Initiative 960. From that inspection, it was determined that the measure had an invalidation rate of 17.1 percent.

There is a possibility that I-960 will still not go before voters in November, if the state Supreme Court accepts for review the case filed by Futurewise and SEIU 775 and decides for the plaintiffs. But the likelihood is that I-960 will be on the ballot, and we will be doing everything we can to ensure that it fails.

Setback in I-960 lawsuit

Ballot WatchdoggingThreat Analysis

Via our parent organization’s blog, some bad news:

Judge refuses to block I-960 from ballot
Before actually granting the state’s motion, the judge explained the various reasons why she did not want to address the issues raised by the plaintiffs. At one point she even paused and clearly stated, “This is very limited review.”

She did not address the constitutionality of the measure, noting that would, however, be appropriate for post-election review.

And while acknowledging that the scope issue was pertinent to the case, she basically sidestepped it. For example, she refused to look at the supermajority issue on the basis that a similiar requirement was approved years ago as part of Initiative 601 (and is now on the books, although the Legislature has not considered the law to be binding, and no court has considered its validity or constitutionality.)

So we didn’t get the definitive ruling for or against the suit that I thought we would get from the Court. Restraint evidently weighed heavily on Judge Shaffer’s consideration of the plaintiffs’ request.

Futurewise and SEIU 775 could still appeal the decision to the state Supreme Court, which might come out of summer recess to hear two other unrelated cases that also pertain to the 2007 general election this November.

Eyman should think twice before he gloats…this may not be over yet.

Seattle Times editoralizes against I-960 lawsuit


The Seattle Times editorial board published a predictably lame editorial this morning denouncing the lawsuit filed by PD allies Futurewise and SEIU 775 to block Tim Eyman’s Initiative 960 from the ballot. The main gist of the whiny editorial was that the suit, which contends that I-960 is outside the scope of the initiative process, is essentially unfair.

David Goldstein has admirably deconstructed the Times’ editorial, which we’ve all anticipated was coming ever since the lawsuit was filed.

State GOP endorses Eyman’s I-960


Why did they do it? Well, because the Washington State Republican Party loves initiatives that conflict with our state’s Constitution.

Yesterday, at the state committee’s quarterly meeting, the Evergreen State GOP unanimously renewed its firm and unwavering commitment to the right wing agenda.

In other action Saturday, the Republicans voted to endorse Initiative 960, activist Tim Eyman’s latest attempt to rein in taxes.

The initiative, which needs about 225,000 valid signatures by July, would require a two-thirds vote in both houses of the Legislature for tax increases, or simple majority plus voter approval.

The snippet above comes from an Associated Press article about the meeting, held in Yakima (via the Longview Daily News).

The state GOP has an established tradition of endorsing right wing initiatives – and not just those sponsored by Tim Eyman. Those Republicans who wonder why they’re losing need look no further than their party’s endorsement of I-960 yesterday, the latest exhibit in why the GOP won’t be taking over the statehouse anytime soon.

For more information on the harmful consequences of this disaster, visit Reasons to Oppose Initiative 960.

NPI/PD applaud legal challenge to I-960

Statements & Advisories

The Northwest Progressive Institute and Permanent Defense today commended Futurewise and SEIU Local 775 for filing suit to have Tim Eyman’s Initiative 960 blocked from the ballot because it exceeds the scope of the initiative process.

“Initiative 960 is an assault on the very fabric that holds our republic together,” said NPI Executive Director and Permanent Defense Chair Andrew Villeneuve.

“Democracy is all about majority rule with minority rights. Allowing a minority to completely control the budgeting process in our state is a step down the dangerous path to oligarchy.”

“Tim Eyman and his cohorts want to rewrite the rules because the electorate does not agree with their ideas. But our constitution cannot be amended by initiative or referendum. The Supreme Court has established that a measure which purports to amend or circumvent our state’s most sacred document can be challenged prior to an election. We hope the courts will set a precedent that checks abuse of the initiative process and upholds the rule of law.”

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