Washington Two-Thirds Vote Required to Raise Taxes, Initiative 1185 (2012)

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Initiative 1185
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Type:Initiative to the People
Referred by:Tim Eyman (spearheaded)
The Save the 2/3 Vote for Tax Increases (Again) Act Initiative 1185, was on the November 6, 2012 statewide ballot in Washington as an Initiative from the People, where it was approved but later overturned. According to reports, this measure was similar to Initiative 1053, which was under legal challenge.[1] On May 30, 2012 King County Superior Court Judge Bruce Heller ruled that the two-thirds vote requirement for the Washington State Legislature to raise revenue under I-1053 was unconstitutional.[2] The issue was to be ultimately be decided by the Washington State Supreme Court.

The proposed measure required either two-thirds legislative approval or a vote by the people in order to raise taxes. Therefore, a one third minority of legislators in either House of the Washington State Legislature could prevent the passage of any measure to raise revenue or repeal existing tax exemptions. The measure defined repealing a tax exemption as raising revenue. It only took a simple majority to pass a tax exemption but under the proposal, a two thirds majority of both houses of the legislature was required to repeal it.[3][4]


See also: League of Education Voters v. Washington State

On February 28, 2013, the Washington Supreme Court issued its ruling on League of Educ. Voters v. State and, in doing so, declared legislation requiring a supermajority vote for tax legislation unconstitutional. The challenge was initially filed against Initiative 1053, but is part of a larger issue concerning similar initiatives beginning in 1993 with Initiative 601.

The court found such supermajority requirements to be in violation of Washington Constitution, Article II, Section 22, which states that no bill shall become law unless a majority of each chamber votes in favor of it. The court's ruling concludes with,

Our holding today is not a judgment on the wisdom of requiring a supermajority for the passage of tax legislation. Such judgment is left to the legislative branch of our government. Should the people and the legislature still wish to require a supermajority vote for tax legislation, they must do so through constitutional amendment, not through legislation.


Washington Supreme Court

Election results

See also: 2012 ballot measure election results

The following are official election results:

Washington Initiative 1185
OverturnedotOverturned Case:League of Educ. Voters v. State 87425-5 (2013)
Yes 1,892,969 63.9%

Election results via Washington Secretary of State's website.

Text of the measure


The summary of the measure reads as follows:

AN ACT Relating to taxes and fees imposed by state government; amending RCW 43.135.034, 43.135.055, 43.135.031, and 43.135.041; creating new sections; and repealing 2010 c 4 s 2.[8]


  • The main campaign in support of the measure was Yes on 1185


  • The main campaign in opposition of the measure was No on 1185

Path to the ballot

See also: Washington signature requirements

In order to qualify for the November ballot, supporters were required to submit a minimum of 241,153 valid signatures by July 6, 2012.

It was reported on July 6, 2012, that supporters of the measure had turned in signatures by the deadline.[9]

Similar measures

See also

Suggest a link

External links

Additional reading