NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate provides the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Thursday, November 5th, 2015

Opposition to Eyman’s I‑1366 rises to over 47% statewide in Thursday’s ballot count

Oppo­si­tion to Tim Eyman’s incred­i­bly destruc­tive Ini­tia­tive 1366 has once again gone up for the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive day as coun­ty elec­tion offi­cials count more bal­lots. Fol­low­ing King Coun­ty Elec­tions’ 6:48:13 PM report, oppo­si­tion to I‑1366 statewide stands at 47.10%, and 59.69% in King County.

On Elec­tion Night, Eyman had 54% of the vote. As of tonight, he’s down to 52.9%.

NO on I‑1366 con­tin­ued to improve ever so slight­ly in two major swing coun­ties today, in addi­tion to jump­ing in King Coun­ty. In Sno­homish, oppo­si­tion rose to 43.62% from 43.44%, and in Pierce, oppo­si­tion rose to 40.90% from 40.80%. Mean­while, there were slight regres­sions in What­com, Spokane, and Clark counties.

We are not see­ing the kind of shift we’d need to see in the late bal­lots for I‑1366 to lose, so our pro­jec­tion is that will pass. How­ev­er, this is not the end.

Tim Eyman may be jubi­lant, but he’s delud­ing him­self if he real­ly thinks I‑1366 will with­stand judi­cial scruti­ny. We are head­ing back to court to con­tin­ue the fight against I‑1366 there, as McClatchy’s Melis­sa San­tos report­ed this evening:

Oppo­nents of Eyman’s ini­tia­tive have vowed to con­tin­ue fight­ing I‑1366 in court.

In August, King Coun­ty Supe­ri­or Court Judge Dean Lum said the ini­tia­tive appears to vio­late the nor­mal process for con­sti­tu­tion­al amend­ments, but he allowed I‑1366 to appear on the Novem­ber bal­lot anyway.

That law­suit is now pend­ing on appeal before the state Supreme Court, and oppo­nents of I‑1366 are hop­ing that the court will rule soon on the initiative’s validity.

“The state just can’t have this uncer­tain­ty hang­ing over us for months and months,” said Andrew Vil­leneuve of the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute. “We need to know whether this ini­tia­tive is uncon­sti­tu­tion­al or beyond the scope (of an initiative).”

We strong­ly believe I‑1366 is both uncon­sti­tu­tion­al and beyond the scope of the ini­tia­tive pow­er. We have a scope chal­lenge already pend­ing on the appeal with the state Supreme Court, as Melis­sa not­ed in her sto­ry. Though the Court did not grant an injunc­tion block­ing I‑1366 from the bal­lot, it did retain the case for a deci­sion on the mer­its. It would not have done so had the case not been prop­er­ly brought.

The Spokesman-Review had a fan­tas­tic edi­to­r­i­al today urg­ing our state Supreme Court to act quick­ly to defend our Con­sti­tu­tion by strik­ing I‑1366 down:

The major­i­ty of Wash­ing­ton vot­ers who both­ered to vote shrugged off the mighty strug­gle to finance basic edu­ca­tion – and bal­ance the bud­get in gen­er­al – and passed Ini­tia­tive 1366.

Now, if the Leg­is­la­ture doesn’t adopt a con­sti­tu­tion­al amend­ment that requires super­ma­jori­ties to pass tax increas­es – a long shot – it must slash the state sales tax by a pen­ny on the dol­lar. That means the state would col­lect $8 bil­lion less over the next six years, at a time when it needs an esti­mat­ed $3.8 bil­lion to ful­fill the Supreme Court’s McCleary man­date to finance basic education.

How would this $11.8 bil­lion gap be closed? Bud­get cuts. Every­thing from men­tal health ser­vices, to wild­fire abate­ment, to high­er edu­ca­tion would be on the table. Any edu­ca­tion spend­ing not deemed “basic” would be in jeop­ardy. Social ser­vices could be severe­ly curtailed.

The last time this hap­pened, col­lege costs soared, the men­tal­ly ill were ware­housed in vio­la­tion of their legal rights and wild­land fire­fight­ers were over­whelmed. We sud­den­ly had to pay to access state parks.

There would be no mon­ey for small­er class sizes, which vot­ers have approved – twice. Nor would cuts allow for the annu­al cost-of-liv­ing adjust­ments vot­ers have said they want for teachers.

The tax reform need­ed to end the reliance on local levies to fund basic edu­ca­tion could be impos­si­ble to achieve. Any reform – and Washington’s tax sys­tem needs reform – could be frus­trat­ed by just 17 votes in the 49-per­son Senate.

Why would 147 leg­is­la­tors hand such pow­er to a small frac­tion of their number?

So, what’s next? The best out­come is a Supreme Court rul­ing that I‑1366 is unconstitutional.

Empha­sis is mine. We agree with the Spokesman-Review’s edi­to­r­i­al board. The best out­come for our state is a Supreme Court rul­ing that I‑1366 is uncon­sti­tu­tion­al (or beyond the scope of the ini­tia­tive pow­er, or both).

The Court can and must put a stop to this black­mail, and let every polit­i­cal play­er in Wash­ing­ton State know that fur­ther such attacks against our plan of gov­ern­ment will not stand. Tim Eyman’s out­ra­geous attempt to coerce law­mak­ers into doing his bid­ding (and that of his wealthy bene­fac­tors) must be struck down.

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  1. I think that the law­mak­ers in Wash­ing­ton state do think that they can just green light any and all projects and pay for them by rais­ing our tax­es. I find it inter­est­ing that every sin­gle time we vote that are mea­sures that are list­ed as passed with­out a vote of the peo­ple. I did not vote to elect peo­ple to raise my tax­es for their pet projects, but rather decide and pri­or­i­tize projects for what mon­ey the state does take in. It’s also inter­est­ing that the mea­sures that are vot­ed on as a mea­sure that was passed with­out a vote of the peo­ple are nor­mal­ly all reject­ed but nev­er act­ed on. What does it say when we the peo­ple vote to repeal some­thing but the law­mak­ers sim­ply reject our voice or cry that it’s not legal, which sim­ply just allows these peo­ple to push their agen­da not that of the peo­ple who elect­ed them. Some­thing is seri­ous­ly wrong with our lawmakers.

    # by James Raymond :: November 6th, 2015 at 10:40 AM
    • Wash­ing­ton is a rep­re­sen­ta­tive democ­ra­cy, James. We elect rep­re­sen­ta­tives to make laws, includ­ing bud­gets, in accor­dance with the plan of gov­ern­ment our founders gave us. 

      The Leg­is­la­ture rarely takes a vote to raise or even recov­er rev­enue for the state. Due to the way our gov­ern­ment is designed it is already dif­fi­cult to raise tax­es because the House, Sen­ate, and gov­er­nor must be in agree­ment. We lag behind oth­er states in terms of how much we’re invest­ing in our pub­lic ser­vices. In fact, com­par­a­tive­ly speak­ing, we rank thir­ty-fifth in the nation with respect to state and local tax­es per $1,000 of per­son­al income. 

      None of us use all the pub­lic ser­vices that our gov­ern­ment pro­vides, but all of us use some of them. What you con­sid­er to be some­body’s “pet project” could be a vital pub­lic ser­vice that oth­er Wash­ing­to­ni­ans rely on.

      # by Andrew :: November 6th, 2015 at 10:46 AM
  2. Go right ahead!

    # by Gretchen Sand :: November 6th, 2015 at 2:32 PM
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