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Court says no to two-thirds majority vote on taxes

The Washington state Supreme Court has voted to overturn a state law that a two-thirds majority vote by the Legislature is required in order to enact any new taxes. The vote was 6 to 3.

The decision means that the Legislature can now implement a tax increase with a simple majority vote in both chambers and validated by the Governor's signature.

In their decision, the court wrote, "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.”

In a statement Thursday morning, Inslee said, “The state Supreme Court did the right thing today in ruling that a supermajority requirement for ordinary legislation would alter our system of government. The supermajority requirement gave a legislative minority the power to squelch ideas even when those ideas had majority support. That is inconsistent with our fundamental form of representative democracy.”

The court rule comes from the lawsuit filed by the League of Education Voters and other groups against Initiative 1053, an initiative sponsored by Tim Eyman in 2010 that brought back the two-thirds requirement.

Voters first authorized the two-thirds requirement in 1993. They reimposed it in 1998, 2007, 2010 and reaffirmed in 2012.

 

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