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Originally published Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 2:45 PM

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Reaction to ruling on supermajority tax votes

State officials and other react to a Washington state Supreme Court ruling striking down a requirement for a two-thirds majority vote in the Legislature to increase taxes.

The Associated Press

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OLYMPIA, Wash. —

State officials and other react to a Washington state Supreme Court ruling striking down a requirement for a two-thirds majority vote in the Legislature to increase taxes.

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"The supermajority requirement gave a legislative minority the power to squelch ideas even when those ideas had majority support. That is inconsistent with our fundamental form of representative democracy." - Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee.

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"The court can rule the way the court decides to rule, but our caucus will stand with the people of this state." -Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler of Ritzville.

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"We must continue to be responsible stewards of tax dollars and do more with less, but when revenue options do come up for a vote, today's ruling means that the elected representatives of the people will be able to hold a fair vote in which every legislator's vote counts equally." -Sen. David Frockt, D-Seattle and one of the plaintiffs in the case.

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"If citizens have wondered why the Majority Coalition Caucus is so important, this is why; today's decision underlies the need for our emphasis on reforms and spending restraint." -Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom, D-Medina.

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"Today the court made clear that our constitution cannot be amended by the initiative process." -Rep. Chris Reykdal, D-Tacoma.

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"The state Supreme Court's decision today is a disappointment and sends voters a clear message: your opinion doesn't matter when it comes to tax decisions in Washington state. That's a sharp rebuke of the voting public." -Don Brunell, president of the Association of Washington Business.

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"The state is in a significant budget crisis, and the state has serious obligations with funding education. The result of this ruling is that it gives the Legislature their full set of tools to deal with those issues. Specifically how it will play, we can't see, but the Legislature has the full set of options available to them." -Paul Lawrence, attorney who represented the plaintiffs in the lawsuit to overturn the supermajority rule.

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"While today's ruling impacts the law of the land, it doesn't change the will of the people." -Rep. Gary Alexander, R-Olympia and budget leader for House Republicans.

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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." -Justice Susan Owens, writing for the majority.

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If the history of this great state can teach us anything, it is this: the power of the people will prevail. If the legislature passes a tax the people oppose, the people will find a way to repeal it." -Justice Jim Johnson, in his dissent.

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"This decision ends the tyranny of the minority that the Washington State Legislature has endured for the last several years. Now legislators can do their job and approve revenue or remove tax exemptions when they deem it necessary to do so. Finally, common sense, justice and the law are lined up." - Jeff Johnson, president of the Washington State Labor Council.

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"I'm as passionately in favor of this policy today as I ever was. I know based on a lot of experience that the voters feel that way too." - Anti-tax initiative promoter Tim Eyman, speaking to reporters in front of the Capitol.

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