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Chief political reporter David Postman explores state, regional and national politics.

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November 8, 2007 8:28 AM

Supreme Court throws out Eyman property tax limit

Posted by David Postman

The state Supreme Court this morning ruled that the voter-approved property tax limit in Initiative 747 is unconstitutional. The court ruled 5-4 to throw out the Tim Eyman-sponsored state and local property tax limit. The majority said:

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.

The initiative was passed overwhelmingly in 2001. It limited increases state and local property tax collections to 1 percent a year, unless voters approved a higher increase.

King County Superior Court Judge Mary Roberts ruled it unconstitutional in 2006, saying voters were deceived, or at least confused. In 2000, voters approved another Eyman initiative, I-722, which capped increases at 2 percent. Roberts said that voters believed they were changing the limit only from 2 percent increases a year to 1 percent.

But by the time I-747 was on the ballot, the Supreme Court had thrown out I-722 as unconstitutional. As Ralph Thomas wrote in May when the Supreme Court heard arguments on the I-747 case:

Roberts said voters were not aware that they were actually considering a much more dramatic limit.

The coalition that sued to overturn I-747, including Whitman County and groups that advocate for the poor, argued in a brief to the Supreme Court that voters had been "hoodwinked into passing I-747."

"Every citizen has the right to accurate information on the day they vote," attorney Knoll Lowney told the court Tuesday. "Voters are not second-class lawmakers."

The state constitution requires that initiatives which amend existing laws include the full text of what's being amended. Because I-747 was drafted while I-722 was still in effect, it included the language of the 2 percent limit. But by election day 2001, I-722 had been tossed out by the court and that law had reverted to the pre-2000 version.

The majority opinion, written by Justice Bobbe Bridge, says

Here, at the time of the popular vote, the text of I-747 did not accurately set forth the law that the initiative sought to amend. Voters' Pamphlet at 15. The text of I-747 led voters to believe that I-747 would generally reduce the property tax increase limit from two percent to one percent. Id. In fact, the initiative generally reduced the property tax increase limit from six percent to one percent.

Bridge said that's true even though voters could have gotten the full story from reading the voter's pamphlet.

While complete review of the attorney general's explanatory statement in the Voters' Pamphlet might have explained the relationship between pre-I-722 law and the changes proposed by I-747, article II, section 37 does not simply require that notice of an amendatory initiative's impact on existing law be somehow available to voters. "[T]he act revised or the section amended" must be "set forth at full length." Wash. Const. art. II, ยง 37. Nothing in the plain language of article II, section 37 or in our case law interpreting it suggests that information in the Voters' Pamphlet can cure the type of textual violation of article II, section 37 that occurred here, where the initiative's inaccuracy strikes at the substance of the amendment's impact. ...


At best, review of the entire Voters' Pamphlet reveals ambiguity as to the effect that I-747 would have on existing law. ... We, therefore, conclude that the Voters' Pamphlet does not cure the defect in the text of I-747.

The ruling came in a 5-4 decision. The majority was signed by Barbara Madsen, Susan Owens, and two pro-tem judges, Stephen Brown and Teresa Kulik. Justices Jim Johnson and Mary Fairhurst did not participate.

The dissent was written by Justice Charles Johnson and signed by Chief Justice Gerry Alexander and justices Richard Sanders and Tom Chambers. Johnson says the majority doesn't give voters enough credit.

No reasonable argument can be sustained that voters were in any way misled or confused by the effect of I-747, which expressly and was specifically aimed at lowering the tax growth to one percent. The majority seems to suggest that the voters are unable to think or read for themselves, when in fact our democratic process is based on the assumption that voters do in fact read and understand the impact of their votes.

Johnson wrote that there are cases where the constitutional provisions have not been met because a law was "confusing, vague, or not contained in the initiative itself." But he says that wasn't the case with I-747.

The title of I-747 is crystal clear, and the body specifies what laws are being amended and the effect of the amendment. If a voter were to simply read the text of the initiative, the voter would have understood that I-747 reduced the property tax levy limit to one percent.

This is not misleading.

Eyman, who had a victory at the polls Tuesday with a measure designed to limit state tax increases, had predicted this morning that the court would rule in his favor. But, he said in an e-mail statment, if he was wrong and I-747 was tossed out

then local governments will go on a reckless rampage and radically jack up property taxes. It'll be like pigs at the trough.

