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 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.