Washington SC will hear challenge to tax-increase limits

Chris Rizo Apr. 21, 2008, 9:55pm

Sen. Lisa Brown

OLYMPIA, Wash. (Legal Newsline)-The Washington state Supreme Court will hear a legislator's challenge of voter-approved tax increase limits, an official said.

Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, D-Spokane, is challenging two initiatives that say tax increases need to muster supermajority approval from state lawmakers before they may be enacted.

Lawyers for the state had asked the case be dismissed. The high court's commissioner said Monday that the case may move forward.

Brown filed the lawsuit during this year's legislative session, after the upper house couldn't get the required two-thirds vote for a proposed 42-cent-per-liter surcharge on state liquor sales.

She argues the supermajority requirement enacted by voters last year is illegal since the rule goes against the simple majority threshold outlined in the state's constitution.

"I filed the constitutional challenge of this ruling not because I'm worried about the future of the state's budget, but because I'm worried about the future of our state constitution," Brown wrote in an op-ed last month.

In the Tacoma News-Tribune, she wrote that the economy "will always have its ups and downs," but the constitution should remain constant.

"It is the foundation on which all our laws must be built. Respect for the constitution should rise above partisan differences or the quest for rhetorical advantage," Brown said.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo by e-mail at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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