I’m suing the Attorney General — let me tell you about “Eyman v Ferguson”
Yes, the priority is $30 Tabs Initiative I-947. Send me an email RIGHT NOW and tell me how many petitions you want. I’ll get ’em to ya. Gotta keep this tremendous momentum going.
As for this new lawsuit, I’m handling it “pro se” which means I will serve as my own lawyer in the case (I’ll be binge-watching Perry Mason and Law & Order reruns to prep). Why am I doing it myself? Because my legal services are billed at $0 per hour.
It’s a very simple case. In 2007, voters passed one of our taxpayer protection initiatives. Initiative 960 included a requirement saying that any time the Legislature raises a tax and blocks it from a public vote (by including an emergency clause, for example), an advisory vote must appear on the following November ballot. Tax advisory votes give the taxpayers the opportunity to find out which taxes got increased, how much they’re gonna cost, and the voters pamphlet lists how legislators voted on each tax increase. And the people get to vote on each one.
Why am I suing the Attorney General? The law we wrote which voters passed said that if a bill contains more than one tax increase, there will be a tax advisory vote on each one:
RCW 43.135.041(1)(b): “If legislative action raising taxes enacted after July 1, 2011, involves more than one revenue source, each tax being increased shall be subject to a separate measure for an advisory vote of the people under the requirements of this chapter.”
One of the bills the Legislature passed and Inslee signed this year included 3 different tax increases in it. Nonetheless, the Attorney General decided that these 3 taxes were all excise taxes and therefore there was just one tax increase and therefore there will only be one tax advisory vote, not 3 separate ones. I pointed them to the clear language of the statute, asked the AG to reconsider, and was rebuffed.
The Attorney General is clearly not following the law.
So I decided to handle the case myself. Last Friday, I filed a Petition for Declaratory Judgment in Thurston County Superior Court. It asks the judge to declare the bill contains 3 tax increases, not one.
From the lawsuit: “Under the Attorney General’s interpretation, a legislative bill could contain 10, 20, or more individual and unrelated excise taxes under Title 82 but result in only one tax advisory vote. This would make subsection (b) of RCW 43.135.041(1) a nullity. The language of subsection (b) was included to ensure that the voters would get the chance to vote on each tax increase contained in a bill. In this case, voters should be able to express their opinion on the new tax on bottled water, the new tax on self-produced fuels, and the new tax on internet sales. … Each tax that was increased in EHB 2163 affects different taxpayers and the voters deserve the chance to vote on each one which, in turn, allows legislators to gauge the public’s support for (or opposition to) each one. It is a de minimus expense especially considering that the tax increases imposed by the Legislature this year will cost the taxpayers $13.5 billion over the next 10 years.”
Tomorrow at 9 am, I go before Judge Lanese to ask him to sign an order to schedule a hearing. So that will be my debut in this case. I’m nervous and excited at the same time. The Secretary of State says that if this matter is not resolved by September 1st, then it will cause substantial delays in the printing of ballots and voters pamphlets.
From the lawsuit: “The voters want to be able to vote on each tax that was increased by the Legislature.”
That’s what Eyman v Ferguson, case #17-2-04477-34 is all about.
Wish me luck.
As for the $30 Tabs Initiative, we have 5 months left to collect the needed signatures. It’s going like gangbusters, but we need everyone to do their part. Send me an email and let me know how many petitions you want, your address, and your phone number. I will find an Office Depot, Staples, Minuteman Press, or Kinko’s near you, order the petitions for you, and all you need to do is pick them up. It is a petition distribution revolution that more and more supporters are taking advantage of.