While everyone is focused on the House Democrats’ lawsuit challenging the 18 year-old voter-approved supermajority requirement for tax increases, a new lawsuit filed today could be the one that actually forces the Supreme Court to finally rule on this issue. As reported by The Tacoma News Tribune:

“The roll-your-own tobacco industry said this morning that they are filing a lawsuit against a measure that would tax their product like retail cigarettes.

Roll-your-own machines let customers produce a carton of cigarettes for about half the cost of what they’d pay for those sold at retail stores. A law passed earlier this year would begin taxing these cigarettes like retail smokes, as of July 1.

The group filing the lawsuit argues that this ‘raises taxes,’ and therefore should have required a 2/3 vote to pass, due to Initiative 1053.”

The fact that this a taxpayer suing about a potential violation of the 2/3 requirement means that as this case moves through the appeal process the issue of “standing” will not be a problem for the Supreme Court to weigh the merits. Some have speculated that despite the recent King County Superior Court ruling against the 2/3 requirement the Supreme Court might toss the verdict on the basis of lawmakers not having addressed the problem with having standing to challenge the voter-approved law.

There is of course a better alternative to leaving 18 years of state policy and repeated voter support of the requirement to secure a supermajority vote to raise taxes in the hands of Judges: Lawmakers providing voters the opportunity to consider a constitutional amendment.

Besides the will of voters, what is there to be scared of?


[Reprinted with permission from the Washington Policy Center blog; featured photo credit: tropical.pete]