Local legislators say that initiative sponsor Tim Eyman was wrong when he said recently that legislative Democrats had planned to ask Republicans to join them in voting to repeal one voter-approved initiative in exchange for Democrats’ joining Republicans in voting to repeal another.
Eyman, however, says that the denials had come after he had caught legislators in a scheme to trade away the initiative.
Eyman sent a message to supporters two weeks ago headlined “BETRAYAL: Democrats’ offer Republicans a deal: ‘Vote with us to repeal I-1366 and we’ll vote to repeal I-1351.’”
Initiative 1366, the Eyman-sponsored measure passed in the Nov. 3 general election, would reduce the state sales-tax rate unless legislators propose a constitutional amendment to require either a two-thirds vote of the legislature or a statewide popular vote to raise taxes. A proposed constitutional amendment would need a two-thirds vote of both the Senate and the House before going to a statewide ballot, where it would need a majority vote.
I-1351, passed a year earlier, would reduce class sizes in all public schools.
Democratic State Rep. Derek Stanford said Nov. 11 that he had asked several members and legislative leaders about such a deal, and no one has any idea what Eyman is talking about.
State Rep. Cindy Ryu, the House Democratic majority whip, said that Eyman had made up the idea of a proposed deal.
Democratic State Rep. Ruth Kagi, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, agreed, saying, “He is totally making it up. It’s unbelievable.”
The legislature can repeal or amend an initiative with two-thirds votes of both the Senate and the House during the first two years after voters pass the measure; changes after two years require a simple majority. Democrats hold a slim majority in the House; Republicans have a slim majority in the Senate.
Eyman had this response last week: “Since the election, we were hearing about it nonstop from electeds, staffers, and lobbyists. Once we outed them and spotlighted their scheme to horse-trade away our initiative, they’re now denying it.” He added, “Sunshine is the best disinfectant.”
Stanford represents Mountlake Terrace, Brier, Bothell and the rest of the 1st Legislative District. Kagi and Ryu represent Lynnwood, Woodway, south Edmonds, Shoreline and the rest of the 32nd Legislative District.
The most recent statewide count from the Nov. 3 election shows I-1351 passing by a 51.5 percent to 48.5 percent margin. Elections officials plan to post updated returns Monday before final certification of results Tuesday.
Evan Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.