(The Center Square) – The plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the Washington Legislature’s 2022 transportation package containing higher taxes and fees are asking the State Supreme Court to hear the case.
The lawsuit initially filed in July argues that the 2022 package violates the state Constitution’s provision regarding single-subject bills and titles for those bills. Under Article 2 Section 19, the constitution stipulates that “no bill shall embrace more than one subject, and that shall be expressed in the title.”
Titled “Transportation Resources – Various Provisions,” Senate Bill 5974 contained numerous new fund accounts along with increased fees and taxes to the tune of $500 million. Through outside council, the Citizen Action Defense Fund’s lawsuit claims this violates the spirit of the constitutional restriction.
However, in a Sept. 23 ruling, Thurston County Superior Judge Mary Sue Wilson upheld the 2022 law, citing prior court rulings that set precedent for the constitutional provision in which it should be “liberally construed in favor of the legislation.” Further, legal precedent also stipulates a “heavy burden of establishing that the law is unconstitutional beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Rather than have the case heard by the Court of Appeals, CADF is requesting the State Supreme Court review it, instead. The Statement of Grounds filed by CADF argues that the Sept. 23 decision is “inconsistent” with the state Constitution. Additionally, the organization stressed the importance of the case for taxpayers.
“The reversal of ESSB 5974 would help the taxpayers of our state by ensuring they are not paying astronomically high gas prices and driver’s license fees, which are particularly important given recent economic uncertainty in our state and high inflation rates in our country,” CADF Executive Director Jackson Maynard said in a statement. “With billions of dollars and the authority of state agencies to engage in rulemaking on incredibly harmful and unpopular programs at stake, it is difficult to imagine a case that presents a more important matter for the State Supreme Court to review.”
The actual plaintiffs in the case are Tracy Doriot, a state resident and the founder and managing Partner of Doriot Construction, and Oak Harbor Freight.