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Government and Politics
Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Supermajority Ruling Is Personal Defeat For Fiery Initiative Activist

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Austin Jenkins
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Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the two-thirds requirement for tax hikes is a personal defeat for initiative activist Tim Eyman. Over the years, he sponsored three of the five ballot measures that enacted the supermajority rule.

Outside the Capitol after the ruling, reporters noted that Eyman seemed more subdued than defiant.

“I’m trying to focus as much as I can on the future and discipline myself in a way that probably hasn’t been exercised on occasion in the past," Eyman said. "But I’m as passionately in favor of this policy today as I ever was and I know based on a lot of experience that the voters feel that way too.”

Eyman says the question now is what will the legislature do. Many Democrats say they hope they can have a more robust conversation about tax options. Many Republicans are calling for a constitutional amendment to bring back the supermajority threshold.

Washington lawmakers face a $1 billion budget shortfall and a Supreme Court ruling to increase funding for public schools.