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Posted by Wayne

9:18 AM, Nov 08, 2007

Ironic that the state supreme court throws out another Eyman initiative only two days after I-960 passes. Of course, Tim is certain that I-960 is constitutional! It seems to me that most of the initatives he has passed have eventually been thrown out by the court.

Posted by Chris

9:30 AM, Nov 08, 2007

Our legislators should pass a similar law that is constitutional then, because the voters clearly approve of the law that was meant to be put in place. I don't think voters were confused, the message is pretty clear.

Posted by Al from Anacortes

9:31 AM, Nov 08, 2007

The response from our court RIGHT after the election means WE were "hood winked" by our elected/appointed officals. Their thoughts would be that WE, the voters, have a short memory.

I won't forget! Will you?

Posted by Manthony

9:31 AM, Nov 08, 2007

This is a good glimpse of how Democrats hold onto power. Basically, the voters have multiple times voted for a limit on taxes. The judicial system, however, has overturned the voters will again and again on this issue. As you can read, the judges state that basically the voters really didn't understand what was at stake but we know what is best. Have you ever met a democrat that didin't think this? By having activist Democratic judges in place, they can overturn the will of the people, and in effect, be a ruling elite.

Posted by Al from Anacortes

9:37 AM, Nov 08, 2007

To the previous statement: Democrats are no worst OR better than Republicans, this is about voters vs elected/appointed officals. Both parties are equally deceptive!

Posted by Larry

9:40 AM, Nov 08, 2007

Manthony is exactly right-this is an outrageous thwarting of the will of the people. What's the procedure for recalling judges??

Posted by Elliott

9:43 AM, Nov 08, 2007

Tim Eyman is a PROFESSIONAL POLITICIAL. He gets his money by skimming donations to his initiatives. So it's in his best financial interest to keep on introducing initiatives that are poorly-written and get thrown out by the courts, because that just leads to MORE poorly-written initiatives and more money for Eyman. Talk about pigs in toughs.
I think EVERY initiative should be required to be reviewed by the courts BEFORE it can be voted on. If it passes the review, the state eats the court review costs and it goes on the ballot. But if it fails the review, it gets stricken from the ballot and the sponsor has to pay the court costs. Given Tim Eyman's abysmal record, he'd go broke in about six months.

Posted by Jay

9:45 AM, Nov 08, 2007

The timing here is sooo interesting. We should be asking serious questions about why this was timed for decision and release just after the election.

Eyman was wiser than usual this time to keep his head lower during the 960 campaign. I wonder how many folks really read 960, and how many more would have read it more carefully if they knew Eyman was behind it.

The Pied Piper of Mukilteo has fooled us enough times with his self-serving, anti-government rants, hasn't he? He needs to spend some time in the state offices I visit regularly. Initiatives obviously aren't the only challenge to the state budget but they have indeed had an enormous, negative impact.

Posted by sasha

9:49 AM, Nov 08, 2007

I wish they'd figure this out before we the taxpayers have to pay to vote on these initiatives... I would be interested to know how much it costs the state government to get an initiative on the ballot.

Posted by Chuck

9:53 AM, Nov 08, 2007

What is funny is that someone, a state or local offical had to challenge this law. That means our elected reps sued us and used our tax money to do it.

Posted by Michael

9:59 AM, Nov 08, 2007

Our elected officials and the courts are now in cahoots to really hood-wink the voters. Whatever Mr. Eyman's personality may be, voters clearly repeatedly passed the property tax limits. Elected officials sue us using our own money to tax us more when we passed an initiative for not paying taxes! All the judges who voted in favor should be recalled!

Posted by Trev

10:00 AM, Nov 08, 2007

I agree whole-heartedly with Elliott. The principle of governing-by-initiative sounds attractive on paper -- who wouldn't want the people to rule?

But our system is a republic -- we elect officials to make tactical decisions on our behalf -- and our opportunity to hold them accountable comes during election years. We should flock to the voting booths because we are electing PEOPLE, not because we want to make the laws ourselves. Low voter turn-out, or arguably the lack of qualified candidates in some races is the true problem.

Does anyone believe the fractured frontier mentality among Washington voters would allow us to form enough of a consensus to rule without lawmakers' help in finding compromise? The initiative process should be used for emergent issues or recalls, not for suggesting knee-jerk attempts to change the law. It just wastes everyone's time.

