King Co. cities file suit against tax rollback measure

Herald staff

SEATTLE — Seattle and several other cities filed a second lawsuit on Monday seeking to stop Initiative 722 from taking effect.

The lawsuit, similar to one filed in Thurston County last week, argues that I-722 is unconstitutional and asks the court to stop it from taking effect.

I-722 rolls back some 1999 tax increases and limits property tax growth. It passed last week with 56 percent of the vote.

The initiative is Mukilteo activist Tim Eyman’s follow-up to last year’s tax-cutting I-695, which was recently declared unconstitutional by the Washington State Supreme Court.

The cities of Seattle, Burien, Carnation, Des Moines and Newcastle are plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed in King County Superior Court on Monday.

  • I-729 declared dead: A charter-school initiative on last week’s general-election ballot has been defeated. The vote on I-729 was too close to call initially after ballots were counted from the Nov. 7 election, but absentee ballots have since increased the margin between those opposed to the initiative and those supporting it to more than 77,000 votes among some 2 million counted to date.

  • Former Pike Place Market worker charged in theft: King County prosecutors have filed felony theft charges against a longtime Pike Place Market employee accused of embezzling money from vendors at the popular market. Millie Padua, 72, was "Market Master" and collected money from farmers and craft vendors who rented stalls at the market from October 1974 until she was fired in 1998. A recent audit showed $174,000 missing over a three-year period from 1996 through 1998. Padua has been charged with first-degree theft by embezzlement.

  • Democrat defection averted: After a week of soul-searching, maverick state Sen. Tim Sheldon said Monday he will stick with the Democratic Party, which is hanging onto a one-vote majority as election returns roll in. Sheldon, a conservative Democrat from the Mason County town of Potlatch, said last week that he was considering switching allegiance to the Republicans, which would have given the GOP a one-vote majority, or becoming an Independent, which would have left the parties in a tie. But Sheldon decided to stay put after a meeting of Senate Democrats on Sunday.

  • Inmates locked down: Protests against overcrowding and a spate of minor fires have led to a lockdown of 93 inmates at a federal maximum-security prison in the Fraser Valley town of Agassiz. Kent Institution spokesman Dennis Finlay said Sunday the protective custody inmates will remain locked in three units of the prison, about 75 miles east of Vancouver, until at least today.

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