Supreme Court of WA Overturns Two-Thirds Requirement to Increase Taxes

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In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court of Washington said that only a simple majority can be constitutionally required to pass a law, regardless of repeated voter initiatives signalling a clear majority of voters want a two-thirds requirement to increase taxes.

I find the reasoning specious, as does a third of the Court. Indeed, the Court says something puzzling to defend its claim, that "[Whether to require a supermajority for the passage of tax legislation] is left to the legislative branch of our government. Should the people and the legislature still wish to require a supermajority vote for tax legislation, they must do so through constitutional amendment, not through legislation."

But the people are the legislative branch. It's right there at the top of Article II: "The legislative authority of the state of Washington shall be vested in the legislature, consisting of a senate and house of representatives, which shall be called the legislature of the state of Washington, but the people reserve to themselves the power to propose bills, laws, and to enact or reject the same at the polls, independent of the legislature, and also reserve power, at their own option, to approve or reject at the polls any act, item, section, or part of any bill, act, or law passed by the legislature."

If the legislature can make a rule requiring a two-thirds vote, then so can the people.

Anyway, the main point is the latter part: guess what's coming next? You can bet your bottom tax dollar that we'll have a constitutional amendment on the table soon, to put this thrice-passed initiative into the state constitution.

And thankfully, with Republicans controlling the Senate with a few anti-tax Democrats, we won't see tax increases any time soon, regardless.

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<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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This page contains a single entry by pudge published on February 28, 2013 3:59 PM.

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