Earlier today in Olympia, Tim Eyman made his annual appearance at the Secretary of State’s Elections Division (as usual, accompanied by Jack and Mike Fagan) to turn in signatures for his latest initiative, made possible by more than a million dollars in contributions from some of the world’s most powerful corporations. The list includes BP, Shell, ConocoPhillips, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Dr Pepper Snapple Group (through the American Beverage Association), Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors, Crown Imports, and Heineken USA (through the Beer Institute).
Initiative 1185 is a clone of Initiative 1053, sponsored by Eyman two years ago and backed by many of the aforementioned corporations. It would sabotage our plan of government by allowing one-third of either house of the Legislature to decide the fate of any bill seeking to raise revenue for Washington’s common wealth. I-1053 was itself a clone of I-960 (from 2007), which was based on I-601 (from 1993).
“Initiative 1185, like its predecessors, is a serious threat to the health of our democracy,” said NPI founder Andrew Villeneuve. “Our republic is built on the idea of majority rule with minority rights. Our Constitution explicitly sets the standard for passage of legislation as a majority vote – an interpretation recently affirmed by King County Superior Court Judge Bruce Heller, who concluded that I-1053, I-1185’s predecessor, is unconstitutional on multiple grounds.”
“I-1185 is an illegitimate attempt to amend Article II, Section 22 of our state’s Constitution, which says that a majority vote is the threshold for determining the fate of a bill. I-1185 tries to undemocratically require a higher standard of two-thirds for some bills – specifically, any bills that would raise revenue to fund vital public services like our schools and universities,” Villeneuve added.
“I-1185 is purposely intended to create gridlock in our statehouse, so that a small group of reactionary legislators can wield veto power over important decisions about our state’s budget. That’s wrong.”
“We urge Washingtonians to join us this fall in taking a stand against unchecked corporate greed by voting NO on Initiative 1185.”
“The only reason this measure is going to be on our ballot is because nine corporations and corporate fronts collectively shelled out more than a million dollars to hire mercenary petitioners to collect signatures. They’re betting that they can trick the people of Washington into approving this scheme to shield their tax breaks and tax loopholes from possible repeal. They’ve made it clear they are unwilling to pay their fair share in membership dues to our state, while at the same time disingenuously calling on our state’s leaders to strengthen investment in our schools, universities, roads, and bridges.”
“Here’s what the people of Washington need to know: We can only afford to keep our pubic services strong if we all pitch in, pay our fair share, and work to make our tax system fairer and more equitable. Unfortunately, that’s the last thing these corporations want. We’ve seen their true colors – they’re cheaters who want to rig the system for their own advantage. And they must be stopped.”
Throughout the rest of the summer and into the autumn, NPI’s Permanent Defense will be working with other concerned Washingtonians to build a strong coalition to oppose I-1185 and educate voters as to its true cost and consequences.
An updated list of the top ten contributors to Initiative 1185 is available at Permanent Defense’s Eye on Money page.
The chart shows that the top nine contributors are responsible for a whopping 93% of the total (estimated to be $1,131,704). All of the other contributors – combined – are responsible for only 7%. These figures make it plainly clear that this initiative was bought and paid for by powerful interests, including some of the world’s biggest and most profitable companies.
Who are the top nine?
- Beer Institute: $400,000
- BP: $100,000
- ConocoPhillips: $100,000
- Tesoro: $100,000
- Equilon/Shell: $100,000
- American Beverage Association: $100,000
- WA Beer & Wine Distributors: $100,000
- WA Realtors: $25,000
- WA Restaurant Association: $25,000
- Everyone Else (multiple entities): $81,703.95
FOR MORE: See State Representative Reuven Carlyle’s blog post about I-1185, The painful irony of using majority rule to eliminate majority rule.