Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

BREAKING: VICTORY! WA Supreme Court declares Eyman's I-747 unconstitutional

In a huge victory for common sense and the rule of law, the Supreme Court has upheld a lower court ruling invalidating Tim Eyman's Initiative 747, which limited local property taxes to draconian limits in 2001. From the court's ruling:
Washington Citizens Action, Welfare Rights Organization Coalition, 1000 Friends of Washington,1 and Whitman County challenge the constitutionality of I-747. Article II, section 37 of the Washington Constitution requires that amendatory laws set forth at full length the law to be amended. I-747's challengers argue that the initiative failed to accurately set forth the law that it sought to amend in violation of article II, section 37 because the text of the initiative claimed to reduce the general property tax levy limit from two percent to one percent, but in reality it reduced the limit from six percent to one percent.

We agree. While the challengers also assert that I-747 violated article II, section 19's subject in title requirement, we need not address that argument in this case.
I just spoke with Knoll Lowney, who successfully argued the case before the Supreme Court, and this is what he told NPI:
"This was another example of Tim Eyman misleading the voters - and this decision is important in providing needed protection for the electorate. And it's appropriate that it comes out now after the [apparent] passage of Initiative 960, which we're confident will suffer the same fate in court [that is, being ruled unconstitutional]."
This is a huge victory and we're very pleased with the outcome.

More as it develops and we read the ruling....

UPDATE: More reaction from the plaintiffs - here's Knoll again:
The Court's decision is a critical victory for voters and those rural taxing districts that were hit especially hard by the measure. The court today confirmed that the Constitution protects voters from being misled. Here, Eyman’s initiative misled voters by understating the impact of I-747 five fold. If the measure had been truthful, it never would have gained majority voter approval.
A much stronger NO campaign back then would have helped too...tremendously. It may not surprise you that some of the key people who ran the unsuccessful NO on I-747 campaign also controlled the NO on I-960 effort as well.

Here's Whitman County Commissioner Greg Partch:
I-747 has had a huge impact on rural counties, towns and taxing districts, and the Supreme Court rightly recognized that the voters were not accurately informed of this impact. We have to reform the property tax system, but it’s a complex process that can't be solved by sound bites. Hopefully the legislature will realize this. The one size fits all approach of I-747 was unfair to the rural areas of the state.
And Nancy Chupp, from the Public Interest Law Group:
This initiative was about deception, as so many of Mr. Eyman’s initiatives are. We're thrilled for our clients and all of Washingtonians that the Supreme Court found this deceptive initiative unconstitutional. The initiative process is a sacred tool for Washingtonians and its integrity must be preserved. Deceptive initiatives must end.
Congratulations to the plaintiffs. What a victory.


Anonymous Gretchen Sand said...

We never needed I-960 or I-747 anyway. Tim Eyman needs to just shut up!!!!!

November 8, 2007 3:29 PM  

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