Posted by phil gregory

10:01 AM, Nov 08, 2007

Then we (the people) need to THROW OUT THE HIGH COURT!@!@@!#!@#

Posted by phil greogry

10:02 AM, Nov 08, 2007

Then we (the People) need to THROW OUT THE HIGH COURT!!@#!@#!@#!@

Posted by Chuck

10:14 AM, Nov 08, 2007

I agree - we elect officials to make tactical decisions on our behalf - but when those officials refuse to listen to the will of the people we have no choice but to govern by initiative. Nothing gets elected officials in this state more worked up than someone trying to take tax money away.

Posted by dave brazier

10:17 AM, Nov 08, 2007

This is rediculous, throw them out so you do not have to do your job...yep, throw out the court....this is crap.....figure this stuff out before we vote on them and they pass...

Posted by Particle Man

10:39 AM, Nov 08, 2007

I agree with Elliott and others who have said folks should focus on who they elect and be slow to sign their names to Tim's flavor of the season.
The legislative process works well at vetting wording, identifying the true capital cost and bringing unintended consequences into focus prior to when any bill comes up for a final vote.

Now, if folks don't like the laws and budgets passed then they should remember that the entire house and half of the senate are up for reelection every other year. Timmy is in this for the money he clearly knows no bounds when it comes to what his campaigns will say about the measures he is pushing every time we have an election and clearly does not give a stitch about constitutionality or the true effects of what he tricks people into voting for.
People need to wise up. Seriously.

Posted by Chuck

10:57 AM, Nov 08, 2007

The problem with "throwing the bums out" is that people think their elected rep is great. It is everybody elses rep that is the problem. How else do you explain 95% re-election rates?

And the "tricks" Tim Eynman supposedly uses to get people to vote for initiatives he pushes are the same tricks our reps use everytime they are up for re-election.

Can't say one is ok and the other isn't.

We were told the gas tax of a few years ago would pay for ALL road projects for the next 10 years?? The day AFTER the vote we were told taxes would have to increase to make up for the shortfall the gas tax didn't cover. Bottom line - we were lied to by our reps.

Posted by Will in Seattle

11:13 AM, Nov 08, 2007

We need a three strikes and you're out law for People Who File Unconstitutional Initiatives.

Eyman more than qualifies - then he won't be able to file more unconstitutional initiatives and will have to run for office himself. Or get another job.

Posted by Husky19

11:17 AM, Nov 08, 2007

Not sure I understand this but did the court throw out a inititative to put a cap on the already high property taxes? And the reason was because the people were deceived. They were told that it was being reduced from 2% to 1% but really it was being reduced from 6% to 1% because another initiative that superceded this one was thrown out? So the effect was the cap staying at 6%?

Not sure I follow up either way wasn't the public voting to reduce the property tax cap to 1% regardless of the amount it was reduced? can someone clarify this and tell me how this makes sense.

I was a WA resident for 9 years but have since moved.

Posted by Suz

12:00 PM, Nov 08, 2007

Why is Eyman still allowed out in public? (where's my wallet?)My rule of thumb on his inititives & proposals; If it sound too good to be true, it won't happen.Fool me once, shame on me fool me twice, well I think he's well qualified for the three strike idea Will had.

Posted by Publicbulldog

12:08 PM, Nov 08, 2007

Whats Next The Democrats setting up kiosk's at the end of our streets and force us to pay to get out.
Wake up people.
The 10 dollar cornish game hen is near.
Soylant green is not far behind.
The D's suck.....

Posted by Particle Man

12:11 PM, Nov 08, 2007

Will, I like your idea. Only change is that after three strikes the state sends you the bill for all of the taxpayer money you have consumed. The strikes could be applied to all past and future measures from any person or organization.

Timmy has cost the tax payers more than he has ever saved them. Hell, he has paid himself more than he has ever saved the tax payers.

Posted by Publicbulldog

12:12 PM, Nov 08, 2007

Funny how the smoking initiative,and the school initiatives don't get challenged in court..
Those are the good initiatives from the east.
Those initiatives are special.

Posted by molly

12:23 PM, Nov 08, 2007

The will of the people is loud and clear - NO MORE TAXES! They voted down transportation , getting rid of the super majority for school issues, why is this Tim Eymans fault? He wouldn't be so popular if the people weren't disatisfied. These things should be tested in court BEFORE they get on the ballot.

