Writings and observations

On Washington’s ballot

From a report by the office of Washington’s secretary of state’s office, noting that Tim Eyman’s latest tax ballot issue has made the ballot there.

FYI: Tim Eyman’s Initiative 1366, aimed at requiring a supermajority for taxes passed in Olympia, has qualified for a spot on the statewide Washington ballot this fall, Secretary of State Kim Wyman announced Wednesday.

It is the second of two state ballot measures that will face voters. Secretary Wyman certified Initiative 1401 to the ballot a week ago. That is the measure backed by Paul Allen to crack down on trafficking of endangered species/parts. Three nonbinding tax-advisory votes on recently passed revenue bills also will be on the ballot, under terms of Eyman’s previously adopted I-960.

Ballots go in the mail in mid-October. Voters will see initiative descriptions written by the Attorney General, pro and con arguments written by sponsors and opponents, and fiscal analysis from the state budget office. Print and online Voter’s Pamphlets will include text.

State Elections Division crews completed scrutiny of voter signatures on a random sampling of the I-1366 petitions and showed that sponsors submitted more than enough names to qualify for a state vote.

To earn a ballot spot takes 246,372 valid signatures of registered Washington voters – 8 percent of the last votes cast for governor. Sponsors turned in over 339,000 signatures and about 10,000 were randomly chosen by computer algorithm for a full check.

The check showed an error rate of 15.4 percent, compared with the average rate of 18 percent in recent decades.

The check showed that 9,143 signatures in the sample were accepted, 983 were rejected because the signer wasn’t a registered voter, 46 rejected because the signature didn’t match the one on file and 16 were duplicates.

I-1366 is an attempt to persuade the Legislature to place a constitutional amendment on the 2016 statewide ballot, to require a two-thirds vote in both houses to approve future tax increases in Olympia. The initiative says if lawmakers don’t place the amendment on the ballot by next April 15, the state sales tax would be cut from 6.5 percent to 5.5 percent, costing the treasury roughly $1 billion a year.

Only the Legislature may originate a constitutional amendment. That requires a two-thirds vote in both chambers and simple majority approval of the voters. The State Supreme Court has ruled that previous Eyman efforts to impose a two-thirds supermajority rule are unconstitutional, since current language requires only a simple majority for taxes and other bills to pass. The court said Eyman could succeed only if the constitution were amended.

The I-1366 text is here: http://tinyurl.com/pzosak4

The I-1401 text is here: http://tinyurl.com/kc2uq9b

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