Rep. Buys’ statement on I-1366 ruling

Rep. Vincent Buys, R-Lynden, released the following statement on the Initiative 1366 King County Superior Court ruling:

“January’s ruling on I-1366 was disappointing and frustrating to voters. Six times now, voters of Washington state have expressed their desire to require a supermajority vote of the Legislature to raise taxes. Unfortunately, it seems as though taxpayers’ calls for state government to exercise fiscal responsibility and restraint are falling on deaf ears in our judicial system. That said, voters should know House Republicans attempted to bring a resolution to the House floor that would have sent voters an amendment to the state constitution requiring a two-thirds majority vote of the Legislature to raise taxes. The procedural move failed on a 48-49 party-line vote, with Republicans voting for the measure.

“In addition, not sending a constitutional amendment to the November 2016 ballot would have serious implications for state revenues. I-1366 provides that if the Legislature does not refer a constitutional amendment to the ballot by April 14, the state sales tax will be reduced by¬†1 percent¬†effective the following day. Doing so would result in decreased revenue of $163 million in fiscal year 2016 and $1.5 billion beginning the next fiscal year.

“The Legislature should not be afraid to hear the voice of citizens with regard to raising taxes. All the initiative asked was that we give citizens one final vote on fiscal policies that would affect them.

“I hope the state Supreme Court reaches a different conclusion than the King County Superior Court, and sides with the voters of this great state.”

Following the ruling, Washington House Republicans attempted to bring a constitutional amendment to the House floor for a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to raise taxes. House Joint Resolution 4215 failed to pass on a 48-49 party-line vote.

I-1366, passed by voters in November, was ruled unconstitutional by King County Superior Court Jan. 21. The measure would cut the state sales tax by 1 percent if the Legislature does not put the two-thirds requirement in place. The court ruled against the initiative stating it usurped the role of the Legislature by proposing to place restrictions on its ability to raise taxes.

The state Supreme Court said it will hear the case beginning March 15.


Washington State House Republican Communications