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2010 initiative season underway

by David Ammons | January 26th, 2010

petitionIt looks like 2010 could be a busy year for ballot measures. We’re getting word that initiative activist Tim Eyman is already in the field with his anti-tax I-1053, after picking up the unusually early endorsement of the state GOP over the weekend.   This follows the recent filing of two controversial initiatives by well-connected groups – legalizing marijuana and privatizing the state-run worker’s comp insurance program.

Eyman’s latest plan presumes the Democrats will suspend his previously approved I-960 and raise taxes in Olympia by simple majority this winter.  His new initiative would restate I-960′s requirement for a two-thirds supermajority vote in both houses for higher taxes, and requiring legislative approval of any fee increases.

The state GOP central committee on Saturday said, “The two safeguards against higher taxes this November are electing more Republicans and endorsing this initiative.” Eyman says he already has distributed 4,000 petitions and on Monday sent his supporters an electronic version so they can printed off petitions at a copy center. Initiative sponsors need to submit roughly 300,000 signatures by July 2 to get a place on the November ballot.

The season is just underway, but there could at least two other “800-pound gorillas” out there, too.  The Legislature has apparently killed legislation to legalize pot possession by adults, or to downgrade the penalty, and citizen activists say they’ll take their case to the voters, who previously approved medical use of marijuana.  The politically active Building Industry Association of Washington, meanwhile, is sponsoring a plan to turn the workers’ comp system over to the private sector. 

One Response to “2010 initiative season underway”

  1. Eyman’s latest anti-tax measure isn’t exactly an 800 pound gorilla. The idea of allowing a minority of 1/3 of the legislators to impose their revenue views on the rest of the Legislators only received 51.24% of the vote in 2007 as I-960 and only 51.21 of the vote in 1993 as I-601.
    Unfortunately I-960 also prevented the Legislators from being able to repeal any under performing tax exemptions without a 2/3 vote.
    The unanswered question about I-960 and Eyman’s latest measure is whether or not they are unconstitutional. The Washington State Constitution says the Legislature shall act by majority voting and an initiative can not amend the State Constitution.

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