If the state Transportation Commission approves new tolls for the 520 floating bridge or any other roadway, in flagrant violation of I-1053’s supermajority requirement on raising taxes and fees, and initiative profiteer Tim Eyman doesn’t sue to uphold the letter and spirit of his recently passed measure… well, I will.
Because honestly, this might just be our best shot ever at forcing the state Supreme Court to finally rule on the constitutionality of this clearly unconstitutional provision.
It’s not like others haven’t attempted to challenge the constitutionality of previous two-thirds measures, but the popularly elected members of the Supreme Court have so far managed to avoid invalidating a popularly approved initiative by ruling that the issue simply wasn’t ripe, or that the plaintiffs did not have the standing to bring suit. And since the absence of a tax for fee increase at best raises a hypothetical harm, how does one sue over something lawmakers haven’t done? At least, that has been our Court’s cowardly approach thus far.
And since multiple legislatures and governors have never had the balls to affirmatively violate the two-thirds provision, we’ve never had the opportunity to put its constitutionality to the test.
But if the appointed members of the Transportation Commission were to simply ignore Eyman’s objections, and impose tolls on the 520 bridge and/or other structures without legislative approval, there’s your test case, for once I’m forced to pay this toll, well, I obviously enjoy standing as a “harmed” party, and the issue instantly becomes ripe.
Of course, the Supremes might still try to wiggle out of the underlying constitutional issue by somehow ruling that the Commission’s toll-setting authority falls outside the restrictions imposed by I-1053—get a bunch of clever lawyers in a room together, and anything can happen—but, well, you take the opportunities that come your way. And Eyman’s arrogant bluster over this issue is an opportunity his opponents would be stupid to ignore.