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Tax Limiting Initiative Now In Hands Of Washington State Supreme Court

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The fate of Washington anti-tax activist Tim Eyman's latest initiative is now in the hands of the Washington Supreme Court.

The Washington Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday morning about the legality of anti-tax activist Tim Eyman's latest voter-approved initiative.

Initiative 1366 would cut the state sales tax by one percentage point unless lawmakers put a constitutional amendment on the ballot to require a two-thirds vote in the legislature for future tax increases.

Attorney Paul Lawrence asked the court to invalidate the initiative on behalf of challengers, including the League of Women Voters, several Democratic legislators and allied lobbyists.

"The initiative power gives the right of the people to enact laws,” Lawrence said. “It does not give the people the right to invoke the amendment process to change the Washington Constitution. It does not give the people the right to enact laws that contain multiple subjects.”

Washington state Deputy Solicitor General Callie Castillo defended the voters' will.

"There is nothing in the constitution that restricts the people from passing conditional legislation that may put pressure on the legislature to accomplish a specific act,” she argued.

Two months ago, a King County superior court judge ruled the tax-limiting initiative violated several provisions of the state constitution. The Washington Supreme Court typically takes six months to a year to decide whether to uphold or reverse lower court rulings.

Now semi-retired, Tom Banse covered national news, business, science, public policy, Olympic sports and human interest stories from across the Northwest. He reported from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events unfolded. Tom's stories can be found online and were heard on-air during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.