Tim Eyman’s Failure Chart

People are often surprised to discover that Tim Eyman’s record includes almost no successes (despite his outlandish claims) but is instead filled with failures and defeats chalked up over the last decade.

The following chart accurately portrays his actual record. Now, we could have included in this survey the dozens upon dozens of failed initiatives that Tim has filed but never actually attempted to qualify for the ballot, but we decided to be generous and only include the initiatives that Tim has actually put money and resources into.

We also could have thrown in 2005′s failed I-912, which Tim backed and strongly endorsed, but we generously left that out as well.

The criteria for determining whether an initiative was a success is as follows:

  1. Did the initiative pass and survive any legal challenges? Does it remain in effect?
  2. Did the initiative accomplish its main intent as stated by Eyman?

So, two very simple, straightforward requirements made up the litmus test. And based on that test, here is the chart showing Eyman’s record:

Measure Year Subject and Synopsis Outcome
Initiative 695 1999
  • Would have gutted the state motor vehicle excise tax and required voter approval for all tax increases
  • Passed by voters, but ultimately declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court after a legal challenge.
FAILURE
Initiative 722 2000
  • Would have cut state and local property taxes, which fund public services
  • Passed by voters, but ultimately declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court after a legal challenge
FAILURE
Initiative 745 2000
  • Would have required ninety percent of state transportation funding to be spent only on roads
  • Overwhelmingly defeated by voters
FAILURE
Initiative 747 2001
  • Placed a draconian limit on property taxes, hurting cities and counties’ ability to provide public services
  • Passed by voters, but ultimately declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court after a legal challenge
FAILURE
Initiative 776 2002
  • Gutted local motor vehicle excise taxes in four counties, attempted to destroy Sound Transit’s light rail system
  • Passed by voters, survived a legal challenge, but failed to eliminate funding for Sound Transit’s Central Link light rail line, which opened in 2009 to strong ridership
FAILURE
Initiative 267 2002
  • Tried to divert money out of the general fund for road building
  • Failed to qualify for the ballot
FAILURE
Initiative 807 2003
  • Would have undemocratically required two-thirds votes of the state House and Senate for all revenue increases
  • Failed to qualify for the ballot
FAILURE
Initiative 864 2004
  • Would have slashed property taxes by a whopping twenty five percent, destroying funding for public services
  • Failed to qualify for the ballot
FAILURE
Initiative 892 2004
  • Would have legalized electronic slot machines in every Washington State neighborhood
  • Overwhelmingly defeated by voters
FAILURE
Initiative 900 2005
  • Gave the state auditor extensive new powers, funding for performance audits
  • Approved by voters. No legal challenge has been filed to date.
SUCCESS
Referendum 65 2006
  • Would have repealed ESHB 2661, thereby legalizing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation
  • Failed to qualify for the ballot
FAILURE
Initiative 917 2006
  • Would have repealed some $3 billion in statewide transportation funding and assaulted local communities’ privilege of home rule
  • Failed to qualify for the ballot
FAILURE
Initiative 960 2007
  • Undemocratically required two-thirds votes of the state House and Senate for all revenue increases; also required forced public votes on revenue increases
  • Approved by voters. Suspended by the Legislature in 2010; superseded by I-1053 in 2010. Main provision was struck down by the Washington State Supreme Court as unconstitutional in February 2013.
FAILURE
Initiative 985 2008
  • Would have opened high occupancy vehicle lanes during rush hour, drained part of the state treasury to pay for more roads, and restricted use of tolls
  • Overwhelmingly defeated by voters
FAILURE
Initiative 1033 2009
  • Would have locked in painful budget cuts, trapping Washington in a permanent recession and redistributing siphoned tax dollars to wealthy property owners
  • Overwhelmingly defeated by voters
FAILURE
Initiative 1053 2010
  • Undemocratically required two-thirds votes of the state House and Senate for all revenue increases
  • Approved by voters. Directly challenged in LEV v. State in June 2011. Main provision (the two-thirds requirement) was struck down as unconstitutional by the Washington State Supreme Court in February 2013.
FAILURE
Initiative 1125 2011
  • Would have jeopardized vital transportation projects, including Sound Transit’s East Link light rail and the new SR 520 floating bridge, by placing unreasonable restrictions on tolling
  • Defeated by voters
FAILURE
Initiative 1185 2012
  • Undemocratically required two-thirds votes of the state House and Senate for all revenue increases
  • Approved by voters. Main provision (the two-thirds requirement) was struck down as unconstitutional by the Washington State Supreme Court in February 2013.
FAILURE
Initiative 517 2013
  • Would have made it easier and cheaper for Eyman and his associates to qualify initiatives to the ballot, giving special privileges to petitioners, and forcing cities to spend money putting invalid or unconstitutional local initiatives on the ballot.
  • Overwhelmingly defeated by voters
FAILURE

The information in the chart speaks for itself.

Here’s a summary of the failed initiatives:

  • Five were partially voided by the courts
  • Three were voided in their entirety by the courts
  • Six were rejected by voters
  • Five were attempted (got to the signature drive stage) but failed to qualify for the ballot

Eyman’s only initiative (to date) which has not been partially or completely overturned is Initiative 900 (2005). The Legislature did reinstate I-695 and I-747 after they were thrown out in court, but that was their doing, not Eyman’s.

So Tim Eyman’s record of success is 1 for 19 over the past ten years. That’s a pretty dismal record.

Given that Tim Eyman is a creature of the media, it’s no surprise that Tim Eyman’s actual record doesn’t match the public perception that many Washingtonians have of him. Reporters frequently call him an “initiative guru” or an “initiative king”, which only fuels this mistaken perception.

People need to understand that Tim Eyman is not just a salesman, but a failure.

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