Court’s Ruling Is Widely Condemned

Published February 1, 2008

The Washington Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling to overturn ballot measure I-747 brought nearly universal condemnation in Washington State.

The court majority ruled voters were misled when they enacted the 1 percent cap on property taxes in I-747.

“The Voters’ Pamphlet was ambiguous as to whether the effect of I-747 would generally lower the property tax levy limit by 1 percent or by 5 percent,” wrote Justice Bobbe Bridge for the justices in the majority.

The four dissenting judges, however, took issue with the majority’s condescending treatment of voters.

“No reasonable argument can be sustained that voters were in any way misled or confused by the effect of I-747, which expressly and was specifically aimed at lowering the tax growth to 1 percent,” said dissenting Justice Charles Johnson.

“The majority seems to suggest that the voters are unable to think or read for themselves,” Johnson continued, “when in fact our democratic process is based on the assumption that voters do in fact read and understand the impact of their votes.”

Jason Mercier