2/3 Majority Requirements are Unconstitutional

We’ve waited and waited for this announcement. I mean, here we are half way through the current legislative session, but the Washington state Supreme Court has finally ruled on the 2/3 majority laws, brought to you by our state’s top Initiative Whore, Tim “Biggest Lie of My Life” Eyman.

The ruling: by a 6-3 majority, the court upheld a lower court’s finding that 2/3s laws are unconstitutional.

I’ve not read the ruling yet, but I strongly suspect it will highlight the major argument put forth by Goldy and other bloggers here: ENGLISH. If you read the state Constitution and understand the English language, it’s kind of a no-brainer.

Once again, an Eyman initiative–in this case, several similar versions of the same basic initiative–is found to be unconstitutional.


  1. 4

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    The Seattle Tripe, in its own inimitable fashion, starts out its story with, “The state Supreme Court on Thursday made it easier for state lawmakers to increase taxes.”

    Not, “Another Eyman initiative was declared unconstitional today by the state Supreme Court” or “The state Supreme Court ruled today that the state Constitution can’t be amended by initiative.”

    Nope, they had to put a Republican spin on it: It’s now easier for state lawmakers to raise your taxes. Implication: The only way to stop the legislature from raising your taxes is to fill it with anti-tax Republicans.

    Not to worry. Within a few days, there will be a paywall between us and this tripe.

  2. 5

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    So. Timmy maintains his near-perfect batting average of writing initiatives that ultimately get struck down by the courts. Is he trying to get into Guinness as the World’s Worst Initiative Writer? Will he ever hire a lawyer to help him write these things? Nah.

  3. 6

    HappyHeathen spews:

    With $Millions of corporate dollars going down the drain you’d think they would turn off the Lieman spigot off or is incompetence still going to pay well?

  4. 7

    Czechsaaz spews:

    As fate would have it, I’ll be in my car in 20 minutes. I’m looking forward to listening to Dori blow a freaking gasket. Any over/under on how many times he says “activist judges?” He might even have Timmy on. God I hope so.

  5. 8

    Ten Years After spews:

    This must be particularly gratifying for government employees like WEA members. Those who favor a strong central,government for the state must be very happy, too.

  6. 9

    Richard Pope spews:

    It seems pretty clear that a law increasing the requirements for passing other laws, beyond what the state constitution specifies, would be unconstitutional. At the same time, there is an easy way for Tim Eyman to get around this decision.

    Simply propose an initiative every two years which sets forth the amount of each and every tax charged by the State of Washington. If the initiative passes, then the legislature would be powerless to change any of these tax rates for the next two years, unless 2/3 of each house approved or the matter was approved in a referendum.

    In fact, Eyman could reduce some of the state’s tax rates by specifying lower rates for some or all of the taxes in his biennial tax rate initiative — something which his previous initiatives have generally not done. For example, Eyman could propose cutting the state sales tax by half a point to teach his opponents a lesson.

  7. 10

    Ten Years After spews:

    There’s a great fight over HerbaLife brewing. Carl Icahn is short the stock, and some guy named Ackman is doing what is known as a “short squeeze.” That means Icahn, the short, is going to have his butt kicked on the stock.

    I just love it when one of these “Captians of High Finance” get to suffer. I hope it wipes-out Icahn, but I know that won’t happen: he’ll just be less of a multi-billionaire.

  8. 11

    rhp6033 spews:

    I’m beginning to wonder if Timmy specifically writes these initiatives so that they would be overturned. If you end up with this result, time and time again, you have to wonder if it’s intentional.

    After all, at some point Timmy might actually write an initiative which gets him what he wants – at which point he would be out of business. By having the initiatives overturned, he can keep raising money and acquire loyal fans by fueling outrage among his Tea-Party types – as well as a certain big-money donar.

    Republicans have been doing this for years. They pray every night that abortion isn’t abolished and gun rights continue to be subject to calls for reasonable regulation. Their biggest fear is that these issues would simply go away, leaving them to argue on an issue for which their record is notoriously bad – economic performance.

  9. 12

    Ten Years After spews:

    From 10,

    I had it reversed: Icahn is long HLF, and Ackman is short, big time! Anyway, Ackman is going to have his clock cleaned! It’s nice to see the big boys hurt once in a while.

  10. 13

    Ten Years After spews:

    From 11,

    Yes, even the initiative to limit the cost of car tabs has been rendered meaningless due to these add-ons that seem to creep into the renewal fees.

  11. 14


    “Gee, too bad about all that bridge-burning you guys did over Sheldon and Tom.”

    What the fuck? This makes no sense whatsoever. Tom didn’t become a Republican because people burned bridges. Rather, people burned bridges because Tom became a Republican.

  12. 15


    Darryl @ 14

    Rather, people burned bridges because Tom became a Republican.

    Well, yeah. Good part of that burning happened here on HA.

    Thing is, if you could get one or the other of those guys to switch back, with the decision by the Washington supremes you could raise taxes now. Way it stands now, you probably gotta wait nearly two years before you get your first chance.

