Politics Eyman in Court This Friday
posted by July 9 at 12:38 PMon
Progressive local attorney Knoll Lowney will argue in KC Superior Court this Friday that Tim Eyman’s latest initiative, I-960, goes beyond the scope of the initiative process on two counts.
I-960 would require a super majority vote of the legislature to pass tax increases. And it would require those tax increases to go before a vote of the people. Eyman turned in his signatures last week and got some rare good press after a run of recent embarrassments (not enough signatures, weird costumes, initiatives getting tossed.) The article did not mention Lowney’s challenge.
Lowney will start by arguing that I-960’s requirement for a legislative super majority to pass any tax increase is a de facto amendment to the state Constitution. “Editing the Constitution by initiative is beyond the scope of the initiative process,” Lowney says. Indeed, you cannot amend the Constitution by the initiative process.
Unfortunately for Eyman, the Constitution already specifies when legislative action requires more than a simple majority. Most tax increases are not on that list.
Second, Lowney will argue that I-960’s requirement that all tax increases passed by the legislature must automatically go to a vote of the people also takes the red pen to the state Constitution. Requiring a vote of the people, circumvents the referendum process as spelled out in the state Constitution. You cannot file a referendum without first collecting signatures. To change that guideline, you’d have to change the Constitution—which, again, you cannot do by initiative.
Lowney has beaten Eyman in KC Superior Court before. Lowney successfully argued to have I-747 (a property tax cap) put on hold. I-747 is currently before the Supreme Court. Lowney also spent years with his group, Permanently Offended (a spoof on Eyman’s Permanent Offense), harassing Eyman with ballot title challenges.