Eyman proposes diverting more of our common wealth to roads: We’ve seen this movie before, and gave it a thumbs down

Essay At A Glance

Here we go again. Back from his self-imposed “exile”, Tim Eyman is once again peddling an initiative to mess up transportation planning by diverting money from already-underfunded essential public services to highways.

Never mind our schools, police, fire departments, libraries, hospitals, or parks… Eyman doesn’t care about their well-being. What he wants is more pavement to drive his Lexus on. However, he doesn’t want his taxes going up to pay for his asphalt dreams. So instead of endorsing Referendum 51, the transportation package that the Legislature is sending to voters this year, Tim and his cohorts are trying to qualify Initiative 267. Tim hates revenue increases, but that’s not stopping him from opposing Referendum 51.

Tim’s proposed Initiative 267, which would go before the Legislature in 2003 if Eyman can collect enough signatures, would drain money out of the state’s general fund, specifically sales taxes collected on new and used vehicles.

In contrast to Referendum 51, implementation of Eyman’s plan would mean less money for schools and human services. Washington communities have already lost billions due to Eyman’s I-695, and are being further squeezed by Eyman’s I-747, which passed last year. I-776 now threatens to wipe out funding for light rail and basic road maintenance in Washington’s three largest counties. But Eyman is relentlessly pursuing his siphon and eviscerate strategy even further with I-267.

It matters not to Eyman that in 2000, voters statewide gave a big thumbs down to I-745, a similar initiative he qualified for the ballot, which tried to redirect 90% of transportation funding to roads. I-745, financed by the asphalt paving lobby, was defeated by over 58% of voters, but Eyman evidently doesn’t consider voters to have sent a message by overwhelmingly rejecting it, or he wouldn’t be putting I-267 on the table now. It’s especially ironic considering that for the last several years, Eyman has been firing off missives to legislators telling them them Washingtonians sent a message by voting for I-695 and I-747.

Should I-267 qualify, it will need to be fought and defeated, just as I-745 was. But hopefully it is destined to fail. Eyman barely got I-776 on the ballot several weeks ago and had to shell out fifty thousand dollars to settle the Attorney General’s lawsuit against him over serious violations of Washington’s campaign finance law.

To put I-267 before the Legislature, Eyman would need serious money — money he doesn’t yet have. It’s hard to imagine him easily being able to raise funds like he did before, given that he has admitted to pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars from his campaign coffers for his own personal use.

Join us in frustrating Eyman’s efforts by speaking out against I-267 anywhere you see a petitioner working for Eyman. Together, we can put a stop to his latest bad idea.

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