    Harder to make them switch back since you announced you’d rather spend time with Lucifer rather than with either of them.

  13. 16


    Richard Pope,

    “In fact, Eyman could reduce some of the state’s tax rates by specifying lower rates for some or all of the taxes in his biennial tax rate initiative — something which his previous initiatives have generally not done.”

    This is, essentially, what 1999’s I-695 did (until it was declared unconstitutional and lawmakers saved Eyman the effort of re-doing it). But it doesn’t always work. In 2005, the voters rejected I-912 that would have repealed the 9.5 cent gas tax increase.

    For 1999, voters gleefully voted themselves a few boxes of chocolates each year. In 2005, the realities of having high quality, safe transportation infrastructure sunk in. It’s hard to go to procure and enjoy those chocolates if your transportation infrastructure sinks to third-world standards.

  14. 18

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I just posted 2 comments on (u)SP that disappeared within seconds. At this point, I don’t know if I’m being moderated, or have been banned. There was nothing incendiary in them; they should pass any reasonable moderator, so we’ll see. Although maybe just the name “Roger Rabbit” is incendiary enough for those guys. The (u)SP crowd is, after all, a thin-skinned bunch who can’t stomach anyone disagreeing with them. If they’ve blocked me from posting over there, that would prove (u)SP is nothing more than just another rigidly intolerant rightwing circle-jerk, wouldn’t it?

  15. 19

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @9 “It seems pretty clear that a law increasing the requirements for passing other laws, beyond what the state constitution specifies, would be unconstitutional.”

    You’re being a real lawyer today, Richard. Good on you! And I’m glad to see you’re back on active status. I wish you well in your current and future professional endeavors.

  16. 20

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @10 I wouldn’t touch Herbalife with a 100-foot pole, with or without Messers Icahn and Ackman. I only invest in real companies with real products. The sharks can fight over entrails to their hearts’ contentment.

  17. 21

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @11 Eyman is a charlatan who scams his sugar daddies like a predatory woman courting some lonely elderly guy to get his money? No! You don’t say! How did you manage to see through him?

  18. 22

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @13 Eyman’s car tab tax initiative was struck down almost immediately. The legislature re-enacted it and Gov. Locke signed it in deference to the popular will. The car tab tax, as then administered, was an unfair and unpopular and widely evaded tax. You were taxed according to the book value of the vehicle, not its actual value. For example, let’s say you owned a 3-year-old F-150 pickup whose book value was $20,000, but your F-150 had extremely high mileage, mechanical problems needing expensive repairs, and accident damage so that it was worth only $9,000. You had to pay the tax on $20,000, not $9,000, even if you presented proof of the conditions reducing its actual value to far below book. In other words, the book value was a presumptive value for tax purposes that could not be rebutted. Another reason why car tab taxes are unfair is a person who drives a vehicle 500 miles a year pays the same tax as someone who drives an identical vehicle 50,000 miles a year. Let’s say you keep an old pickup truck around for occasional towing, trash hauling, and the like. Or let’s say you’re an elderly person who needs a car for grocery shopping and medical appointments but does very little driving. In both cases, you get clobbered by this tax. I’m no fan of car tab taxes and I’d like to see them abolished completely in favor of some tax-by-the-mile scheme. Gas taxes approximate that, but with CAFE going up and gas tax revenues declining, that state needs another way of paying for highway and road infrastructure. And what about all-electric cars, which escape gas taxes entirely? We have the technology now to easily charge drivers for their actual use of public roads, and I’d like to see both vehicle taxes and insurance rates set that way.

  19. 23

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I’ve now had 4 comments deleted from 2 separate (u)SP threads. Looks like they’ve switched on automatic intercept of my posts. We’ll see if they reappear later, or are being circular-filed. My guess is our thin-skinned little friend Pudgy can’t resist the temptation to act like a Soviet censorship apparatchik. After all, when you have godlike power in your hands, who can resist playing God?

  20. 24

    Ekim spews:

    4. Roger Rabbit spews:

    The Seattle Tripe, in its own inimitable fashion, starts out its story with, “The state Supreme Court on Thursday made it easier for state lawmakers to increase taxes.”

    This reminds me once again why I don’t subscribe to the printed Seattle Trivia nor will I subscribe to the online.

    Earth to Blethen family: Relevance matters.

  21. 25

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @16 If you want to see what relentless tax-slashing does to a state’s quality of life, read this Mother Jones article about Florida.


    Roger Rabbit Commentary: Rick Scott’s teaparty agenda isn’t sitting well with Floridians, including many Republicans. At 29%, he has the lowest approval rating of any governor in the country, and appears headed toward being a 1-term governor.

  22. 26

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @15 “Good part of that burning happened here on HA.”

    I didn’t realize HA is so powerful in state politics. Glad to hear it. I’m not wasting my time here (but you are).

  23. 27

    Ten Years After spews:

    From 23,

    Speaking of God-like power, I’m finishing up a book on T. Roosevelt ans W. Wilson. Wow, both those guys had egos the size of Texas! They did a lot to attack the Constitution and freedom, particularly economic freedom, all in the name of self-aggrandizement!

