The conservative Association of Washington Business and the Washington Policy Center, for the first time ever, are asking candidates in this year's elections whether they believe the law requiring two thirds of the state legislature to pass a tax increase should be enshrined in the state constitution. Tim Eyman's initiative upholding the two-thirds law, I-1185, is on the ballot in November.

Meanwhile, the state supreme court is preparing to take arguments on the constitutionality of the two-thirds requirement---one reason, opponents of the two-thirds requirement say, they might be eager to have it enshrined in the state constitution.

Opponents of the two-thirds rule say the survey question implies that the AWB and WPC acknowledge that the rule is unconstitutional--that is, that the rule violates the constitutional mandate that laws must be passed by a simple-majority vote.

"It's an extraordinary admission: They're acknowledging that the constitutional argument is valid," says state Rep. Reuven Carlyle (D-36), an I-1185 opponent. "They are acknowledging the strength of our argument, that this is fundamentally a constitutional question---that the people do have a right to change their constitution and institute a supermajority requirement, but they have to go through the process of amending the state constitution first."

AWB government affairs director Amber Carter tells PubliCola, "As an organization, we have vigorously defended the soundness and constitutional validity of the 2/3 supermajority requirement to increase taxes.  We are also asking candidates whether they would support settling the debate once and for all by making the requirement part of the state constitution.  These two actions are in no way incompatible.”
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