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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Tax-focused Eyman initiative qualifies for ballot

OLYMPIA – Tim Eyman’s latest effort to make it harder for the Legislature to raise taxes will be on the fall ballot.

State election officials said Wednesday that Initiative 1366 has more than enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot and will join Initiative 1401, which would give added protections to certain endangered species.

I-1366 attempts to force the Legislature to let voters decide whether to amend the state constitution to require supermajorities from each chamber to approve any new tax increase. The initiative is sponsored by Voters Want More Choices, an organization operated by Eyman and two associates from Spokane, Mike Fagan, a Spokane city councilman; and Fagan’s father, Jack Fagan. 

Voters have approved previous initiatives by Eyman’s organization that demanded supermajorities in the Legislature for new taxes. But the Supreme Court threw out the most recent such initiative, saying that kind of change requires a constitutional amendment, which must originate in the Legislature not with the initiative process. A constitutional amendment must pass with a two-thirds majority in each chamber, followed by voter approval with a simple majority.

Under I-1366, the Legislature would have to pass such an amendment by next April 15, putting it on the November 2016 ballot, or the state sales tax would drop from 6.5 cents to 5.5 cents on the dollar. That would cut state revenue by about $1 billion per year.

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