Thursday, May 26, 2016

Washington State Supreme Court Rules

By unanimous vote, the Supreme Court has ruled Tim Eymann's initiative unconstitutional.  The initiative had two parts - reducing the sales tax and imposing a two-thirds vote by the legislature to raise taxes. It also may have had a back-door effect which the justices shut down, from KOMO news:

Three of the justices, writing in a separate concurrence opinion, wrote that they believed that the initiative also violated the constitution in another way: by essentially proposing a constitutional amendment - which can't be done by initiative in Washington state.
My understanding is that this ruling may head off the levy cliff that threatened the funding for many district's including Seattle Schools.  I got this point wrong. This ruling has nothing to do with the levy cliff.

The Court's ruling here.  And, by the way, a HUGE shout-out to the wonderful kick-ass Washington League of Women Voters who are true public education champions.  They have put themselves out there time after time.

11 comments:

Watching said...

"My understanding is that this ruling may head off the levy cliff that threatened the funding for many district's including Seattle Schools."

Hi Melissa,

I've seen this comment in another forum. Are you able to explain the manner in which the court's ruling impacts the levy cliff? Thanks in advance.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Watching, I actually took that from another place but my understanding is that the reduction in the sales tax is where that would come into play. I am trying to get clarity on this.

Anonymous said...

Levy cliff is restricting the amount of money a bureaucracy can cease from property owners. Progressives want unlimited taxing authority.

How it works, A decides what C needs, then A and C get together to figure out how to make B pay for it.

This is what the League of women voters (A) is all about. There are several problems facing A. One, there are far fewer Bs and two, the Bs that are still hanging on are starting to fight back.

FULL STOP

Anonymous said...


FULL STOP,
I can't really make sense of what you're trying to say. The League of Women Voters has no authority to decide what "C" needs. The League is a party to McCleary which is about the state fully funding education, rather than the local taxpayers, as the Constitution states.

The Levy Cliff is about Legislation that reduces the levy lid from 28% to 24% in 2018.
It has nothing to do with this initiative or the sales tax.

Catherine

Anonymous said...

OK, so where do you think the State will get the money for your pet project? Yes, from the tax payers and what is the most favored type of taxes? Property taxes, why? That's easy, because you can't move real estate out of is taxation status or jurisdiction. You can choose not to spend money or you can choose not to have a car, but you can't choose not to pay your property taxes. I suppose you could choose to live in one of the Seattle housing authority rentals and if things keep going the way they are, that's where most people might end up living. So the local taxing authority will jack up the % like you pointed out and in collusion with the progressives simply hand a % over to the State.

Now think about it. if the poorer districts had the money then all this would be moot, but they don't and most likely will never have enough local taxes to support the progressive's educational agenda. So that leaves all of us in wealthier taxation districts to put up the tab.

I feel for poor districts, but Seattle school district is not poor by anyone's measure! I would warn the State not to think they can just keep robbing King County to pay for other districts problems. As someone said in the other comment, C is mad as hell and not going to take it any longer.

With C

Melissa Westbrook said...

So Catherine, it is wrong to say this ruling has anything to do with the levy cliff?

What's a progressive's educational agenda? I'd love to know.

Anonymous said...

"What's a progressive's educational agenda? I'd love to know."

I think one of the directors summed it up, in a recent letter to Nyland.

To paraphrase, progressive agenda goals are distracting our schools students from learning by spending valuable resources on unproven programs that assume one group is more disadvantaged than another when it comes to being educated. These programs are usually pushed on the district due to one groups subjective findings or feelings over facts. These programs in no particular order are,

anything that has equity appended to it
social justice initiatives
Sensitivity programs
Multi cultural programs

In contrast, the district actions or lack of when it come to advanced learning is particularly troubling, please understand there's nothing wrong with the above programs as long as SPS is not prioritizing anyone of them above having the best curriculum and highly capable teachers. There's no proof that SPS can social engineer students into performing better using these programs, however I don't think many would disagree of the effectiveness of good teachers using proven curriculum and being allowed to teach it over feel good programs.

With C

Watching said...

The manner in which sales tax impacts the levy cliff and property taxes remains a mystery to me.

Anonymous said...

With C, when you say "OK, so where do you think the State will get the money for your pet project?" what do you mean by 'pet project'? Do you mean fully funding the public schools? Or do you mean something else?

-Mark

Melissa Westbrook said...

Watching, I will correct my post; turns out where I saw it first now says she got it wrong.

Anonymous said...

Really happy to read this opinion. Question - I get why the sponsors of 1366 were trying to defend its constitutionality, but why was the State? Does the state have to defend all voter initiatives, even clearly unconstitutional ones?

confused