Opinion

Court’s actions call for a special session

I’ll believe the Legislature and Gov. Gregoire will restore Initiative 747’s 1 percent cap on property tax collections when they actually do it, I told Tim Eyman.

“The limit could be one,” he said, “but they could use weasel words to get around it, or make it apply to certain governments. They could have different percentages for different districts. They should restore it as is.”

The Eyman camp’s euphoria over passage of I-960, making it tougher for the Legislature to raise taxes and fees was somewhat dissipated by the news following the election that his I-747 had been declared unconstitutional.

The 5-4 decision on I-747 was handed down by seven sitting justices and two temps.

Justice Jim Johnson recused himself because he drafted I-747 for Eyman as his attorney before he joined the court. Justice Mary Fairhurst did the same because she was chief assistant attorney general for the Department of Revenue before her election in 2002 and provided legal advice about Eyman’s I-722, which was passed in 2000.

Appeals Court Judges Teresa Kulik and Stephen Brown of Spokane were drafted to fill out the panel of nine. They both went with Bobbie Bridges, Barbara Madsen and Susan Owens, leaving in the minority, Richard Sanders, Gerry Alexander, Tom Chambers and Charles Johnson.

Did you notice all the women were on one side?

I-747 was said to have misled voters into thinking they were lowering the tax cap from 2 percent to 1 percent when actually it was from 6 to 1.

The 2 percent cap was in I-722 that had not yet been tossed out as unconstitutional when I-747 was written.

The situation now, however, is as if I-747 never existed, although it has been in use for five years. Which means, says Eyman, that all the taxing districts have in their tax banks the 5 percent per year that they haven’t used because they were restricted to 1 percent.

They could increase their collections by 30 percent right now, he says.

Gov. Gregoire asked them not to do anything until she has a chance to talk to local officials but said she would ask the Legislature to restore the 1 percent.

Dino Rossi, the man who was elected governor twice before King County elections chicanery aced him out of it in favor of Gregoire, has demanded a special session to do the restoration now.

Eyman says the same. “This is just like I-695 (the $30 car tab),” he said. “Gov. Gary Locke listened to the people and acted within a week of the Superior Court decision declaring that one unconstitutional. They passed a $30 car tab bill before the Supreme Court even acted, upholding the lower court.”

Gov. Gregoire should act immediately, he said. Legislators will be in Olympia the end of the month for committee meetings so a special session won’t cost anything.

“Are they going to represent the people,” Eyman asked, “or protect government from the people? It’s so obvious what the people want.”

I think what the governor has in mind if she can swing it without damaging her prospects for reelection is to enact a 2 percent cap. I know she said she’d ask for 1, but I believe she will privately urge local government officials to put the squeeze on the Legislature to make it 2, arguing that was what Eyman himself originally proposed in I-722.

They can do their usual whining about how hard it is to give service to the people on only 1 percent increase and the people often are suckered into falling for the pitch.

If they postpone any action until the session begins in January, I think 2 percent is more likely than 1 because it gives them more time to brainwash the electorate.

We need the cap in I-747 restored as is before this month is out. Tell that to your legislators.

Adele Ferguson can be reached at PO Box 69, Hansville, WA 98340.

Our Mobile Apps

Community Events, April 2014

Add an Event
We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the latest Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Apr 11 edition online now. Browse the archives.