The Eyman Backlash

Liberals Vow Lawsuits and an Initiative to Overturn Tim Eyman's Tax Policy

The Eyman Backlash

Eli Sanders

Yes, it's true, this state is totally fucked because of the all-cuts budget just passed by the state legislature—the Democrat-­controlled legislature. However, a few of those Dems, and one major union, say this isn't the end of the fight to restore vital state programs by doing what was unthinkable in Olympia this year: raising new revenue.

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which represents 40,000 home health care workers in Washington State, says it will run an initiative this fall to overturn the 10 percent cut in home health care hours the new budget mandates.

"The approach legislators have taken—slashing support for low-wage workers and their vulnerable clients, while protecting costly tax loopholes for wealthy corporate interests—is not supported by the public," says Adam Glickman, vice president of SEIU Healthcare 775NW. (He was unable to provide any polling to back up that assertion.) In addition, Glickman says the SEIU is continuing its fight in federal court to stop cuts in service for clients, who, the SEIU argues, are guaranteed care under Medicaid.

Meanwhile, a small band of Democrats in the state house is laying the groundwork for a potential lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of Tim Eyman's Initiative 1053, which passed handily last fall and requires a two-thirds majority in both houses for any tax increase.

Eyman's requirement was a major contributor to this session's all-cuts budget, and yet, says state representative Jamie Pedersen (D-43), "most lawyers who have looked at this question come to the same conclusion: It is not constitutional."

Why? Pedersen says voting thresholds in the state legislature—like requiring a two-thirds majority to raise taxes—must be set by the state constitution, not by passing an initiative.

On May 24, Pedersen and others tried to pass a measure that would have repealed a $100 million tax break for out-of-state banks and used the money to fund class-size reduction. The measure had 48 cosponsors in the house, and a majority of house legislators approved it—but it failed because it didn't have a two-thirds majority.

Is house Speaker Frank Chopp supporting the small band of house Democrats who want to take 1053 to court? "I don't want to speak for Frank," Pedersen says. But he points out that Chopp rarely, if ever, allows a bill to be voted on and fail, but he did in this case.

Still, even if a court case is pursued based on this failed bill, Pedersen says, it's "unlikely" it will be resolved before the next legislative session begins, because of the time required to get the matter heard and decided by the state supreme court. recommended


Comments (6) RSS

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healthcare workers aren't the only body of workers up a creek: rural teachers pay 970.00 a month for insurance and the WEA fought a senate bill to put teachers under the state insurance umbrella, saving our state 90 million. Now teachers are facing a 1.4% paycut and their insurance will go up even more this fall.
Posted by lhsouthern1988 on June 2, 2011 at 12:16 AM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 2
What they need is some way to inform the public about how stupid the 2/3 requirement is, and it has so actively screwed the state.

I wouldn't concentrate on the poor people so much, because they don't care about poor people - other than themselves, of course. And poor people by and large don't vote.

I wouldn't talk too much about college students or the universities, because everyone knows those are just places for crazy-eyed liberal professors to indoctrinate a student body consisting solely of foreigners, frat boys and the sort of coeds you see on "Girls Gone Wild". And college students don't vote anyway.

You can't talk about the state workers because everyone knows that state employees do nothing but masterbate to porn accessed on state-owned computers all day, and the state retirees all make $250k per year that comes from a special tax on real working people. While they do vote, even after they are dead, the actual ballots are all cast by IItalian-American union bosses with cigars and carnations on the lapels of their cheap shiny suits.

A lawsuit by a bunch of politicians and their trial lawyer cronies will just prove, once again, that Tim is a Real American, Defending Our Liberties.
Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay on June 2, 2011 at 7:43 AM · Report this
Slam1263 3
Uhm, last time I checked, Democrats had better than a two-thirds majority in both houses, and the Governor is a Democrat.

Why can't they work together and pass what they want, the Republicans don't have enough votes to stop anything.
Posted by Slam1263 on June 2, 2011 at 7:01 PM · Report this
@3, check again. For 2011-12, Democrats have 27 of 49 Senate seats and 56 of 98 in the House. 
Posted by mge on June 3, 2011 at 9:26 PM · Report this
The best nugget in this article will be ignored by virtually all Stranger readers. The tired old "reduce class size" garbage. We are close to broke. We've been reducing class sizes for three decades and showing absolutely no returns for it except a greater tax burden. This one should not be one of the "tough choices" we face right now. This is why we are stuck with an all cuts budget. Until our backs are against the wall we cut absolutely nothing.
Posted by Homesick on June 4, 2011 at 6:55 AM · Report this
Homesick-three decades of class size reduction? My son's class went from 30 to 55. I could not even fit my behind between the front row desks and the board. How is it that a teacher is supposed to keep 55 5th graders on task? Maybe we've been talking about reducing class size but the opposite has happened.
Posted by jojo on June 13, 2011 at 2:43 PM · Report this

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