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Abstract

The composition and actions of the un-elected Seattle Monorail Project (SMP) Board raise the question of whether the Washington State Constitution permits the legislature to delegate its taxing power to municipal corporations governed by unelected boards. Stated differently, the SMP Board and its actions present the question of whether the Washington State Constitution requires that local taxes be imposed only by officials who are elected by, and accountable to, the electorate burdened by the tax. While Washington's Constitution, political structures, and legal doctrine are designed to prevent "taxation without representation," the recent case of Granite Falls Library Facility Area v. Taxpayers of Granite Falls has blurred the contours of these safeguards. This Article analyzes whether the legislature has unconstitutionally permitted "taxation without representation" by delegating its legislative taxing power to the SMP. It argues that the Washington State Constitution permits the delegation of the taxing power to municipal corporations only when the legislative organs of those entities are directly elected by or otherwise accountable to the tax burdened electorate. Further, it argues that, because the SMP fulfills neither of these requirements, it is constitutionally unable to levy the MVET.