OLYMPIA — A dozen Democratic lawmakers, including Rep. Jim Moeller of Vancouver, and two Washington education groups asked a judge Monday to overturn a voter-approved initiative that requires the Legislature to have a supermajority to raise taxes.
The lawsuit filed in King County, led by the League of Education Voters and the Washington Education Association, argues that the law unconstitutionally infringes on the power of the Legislature to pass laws and prevents the state from fulfilling its constitutional obligations to adequately fund education.
“The reality is that we’re stuck in an all-cuts mode, where services we know are good investments to the state don’t get funded,” said Rep. Jamie Pedersen, D-Seattle, one of the dozen House Democrats backing the lawsuit.
The two-thirds majority rule was part of a Tim Eyman initiative that 64 percent of voters approved last year. Democratic leaders could not get Republicans to support any tax increases this year, forcing lawmakers to balance the budget with heavy cuts to education.
Pederson said he doesn’t expect any broad tax increases if the measure is successful. But he argued that the Legislature needs the ability to at least repeal tax exemptions, such as one for banks.