Washington Supreme Court Rejects Tax Ballot Objection As Untimely

The Washington Supreme Court held a taxpayer’s claim challenging the ballot title for a county property tax increase was not allowed because the claim was subject to the 10-day time limit on ballot objections.

The taxpayer argued that the ballot title lacked information required by former RCW 84.55.050, and its claim did not accrue until the county began to act inconsistently with the ballot title approved by the voters and assessed increased property taxes in the second year. The taxpayer asserted that its claim was an effort to enforce substantive limitations created by the wording of the ballot title as opposed to the language of the ordinance and not a ballot title objection to which the 10-day limit applied.

The Supreme Court rejected the taxpayer’s arguments and found that the legislature mandated that the ballot title challenges must be raised within 10 days of the public filing of that ballot title and resolved before the election. As the taxpayer’s claim was brought nearly four years after the ballot title was filed, the Supreme Court concluded that the taxpayer’s claim was untimely.

End Prison Industrial Complex v. King County, Washington Supreme Court, No. 95307-4, December 27, 2018, ¶204-424

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