Washington voters passed Initiative 1366, the tax cut/tax-limiting constitutional amendment in 2015. I-1366 will cut the state sales tax by one penny unless the state Legislature places a constitutional amendment on the ballot making it harder to raise taxes, requiring a two-thirds legislative vote or a popular vote on tax increase measures.
Of course, the successful outcome of I-1366 came as no surprise. Voters have repeatedly approved initiatives calling for the two-thirds rule, only to have them ignored by Democrat legislatures or (most recently) struck down by the state Supreme Court.
In November, the state Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the legality of I-1366 is unclear. The court hinted that the case is unprecedented, as it has “never before ruled on an initiative that had such alternatives.”
The liberal court also ruled that opponents, including some lawmakers, had grounds to challenge the initiative. Essentially, the case can be argued before a lower court judge.
Considering that they—once again—lost in the court of public opinion, liberal organizations are already gearing up to battle the initiative in court. Whether or not Democrat legislators will attempt to ignore I-1366 during the 2016 legislative session is another story—though, given the reaction of their top campaign donors, it’s a strong likelihood.
This is how the Washington State Labor Council (WSLC) reported on the passage of Initiative 1366,
“(Tim) Eyman celebrated this political touchdown with a little extra step in his victory dance. He obviously enjoyed repelling foes who contended the measure amounted to blackmailing lawmakers with the loss of billions of sales tax dollars for schools and state programs if they didn’t pass the tax-limiting constitutional amendment.”
As Shift reported, it doesn’t take a communications expert to read into the tone of disgust. The Far Left activists over at Fuse Washington—who campaigned heavily against the initiative—also shouted out their distain for the passage of I-1366.
“… our biggest disappointment was a narrow victory for Tim Eyman’s I-1366. We started 13 points down in July and clawed our way to a tie in October, but we were unable to overcome low voter turnout – resulting in a conservative electorate statewide – to defeat this dangerous measure.”
The failed effort put into defeating I-1366 should have sent a clear message to Democrats and their special interest supporters: Voters are fed up with the Left’s agenda, specifically the constant push for new taxes.
But, that’s a message the Left refuses to accept.
As Shift reported, accepting that message would mean Democrats would have to give up on their 2016 plan to introduce a state income tax via initiative. Democrats already have to contend with the fact that Washington voters have said “no” to an income tax many times before. It’s much easier to excuse the losses on something like low voter turnout than to accept that voters reject your party’s unimaginative “solutions.”
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