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Washington State News

Tim Eyman Court Victory Sets Back Five Capital Gains tax Initiatives

(The Center Square) – Anti-tax activist Tim Eyman’s legal maneuvering has succeeded in delaying efforts – including printing up petitions and gathering signatures – regarding five ballot initiatives that would make changes to Washington state’s code governing capital gains taxes.

Thurston County Superior Court Judge Indu Thomas sided with Eyman in a recent ruling against a request that all five cases be consolidated.

Eyman has filed five separate lawsuits claiming Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s ballot titles on Initiatives 1934, 1935, 1936, 1937, and 1938 ignore the law requiring neutral wording.

Seattle attorney Eric “Knoll” Lowney, sponsor of the five initiatives, responded to Eyman’s lawsuits with a lawsuit of his own claiming the ballot titles weren’t favorable enough.

When the Attorney General’s Office asked for one judge to decide all five cases, Eyman objected, necessitating a hearing before Judge Thomas in Thurston County Superior Court.

Before allowing consideration on consolidation, Thomas posed a threshold question regarding whether Lowney erred in filing one lawsuit as opposed to five individual lawsuits.

In court briefs on the threshold question, Lowney and the state argued for consolidating the cases on the grounds of precedent, while Eyman claimed Lowney and his legal team violated state law and local rules by not filing separate briefs.

“A consolidated petition is an improper method to appeal similar ballot titles,” Thomas said in the findings of fact and conclusion of law portion of her May 26 ruling. “Consolidation is the purview of the Court and not the parties.

“The fact that the Court has in the past permitted a party’s consolidation, does not in and of itself support the proposition that consolidation is the correct result in these cases or that a consolidated petition is appropriate under the statue.”

On that basis, Thomas denied the request for consolidation.

“IT IS ORDERED that the 5 initiatives shall be severed,” she said.

On his Permanent Offense website, Eyman hailed Thomas’ ruling as an important victory against what he called “5 liberal initiatives that try to raise the capital gains income tax EVEN HIGHER.”