    Great book – gives you lots to think about.

  24. 28

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Breaking News — GOP Caves, VAWA Passes

    “On Thursday, following a heated debate on the House floor, lawmakers passed the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. Republicans had held up the law for more than a year over provisions designed to protect undocumented immigrants, Native Americans, and members of the LGBT community. In a separate, earlier vote, the House rejected an alternative, stripped-down VAWA pushed by House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor, instead embracing the bipartisan version of the bill the Senate passed last week.”


    Roger Rabbit Commentary: Next up: Doing their job by passing a budget America’s voters want, instead of stonewalling for the budget they want, which voters rejected.

  25. 29

    rhp6033 spews:

    # 22: Eyman also happened to jump on the bandwagon just after a rescession. Car prices had been fairly level for a while, but then they took a big jump. I think the car tab rates were “weighted”, assuming that if one can afford a more expensive car, one can afford higher taxes. But suddenly, just as people were re-entering the new car market again, the price of an average car had entered into what was previously considered to be a “luxory car”.

    Before the legislature knew what hit them (they move pretty glacially under the best circumstances), Timmy had put together his car tax initiative.

    It’s the same scenario which hit California When Proposition 13 was adopted in 1978. Californians have been paying for it ever since.

  26. 30

    Ekim spews:

    28. Roger Rabbit spews:

    Breaking News — GOP Caves, VAWA Passes

    But not before they got full credit for being assholes. Again.

  27. 32

    MikeBoyScout spews:

    I think Timmy should propose another initiative to change the name of the 520 bridge to
    The Tim Eyman Toll Bridge

  28. 33

    Ten Years After spews:

    From 22,

    OK, but is there a chance for government abuse of power with the new technolgies you suggest for measuring vehicle use? I’m always worried about government intrusion, and the technology to measure vehicle use might have such things as listening devices and location tracking apparatuses inbedded in the software and hardware. Privacy in your car is important, too.

  29. 34

    Oldmtnbkr spews:

    @22. Agree with your comments about car tab taxes, RR. A couple points in favor of the gas tax: 1. yes the general vehicle fleet is getting more efficient, but it’s so gradual I don’t think there’s any reason to worry about hybrids and EV’s for another 10-15 years. 2. It’s a really efficient tax to collect and lines up well with who’s paying and who’s benefiting. And, Big Oil’s margins are so fat that I bet if you phase in an increase (say, 3 cents/gal per year for 10 years) it would not be a drag on the economy. Yes, it can be regressive, and since it’s based on physical quantity rather than ad valorem, it doesn’t track well with inflation.

  30. 35

    Richard Pope spews:

    rhp6033 @ 29

    The old MVET was horribly bad as a matter of public policy. First, the combined MVET rate was something like 2.5% of the legally decreed value of the vehicle. Second, the legally decree value was often 50% to 100% higher than actual value, due to a bogus depreciation schedule based on MSRP (when most cars sell for 5% to 10% or more less than MSRP) and the legal fiction that the car did not lose a penny of value during the first three years of ownership, and then only gradually after that. So some folks were paying 5% or more of the car’s fair market value for MVET!

    Rabbit did a good practical anal-ysis @ 22 of how the MVET really buggered some folks pretty bad.

    Goes to show why I-695 was real popular in getting rid of an unfair tax. And why the people will support fair taxes and reject such things as I-912.

  31. 36


    This is great news for Tim Eyman. Any con knows that if you have a soft mark you can run the same scam on them over and over again. The bearings on Timmy’s printer are going to be smoking printing out all the new product and begging letters to the true believers. This indeed the best of all possible worlds.

  32. 37

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @31 They haven’t liked me for a very long time, and never passed up an opportunity to disparage me, but I wasn’t thrown off their website until now.

    Yup, as of tonight, it sure looks like I’ve been banned from Stefan’s sucky little blog. Of course, that’s what you’d expect from those chickenshits, and I’m surprised they didn’t evict me sooner. I attribute that to sloth and laziness on their part. The one thing nearly all conservative blogs have in common is they can’t tolerate any divergence from their worldview.

    In this respect, they closely resemble the former masters of the old Soviet Union. If conservatives ever got total control over our society, it would be like living in early Cold War-era Russia, where everything was censored and dissenters were shot or carted off to the Gulag. Petty ideologues are pretty much the same everywhere: Insecure, thin-skinned, small-minded, and petty.

  33. 38

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @33 Those chances of abuse exist regardless of whether the technology is used an alternative way of taxing road users.

  34. 39

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @35 Yep, Eyman rode a wave of popular discontent to an undeserved prominence. That’s one of the side effects of bad laws and unpopular taxes.

  35. 40

    Chris spews:

    @15 Having even both of the senators switch back would not allow for tax increases. The reason is that Republicans were given the majority in the committee (without either Sheldon or Tom) that can raise taxes, so any proposal would die in committee.