Posted by Perfect Voter

12:26 PM, Nov 08, 2007

Smoking initiatives and school initiatives don't get tossed out by the Supreme Court because they are competently written by good lawyers who know what they're doing. Mr. Eyman wins no matter what the court does, so he doesn't really care whether his initiatives are well crafted or not -- either way, his patrons keep feeding him dollars so he can make his living doing more initiatives. What a racket. I guess it beats having a real job.

Posted by Bothsides

12:38 PM, Nov 08, 2007

No, those don't get challenged because they are well accepted by the left. All the negative Eyman posts are the typical leftist attitude, which is "it's what I WANT that matters, never mind what the majority wants or says with their vote TIME & TIME AGAIN"

Posted by Michael Foote

1:00 PM, Nov 08, 2007

The fact is that government is the "Big Brother" we have all feared since reading 1984. I grew up in Yakima, and like many stadium projects the have been defeated here, the Sundome in Yakima was defeated by voters. The built it anyway. Alex Deccio, the State rep who managed to get it funded by the voters and built told me the reason he supported it was, "the voters don't know whats good for them". I am sorry, but what is best for me is having enough of my paycheck to pay my bills, not worrying if I can make ends meet because taxes are going up faster than my income.

Posted by Pyle

1:02 PM, Nov 08, 2007

You saying the Right is too stupid to challenge an initiative? Given your post, I'd agree.

Posted by Chuck

1:05 PM, Nov 08, 2007

Give me a break. Only the initiatives you support are put together by good lawyers? You really think Eyman slaps together a few sentences and doesn't bother to run it by 10 different lawyers? Only initiatives that deal with taking money away from the money hogs in Olympia are challenged. We give one of the worlds richest men a football stadium and nobody challenges that. We make internet poker a FELONY and nobody challenges that.

Posted by John williams

1:10 PM, Nov 08, 2007

The Supreme court again overturns the will of the people should be the headlines.Prop 1 just failed. It seems the Politicians are out of step with the will of the voters. This includes the Legislative branch of government.The politicians wont fight for the changes that the will of the people have voted for , by changing the Legislature. The politicians of our state will now find ways to force the people to bend to thier wills. Thus creating a hidden dictatorship.The politicians are pandering to special interests and not the will of the people.

The newspaper err's in being an advertising agency for the politicians and the special interest groups. The newspaper didnt make it news that people dont want high taxes nor did they find the will of the people in overturning prop 1. They only print what the politicians are doing as if its news. Now we find out they were making news out of the error of the politicians of this state.

It all boils down to Voters voting along party lines, blindly! If the politicians are able to act the way they do, its because the people have no power to change them. This is not democracy!

Posted by Hinton

1:25 PM, Nov 08, 2007

So, help me out with this.
This SAME state Supreme Court just got done telling us that it's perfectly OK to lie in a political campaign. This SAME state supreme court told us that it was swell for Sound Transit to lie about how much for how long.
Did I miss the part where they excluded initiatives from that process?
Here we have a situation where the "lie," in this case, the inaccuracy concerning I-747, was the basis for these clowns throwing this decision out; while other campaigns with other lies will NOT be thrown out?
Utter, political, dishonesty. If the description of what I-747 would do was "inaccurate" and serves as a basis to throw it out, then such a standard MUST apply to ALL campaigns.
I am heartily sick of leftists telling us we're too stupid to understand what we're voting for.
Hopefully, they'll revert to form and jack our taxers up to the max. Then we'll do a 94 and toss the fricking lot of them.

Posted by stilwell

1:30 PM, Nov 08, 2007

You're all missing out on the fact that I, personally, am the will of the people, and that my personal will supersedes all constitutions, laws, philosophies, precedents, procedures and logic.

So let it be written, so let it be done. All hail Pharaoh Initiative!

Posted by Pale Rider

2:04 PM, Nov 08, 2007

All you right-wingers are managing to ignore some important points.

First, a couple of the Justices who dissented were the very ones you tried to replace in the 2006 election (Tom Chambers and Gerry Alexander). I guess maybe they aren't quite as hard-core-leftist as you claimed?

While their point about the obviousness of the initiative is well-taken, the same could be said for the situation that happened with the estate tax a few years ago. The State-level tax was based on the Federal law, which was repealed. That made the State law invalid.

But it was just as obvious that the intent was that the State still have an Estate tax. I don't recall any of you arguing that the State law should be kept because "the intent was obvious." You can't have it both ways without being hypocrites.

