March 5, 2009 in City, Region

Eye on Olympia: High court rejects tax case

By The Spokesman-Review
 
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Get more news from Olympia at Richard Roesler’s Eye on Olympia blog.

The Washington state Supreme Court has just ruled against state Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, D-Wash., who filed suit last year to try to overturn a requirement that tax increases be approved by a two-thirds vote of the Legislature.

That voter-approved law is nowhere to be found in the state constitution, and Brown argued that the ballot measure was, in essence, an attempt to change the constitution without actually going through the difficult process of doing so.

The Supreme Court said unanimously today that the dispute at the heart of Brown’s case (a ruling by Senate President Brad Owen) is a legislative matter, not something the court intends to wade into. Writing for the court, Justice Mary Fairhurst said:

Intervention of this court into an intrahouse dispute over a parliamentary ruling to compel the president of the senate to perform a discretionary duty would be a grave violation of separation

of powers. We dismiss the action.

Doing away with the two-thirds rule would have made it easier for lawmakers to increase taxes in the fact of a massive budget shortfall over the next two years.

The Evergreen Freedom Foundation has posted a link to the ruling here..

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