Tacoma Water v. State

In Tacoma Water v. State, No. 00-2-00049-9 (filed in Thurston County Dec. 17, 1999, transferred to King County), Tacoma Water (a division of Tacoma's Department of Public Utilities), Covington Water District, Lakehaven Utility District, Seattle Public Utilities (a Seattle city department), and individual E.E. (Ted) Coates (an individual voter paying rates and taxes) sought a declaratory judgment that the voter approval requirements of section 2 of I-695 do not apply to water rates or other utility charges (including charges for goods, services, or benefits provided in exchange for monetary or other consideration), to local improvement assessments, to connection or capacity charges, or to intergovernmental and intragovernmental payments and charges. They also sought a declaratory judgment that I-695 violates article II, sections 1, 21, and 22 (referendum procedures and procedures for enactment of laws); article II, section 19's requirements of a single subject and the subject in the title; article II, section 37's requirement that amended or revised acts be set forth in full; article VII, section 1's prohibition against surrendering, suspending or contracting away taxing power; article VIII, section 7's prohibition against unlawful gifts of public funds (insofar as I-695 would limit charges to less than fair market value); article XI, section 12 (local taxing authority); and article XXIII (procedures for amending the constitution).