I-976 Ruled Unconstitutional – AG Bob Ferguson Blames Tim Eyman
So much for $30 car tabs, endorsed by 53% of Washington residents, although interestingly, 76% of King County residents voted AGAINST it during the 2016 election, as Initiative 976 was struck down as unconstitutional today and Washington's Attorney General Bob Ferguson is laying the blame for the rejection by the Washington State Supreme Court squarely on the shoulders of the initiative's author, Tim Eyman.
Every Eyman initiative to face legal scrutiny has been struck down or partially blocked according to the prologue in an official statement released by the state's Office of the Attorney General.
Here's the full post from Washington AG Bob Ferguson:
“I’m proud of my legal team, who worked long hours to defend the will of the voters, arguing successfully at the trial court that Initiative 976 was constitutional.
“To be candid, we knew this would be a difficult case. I-976 is the latest in a long list of Eyman tax initiatives struck down by the courts. In fact, Tim Eyman has never written a successful tax initiative that passed legal muster. Every one of his tax initiatives has been thrown out or partially blocked by the courts.
“Tim Eyman will, of course, do what he has done throughout this case — blame everyone but himself. He will again blame my outstanding legal team, even though the Supreme Court allowed interveners to present Eyman’s arguments. He will again blame my office for language in the ballot title that he specifically requested to be included in the title, and that was pulled word-for-word from his initiative. He should look in the mirror and apologize to voters for once again sending them an initiative that failed to survive a legal challenge and deliver on its promises.”
The Court claimed the Initiative attempted to "tackle" multiple topics or issues instead of the legally mandated "single subject," this clarification has been hotly debated in other initiatives as well.
The Court also ruled the ballot title was inaccurate. The Court, in using the "single subject" rule, pointed to what other changes the Initiative would have made:
- Repealing of a state statute that allows the imposition of a vehicle fee for a Transportation Benefit District
- Repealing of the local option motor vehicle excise tax for passenger-only ferry service
- Repealing of motor vehicle weight fees
- Repealing of motor home weight fees