Second, I assume you all want to throw out the Constitution and just have mob rule. The Constitution is there to provide some degree of justice and consistency in what the people can do. If the Legislature passes a law that violates the Constitution, it can be struck down. Same for Initiatives. Don't like it? Work to amend the Constitution.

I-960 (which will probably also be struck down as unconstitutional) requires that any tax increase provide a complete accounting of the impact of the tax. Okay, how about making the same thing apply to initiatives that mandate tax cuts? They should have to provide a 10-year projection of exactly which State services will be cut by the initiative.

You want to micromanage the operation of the State but you don't want to accept the consequences of your ill-considered actions. Do you want to really manage it? Run for office!

Posted by Johnny

3:29 PM, Nov 08, 2007

Some of you really need to read the constitution. It is there for a purpose. To protect YOU from people duping YOU. Because Tim Eyman refuses to comply with constitutional provisions his initiatives get thrown out, then he get more idiots to jump on his bandwagon.

It was Whitman County and several citizen groups who challenged this initiative and it was the STATE that defended it.

Lastly, I'm sure you anti-government, anti-democrat folks remember that when the courts threw out I-695 because it was unconstitutional it was the Democrat House, Senate, and Governor that made it law.

Posted by Paul

3:47 PM, Nov 08, 2007

"You want to micromanage the operation of the State but you don't want to accept the consequences of your ill-considered actions."

From your lefty point of view, would the "ill-considered action" perhaps be the actual will of the people? Have any of you noticed that every time an initiative like this comes up, the people vote for it? Shortly there after, someone on the left files a lawsuit against it, followed by the court ruling it unconstitutional.

I don't think this is micromanagement, this is a simple call for relief. The state still gets an increasing budget, it just has to increase more slowly. What "consequences" might we suffer if the state were forced to live within their budget?

To argue that the people were confused on what their vote would result in is intellectually dishonesty at its worst. The final result, no matter what, was a 1% cap on growth.

But hey, what do I know. I'm just a simple property owner.

Posted by Publicbulldog

4:38 PM, Nov 08, 2007

If I had the money I could challenge the smoking initiative by holding it to the same standard as the medical marijuana initiative which was able to be interpreted individually by the counties,which breaks all of the case law regarding County laws being subordinate to state general laws.
The Point is you can challange these initiatives all day long,But you need to honor the will of the people.
The argument could also be made against the smoking initiative that the people did not understand how much financial hardship would come to some of the businesses effected by a smoking ban.
There were no financial break downs in the initiative.
The people would not know the financial consequences.
But nobody challenged it.
The people honored the election,and took the loss like adults.
Challenging initiatives makes the challanger look like some poor sport that can't take a fair and square outcome so they weenie whine to the Judges that are paid for by special interest to give them special rulings to avoid having to swallow the bitter pill of losing an election.
Washington State sucks.
D's look in the mirror.
Voters vote the lame a$$ D's out.
We are on the edge of lawlessness.

Posted by Peter F.

4:38 PM, Nov 08, 2007

It's at best disingenuous to argue that the people who voted for I-747 were deceived into thinking property taxes were being lowered fro 2 to 1 percent, as opposed to what i-747 was doing--lowering them from 6 to 1 percent. So we were deceived into a better deal. Oh the horror! The injustice of it all! Yes, this certainly rights the ship now doesn't it?

Aren't we all for affordable housing? I would think so. Thanks to overturning I-747, the Supreme Court and the American jackals (aka: lawyers) just made that a little harder for people to do here in Washington.

I really hope Gov. Geoergie is right, and that taxes won't go up drastically, but knowing how the legislators in this state behave that dog don't hunt.

Posted by Publicbulldog

4:40 PM, Nov 08, 2007

Washington State is a corrupt union grabbass state....

Posted by Bothsides

4:52 PM, Nov 08, 2007


The last thing I'm saying is "the Right is too stupid to challenge an initiative", to the contrary, the right is respectful of the will of the people when they vote for, and pass an initiative. It's your leftist brain that can't comprehend a different viewpoint, even when the votes are in favor of it.

Noble has already said county taxing authorities are lining up to get "the max" increase, as much as twenty percent. Got to love that Liberal court, can't imagine how they got the one decision right for those KVI guys!

