Eyman has a Plan B, and it’s another ballot measure — for 2016

OLYMPIA — Tim Eyman is preparing another tax-limiting ballot measure for 2016 in case Initiative 1366 is tossed out by judges or ignored by lawmakers.

Eyman, a Mukilteo resident, announced Tuesday he’s drawing up a measure limiting the duration of tax increases not approved by either a super majority of the Legislature, or by voters.

As written, tax hikes approved by a simple majority of lawmakers would expire after one year and need to be approved to keep them in effect. Only those taxes passed by a two-thirds majority or the voters could remain in force longer than a year, Eyman explained.

“This is another way to implement that tougher-to-raise-taxes policy” that voters consistently say they want, Eyman said.

The proposal will be filed Wednesday with the Secretary of State’s Office, he said.

He described it as a “back-up plan” and “insurance policy” in case Initiative 1366 is waylaid by the legal or legislative process.

The measure received 51.5 percent of the vote in the Nov. 3 election. Voters approved it in 35 of the state’s 39 counties, including Snohomish and Island counties.

It requires the state sales tax be reduced by a penny unless the Legislature puts a constitutional amendment on the November 2016 ballot requiring new taxes be approved by a two-thirds majority of lawmakers or voters.

Opponents contend the initiative is unconstitutional and vow to press their case to the state Supreme Court.

“We’re going to get this train running down the track,” Eyman said of his new idea. Lawmakers “can stop it if they put a constitutional amendment on the ballot.”

Unsurprisingly, the proposal drew sharp criticism from the leader of the state’s largest organization of political progressives.

“Having a vote every year on whether or not we should fund our schools and bridges is a terrible idea,” wrote Aaron Ostrom, executive director of Fuse Washington in an email.

“He’s looking once again to make more money for himself at the expense of the rest of us. It’s yet another proposal that protects the wealthy and special interests by making it almost impossible to change our existing upside down tax system,” wrote Ostrom, whose group played a leading role in the campaign against Initiative 1366.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@heraldnet.com.

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