OLYMPIA (AP) — Initiative promoter Tim Eyman proposed a new ballot measure Monday that would cut billions of dollars from the state budget unless the Legislature moves forward with a constitutional amendment that would make it harder for lawmakers to raise taxes.
The proposal would reduce the state sales tax from 6.5 percent to 5.5 percent, The Seattle Times reported. That would cost the state about $1 billion a year in lost revenue.
Under the measure, the tax cut could be avoided if the Legislature advances to the ballot a constitutional amendment that would require a two-thirds vote to approve new taxes.
The measure is in response to a state Supreme Court ruling last year that found requiring a two-thirds vote in the Legislature to raise taxes is unconstitutional. The court said a constitutional amendment would be needed to put in place such a restriction.
Eyman successfully sponsored measures to keep the two-thirds requirement on the books, until the Supreme Court ruling.
Democrats, who are not supportive of such a constitutional amendment, control the House and the governor’s office. Changing the state constitution requires a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate, and simple-majority approval by voters.
Eyman needs to collect at least 246,372 valid voter signatures to qualify the measure for the November ballot.