Posted by Jim Guthrie

5:35 PM, Nov 08, 2007

it was the Democrat House, Senate, and Governor that made it law.
- Johnny

Not quite. The House was split 49-49 and prior to the election Gov. Locke called a news conference and begged the citizens not to pass 695 because he would fix the problem without such 'draconian measures' like 695. When pressed by certain members (cough, cough) of the Capital Press Corp as to what his solution was, Locke had no answer.

Yes. The Legislature and Governor passed the language behind 695, but it wasn't because they had some noble goal of following the will of the people; it was because they were scared to death if they didn't.

Posted by Hinton

5:41 PM, Nov 08, 2007

"Lastly, I'm sure you anti-government, anti-democrat folks remember that when the courts threw out I-695 because it was unconstitutional it was the Democrat House, Senate, and Governor that made it law."
This statement is a huge indication of the self-delusion of the left. Don't like the facts? Just twist them to meet your needs.

The House was split when 695 (actually, SB 6865) was passed; a divided (49-49) House voted 695 (or what was left of it) out 84-14 (14 democrats voted no, stunningly enough) and out of the Senate 39 to 9, with all 9 no votes provided by democrats, including the current majority leader.
Further, as you should know, neither the House nor the Senate accepted amendments to include ALL of I695 into the law, excluding the most important portion, which would have been the right to vote on tax and fee increases.
So, try to avoid breaking your arm patting yourself on the back. Legislative shell games do not implementation of the will of the people make.

Posted by Letsbe Fare

6:26 PM, Nov 08, 2007

It is true that many of Eyman's initiatives have been poorly drafted, and poorly thought out. It is also true that the tight 1% limit in I-747 was probably ill conceived and counterproductive because a tight limit on property taxes does little good if the revenue can be replaced with other taxes and fees. Even Tim seems to have realized this, since his current initiative attempts to extend to all taxes and fees. But it is a pretty safe bet that I-960 will be struck down as well, regardless of how well it is drafted.

It is interesting to note that this case would likely would have come out the other way if 2 members of the court, Jim Johnson and Mary Fairhurst had not recused themselves and been replaced by one time substitute judges. Both of the substitutes voted to strike down I-747. Jim Johnson surely would have voted to uphold the measure and Mary Fairhurst would have voted against it. That would have resulted in a 5-4 split going the other way!

While Eyman is hardly a saint, it is hard to justify the result in this case based on the language of the initiative or the language of the constitution.

Posted by Publicbulldog

6:34 PM, Nov 08, 2007

If they were poorly drafted then they would not have won a majority you leftdingbat.

Posted by Vlastimil

6:48 PM, Nov 08, 2007

Isn't this the same court that not too long ago ruled that it is legal to lie in a political campaign? Will this court please make up it's mind already! If this isn't absolute proof of judicial activism than I don't know what is.

Posted by evergreen_representative

6:55 PM, Nov 08, 2007

I can't believe that people outside the establishment actually do not like the initiative process, at least in theory, and want to do away with it, because initiatives are pure democracy and a way for anybody to bring their idea to the court of democracy without the approval of corporate-dominated public officials. Although, it is not easy to get an initiative on the ballot without a lot of money, one with broad-based appeal could make it on with old-fashioned volunteerism. As for the three strikes idea for "unconstitutional" amendments, mentioned in earlier comments, that would be a violation of the First Amendment. Let's keep our initiative system, the people's legislature!

Posted by John williams

6:57 PM, Nov 08, 2007

Boeing cited transportation issues as one of its issues in decreasing its presence in the Puget sound. That was long ago. Still today politicians cant agree because they are pandering to special interests. So they wash thier hands of the whole deal, lump all thier disagreements and special interests together and call it Prop 1. Again the people sniff the lazy self serving ideas out and voted, hell no.

Now the Democratic governing body of washington state will use it against them, and say you voted it down! When in fact they havent done thier jobs and washed thier hands of it.

Posted by OH Fisher

7:38 PM, Nov 08, 2007

This is a no-brainer for the legislature whether Democrat or Republican. I-747 has virtually no impact on the state budget. Thus, legislators can vote to enact similar legislation with little impact on their ability to satisfy their own constituents unlimited demands for more state spending. Local governments continue to be limited, but state government is largely unaffected. Legislators who vote for I-747 replacement bills can proudly point to their support of "the will of the people".

Posted by Pale Rider

8:05 PM, Nov 08, 2007

Letsbe Fare, I hope you saw David's other blog entry about James Johnson having to recuse himself from this case because he had helped write the initiative. That would explain why he couldn't rule on it.

