Eyman's anti-tax measure leads in initial returns; endangered species measure passes

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Tim Eyman's anti-tax Initiative 1366 took a lead in early election returns Tuesday night. The measure would decrease the 6.5-percent state sales tax to 5.5 percent unless the Legislature approves a constitutional amendment before April 15 that voters would weigh in on later next year.

Currently, taxes can be raised through a simple-majority vote of the Legislature.

Eyman's I-1366 was leading 54-46% after Tuesday's results were announced.

The state Office of Financial Management has estimated that the measure would reduce revenue to the state budget by $8 billion through the middle of 2021, if its tax-cut element becomes law.

Previous voter-approved initiatives sponsored by I-1366 sponsor Eyman required a supermajority vote on taxes, but the state Supreme Court struck that requirement down in 2013, saying it was unconstitutional.


Meanwhile, Washington voters passed a ballot measure (71-29%) that would outlaw sales of items ranging from lion skins to elephant ivory.

The first batch of election results Tuesday night showed Initiative 1401 with an overwhelming lead in early returns across the state. The measure would ban the purchase, sale and distribution of parts or products made from 10 endangered animals. They include lions, elephants, rhinos, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, marine turtles, pangolins, sharks and rays.

Offenders could face a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Critics have argued the measure will do little to help reduce poaching. But supporters say Washington can serve as a model for other states.


In the most-watched state House race, early voter returns showed Republican challenger Teri Hickel leading Democrat Carol Gregory in the 30th Legislative District covering parts of King and Pierce counties.

If Hickel holds the lead from the initial round of returns Tuesday, the Democrats' slight majority in the House will slip to two seats with all House seats up for election next year.

Gregory, of Federal Way, was appointed to the seat in January following the death of Roger Freeman. The contest winner will serve the remaining year of Freeman's term.

Republican Rep. Mary Dye took a commanding early lead in preliminary returns against Republican challenger Richard Lathim in the Eastern Washington's 9th Legislative District in the only other state legislative race.