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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."

Washington Initiative Promoter Files Measure To Resurrect Anti-Tax Rule

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Austin Jenkins
/
Northwest News Network
Initiative promoter Tim Eyman has a plan to resurrect the two-thirds vote requirement for tax increases in Washington

Washington initiative promoter Tim Eyman kicked off the New Year with a new ballot proposal.

It’s designed to resurrect the requirement that tax hikes get a two-thirds majority in the legislature or be referred to the people. This time Eyman has designed a hammer to get the legislature to act.

Last year, the Washington Supreme Court tossed out Eyman’s two-thirds requirement for tax increases as unconstitutional – something Washington voters had repeatedly approved. Now Eyman’s back with a creative proposal: he would cut the state sales tax by one cent if the legislature doesn’t approve and send to voters a constitutional amendment to bring back the super majority rule.

“Either they let us vote, which costs them nothing, or we get the largest tax cut in Washington state history,” says Eyman.

A one penny cut in the sales tax would amount to about $1 billion a year in lost revenue to the state. Eyman would need to gather nearly 250,000 valid voter signatures to put his measure on this fall’s ballot.

The 2014 initiative season is also underway in Oregon. Measures on same-sex marriage, marijuana legalization and liquor privatization are all expected to qualify for the ballot.

In Idaho, there are proposed ballot initiatives to raise the minimum wage and allow medical marijuana.