Posted by Bax

8:44 PM, Nov 08, 2007

This is the 4th Eyman initiative that's been found to be unconstitutional. Why are those of you that are supposedly in favor of personal responsibility blaming the legal system for Eyman's failures? Instead, shouldn't you blame Eyman? It's not the court's fault that he can't write legislation that's constitutionally valid, it's Eyman's. Place the fault where it lies.

Posted by Loretta

10:00 AM, Nov 09, 2007

Regardless of the government's scapegoat Tim Eyeman, WE THE PEOPLE voted for it! I don't care about all of you who would somehow reason that what the court did is right in ANY way. You obviously have lost touch with any concept of "freedom". Ever heard the old cold war adage, "The only difference between the Russians (communist at the time lest you all forget history) and the Americans is that the Russians know they're not free." The politicians have made us their ATM's. In times past this was known as slavery. When we do not have a say and the politicians that we have elected as our representatives no longer follow the will of the people then Liberty is lost. What's worse is now they use our money to fight what we voted for.
For those of you who do understand this, the question is WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT IT????!!!! Let's quit talking and take action that gets thier attention. Passive resistance, marching in the streets, Boston Tea Parties have worked in the past. Great Patriots of the past have now passed the baton us. Lets take it and run the politicians back to their castles where they belong!

Posted by Publicbulldog

10:05 AM, Nov 09, 2007

1000 FRIENDS of the democrats has become another PAC for the D's.
1000 poor sports of Washington are going to challenge every initiative there is.
Let me guess ,we cant save a whale unless we tax home owners to death.
Then the legislature does what the people want anyway.
This is an attack on the initiative process not Eyman.
It is an attack on the citizens of Washington State,by a Democrats political action Committee, posing as an environmental group..
The citizens need to make em pay.

Posted by Tim Eyman, I-960 co-sponsor

1:27 PM, Nov 09, 2007

November 9, 2007

To: House & Senate elected officials & Governor Gregoire (cc'd to our thousands of supporters throughout the state & all media outlets (reporters, columnists, editorial writers, and others in newspapers, radio, and TV)
From: Tim Eyman, Jack Fagan, Mike Fagan, & Mike Dunmire

RE: Message to Governor & Legislature: here's the minimum

The liberal justices on the state supreme court did you no favors yesterday. This is a powder keg that will explode if you ignore the voters clear no-new-taxes message on Tuesday (passage of I-960 and rejections of Prop 1, 4204, and numerous other local tax measures). Even with the people's 1% limit, Washington state's property tax burden is still crushing everyone. All of you know this because nearly 50 bills were introduced in the last legislative session TO LIMIT PROPERTY TAXES EVEN MORE THAN REQUIRED UNDER I-747. In other words, even with the people's 1% levy limit in effect, you were discussing going further and reducing property taxes.

Here's why the people's 1% levy limit is a given:

In 1999, we sponsored I-695 which required voter approval for every tax and fee increase by state and local governments and $30 tabs. After the court rejected I-695, you adopted $30 tabs but you ignored the voters demand for I-695's voter-approval-for-tax-and-fee-increases provision. Pollster Stuart Elway has consistently said his polling showed I-695's voter approval provision had EVEN HIGHER support than $30 tabs.

Voters demanded it but didn't get it.

Prior to I-695 taking effect, local governments went on a tax and fee hike rampage, jacking up everything in sight from November through December 31, 1999. So in 2000, we sponsored I-722 and it:

* Nullified all those last minute tax and fee increases
* Imposed a 2% government levy limit and a 2% individual property tax
* Repealed banking authority (RCW 84.55.092) which allows governments to
unilaterally impose levy increases above 2% without a vote of the people

Voters overwhelmingly approved it with 55% support but once again, the courts said no, so voters didn't get any of these protections.

So, at this point, the voters demanded voter approval for tax and fee increases by state and local governments, repealed pre-695 revenue hikes, demanded a 2% levy limit and a 2% individual limit, and repealed banking authority -- AND THEY DIDN'T GET ANY OF THEM.

Voters were livid. The voters' clear demands were being disregarded,
dismissed, and disrespected.

In response, many supporters in 2001 wanted us to go further and reduce property taxes, but we went with a compromise - no property tax reductions but a 1% levy limit which doesn't include the property tax revenue government gets from new construction, improvements, annexations, and real estate excise taxes and with an additional exception for anything above 1% approved by voters at an election. It got 58% support, the largest level of support for any initiative we've ever done. It was a crystal clear mandate.

So the 1% levy limit is the compromise -- 1% is a given. But because of the court's ruling, the people's 1% levy limit doesn't go far enough:

* You've got to either repeal banking authority (remember, voters
repealed it in 2000 with I-722) or require voter approval at an election for anything above 1% including unused banking capacity. The gigantic stockpiled total that's now available to local governments is staggering, accumulating over the past six years. In 2002, the Port of Seattle jacked up their levy 37% using banking. You've got to make sure that 1% means 1% and if there's anything higher, it needs voter approval.

* You've got to close the loophole in I-747 that you created in 2007.
King County Assessor Scott Noble was the whistleblower on this one and he advocates this loophole be closed. After he highlighted it and the Seattle Times slammed you for it, you said that wasn't your intent. But making "levy lid lifts" permanent even if governments promised during the campaign that they'd only be temporary is simply unacceptable.

* You've got to do this now. A special session is essential. King
County Assessor Scott Noble has already been contacted by local governments who say "we want it all and we want to be first in line." January is too late. Rep. Ed Orcutt and Sen. Don Benton have already reported that state representatives and state senators must go to Olympia at the end of November for 'committee assembly' anyway. Do it then and get it out of the way.

You don't like us - but you do like your jobs. The court has given each of you the chance to prove that you got the no-new-taxes message from Tuesday's election. When it comes to the people's 1% limit, each of you will show whether you're a representative of the people or a representative of the government.

We're already hearing "Voters said 1%, courts said 6%, let's compromise at 2%." The taxpayers have already substantially compromised. Governor Gregoire, Speaker Chopp, Majority Leader Brown, 2% is DOUBLE what voters want. State and local governments have learned to live with the people's 1% limit. Levy lid lifts above 1% by local governments have a 70% success rate with voters. So there's no going back.

You already know taxpayers are demanding PROPERTY TAX REDUCTIONS - so you better do the minimum right away and hope and pray that'll suffice going into the 2008 election. Just do the right thing, listen to the voters, and take this issue off the table in the 2008 election.

Regards, Tim Eyman, Jack Fagan, Mike Fagan, & Mike Dunmire

Posted by Will in Seattle

4:04 PM, Nov 09, 2007

Oh give it a rest or run for office yourself, Tim.

And this time you might want to actually hire a constitutional lawyer who knows how to read.

Posted by Publicbulldog

4:39 PM, Nov 09, 2007

Shut up and call futurewise.
They have worked so hard to create programs that would threaten their efforts to save a whale salmon and frog by being able to raise property taxes thru the roof.
Get real 1000 friends of higher taxes.
It appears as if the legislature was at least not mislead about the results of the election.
Too bad Will,Too bad 100 friends of higher taxes,you all lost in the end anyway.

Posted by Jay, some guy who considers the big picture

11:16 PM, Nov 09, 2007

This is really sad. People taking advantage of difficult economic times to repeatedly advance an anti-government, anti-tax, classist agenda. Doing it from the floor of the legislature would be democracy, Tim. Doing it through initiatives is just some guy shouting to a bunch of struggling middle-class people who don't want to spend a dime right now on anything outside their own home.

Posted by Wayne

12:04 AM, Nov 10, 2007

I-747 is not just Tim Eyeman expressing his opinion. This initiative is by the people of the state of Washington. Tax payers signed the initiative. Taxpayers voted overwhelmingly for this initiative, and understood what it means to limit taxation. Property taxes could make the difference between someone being able to afford a house or not. Will your children be able to buy a house in this state? Until very recently housing prices have increased every year, thousands of new homes are being built and thousands of new home owners (taxpayers)have moved here. The state should be enjoying quite a nice property tax windfall. The legislature is out of control with 1000 ways to spend every dollar. 6 percent increase in a year is more than your savings account earns in the bank. Why should we be expected to pay tax increases at nearly twice the rate of inflation? This initiative was our right in the state constitution that states "the will of the people" is the highest test of constitutionality. The court has undermined the will of people on a technicality. Write on Tim! Write on! I will be sending you a check!

Posted by Publicbulldog

11:54 AM, Nov 12, 2007

Get real Jay,
The legislature doesn't have the underwearwithall to take on hard issues.
They are all too busy trying to be teflon pans,so when they run for reelection nothing sticks.

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