Senate Republicans want to raise most Washingtonians’ property taxes — and Tim Eyman is okay with that

Rethinking and ReframingStatements & Advisories

Late this morning, former initiative promoter (and now Republican lobbyist) Tim Eyman sent out his latest electronic screed, in which he again attacked House Democrats for proposing a budget that would levy a capital gains excise tax and close tax exemptions that are no longer in the public interest to fund K-12 education.

“Democrats are constantly searching for the next white whale of taxes,” Eyman ranted. “But their tax appetite is insatiable. There’s simply not enough money in the world to satisfy them. Seriously, how much is enough? Would a sales tax rate of 15% satisfy them? If property taxes were doubled tomorrow, would they finally shut up? No.”

Washington actually ranks ranks below most other states with respect to state and local tax obligations. But it’s no secret that our upside tax code is the most regressive in the nation. That’s why Governor Inslee and House Democrats declined to propose increasing the state sales tax in their budgets. Nor are they proposing to increase property taxes.

But Senate Republicans are.

Why is Tim Eyman shaking his fist at House Democrats, when it’s Senate Republicans who are pushing to raise property taxes on all but a handful of Washingtonians?

A staff analysis by the nonpartisan House Office of Program Research finds that taxpayers in all but three of Washington’s two hundred and ninety five school districts would see noticeable increases in their property taxes under the Senate Republicans’ levy swipe scheme. However, despite the property tax increases, total funding per student would be nowhere close to the levels that the House Democratic budget would fund.

“The average funding increase per student in School Year 2020-21 (when both plans would be fully implemented) would be $2,926 under the Democratic plan and only $1,913 under the Republican plan,” House Democrats contend.

“Total net new funding statewide over the next four school years would be $8.5 billion under the Democratic plan, and only $4.5 billion under the Republican plan.”

House Democrats have proposed a budget that bolsters the state’s investment in its schools without raising sales or property taxes, which Eyman declared today are too high. Senate Republicans, meanwhile, have proposed a budget that raises property taxes on most Washingtonians while leaving our schools with less money. What a scam!

Two years ago, when Senate Republicans proposed a similar scheme, Eyman went ballistic and called on Governor Jay Inslee to save the day. Said Eyman on April 23rd, 2015:

RE: Senate Republicans propose massive property tax hike — will Inslee save the day?

Candidate Inslee ridiculed the so-called “property tax levy swap.” He repeatedly called it a “gimmick”. He said it was “a classic maneuver by politicians in Olympia.” He said it was a “shell game” that raised taxes on nearly half of all property tax payers. He tore into it with vigor and verve. He was emphatic. He was unambiguous.

The people elected a man who adamantly opposed this.

Will Governor Inslee come riding to the rescue when it comes to the Senate Republicans’ bill (Senate Bill 6109) which does exactly what he ridiculed? In today’s Tacoma News Tribune, they report the Republicans’ bill “would raise property taxes in more than 40 percent of Washington’s school districts.”

Inslee despised it as a candidate, will he stop it as Governor? Can we count on him to protect us from this massive property tax hike?

Fast forward two years, and Eyman’s singing a completely different tune.

He’s offered nothing but praise for the Senate Republicans’ levy swipe scheme, calling it “sustainable” and “a serious budget”. Those are words that could be used to describe the fiscally responsible House Democratic budget, but Eyman can’t stomach that proposal because it would require his wealthy benefactors (like Clyde Holland and Kenneth Fisher) to pay more in dues to our state to support our schools through a capital gains excise tax.

Even though Fisher and Holland have left Eyman high and dry for the second year in a row (without money from benefactors like them, Eyman can’t get on this year’s ballot), he’s still determined to go to the mat to defend their interests.

Eyman was willing two years ago to openly criticize his own party for proposing to increase property taxes as part of its response to the Supreme Court’s McCleary decision. He was vocally opposed. But not anymore. In the span of two years, Eyman went from ardent levy swipe critic to enthusiastic booster.

Who could have imagined that one day, Tim Eyman would be on the record in support of legislation that increases property taxes on most Washingtonians?

These are strange times, indeed.

It’s especially ironic given that Eyman aspires to be on the 2017 ballot with an initiative that would dramatically cut property taxes.

But that initiative, I-1550, isn’t going anywhere… because Eyman’s wealthy benefactors have refused to provide the cash Eyman would need to finance a signature drive.

With Eyman’s initiative factory idle, the state’s most notorious initiative pitchman is now just a Republican lobbyist parroting the party line.

The invective and hyperbole in Eyman’s multiweekly emails is still largely the same, but it’s no longer aimed generally at any elected representatives who dare to suggest an increase in revenue to fund vital public services. Instead, it’s aimed solely at Democrats.

What a boon for Senate Republicans. Two years ago, Eyman was unleashing his ire (and that of his shrinking base) on them for proposing an increase in property taxes. Now, they get a pass from him while Democrats get a double helping of his invective. Such a deal!

NPI, WFEG welcome Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s sweeping new lawsuit against Tim Eyman

Statements & Advisories

This morning, at a press conference at his offices in downtown Seattle, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced the filing of a sweeping new enforcement lawsuit against Tim Eyman, his associate William Agazarm, and the for-profit signature gathering company “Citizen Solutions” in Thurston County Superior Court.

The lawsuit alleges that Eyman repeatedly violated the state’s public disclosure laws by shifting money from one initiative campaign to another and concealing kickbacks he received from his buddies at Citizen Solutions. Ferguson is asking for $2.1 million in penalties and injunctive relief barring Eyman from “participating in or directing financial transactions for any political committees going forward”.

“We thank Attorney General Ferguson for bringing this much-needed enforcement action,” said Northwest Progressive Institute founder and Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve, who has been organizing opposition to Eyman initiatives for over fifteen years through NPI’s Permanent Defense project. “This has been a long time coming”.

Villeneuve also serves as President of Washingtonians For Ethical Government (WFEG), which formed last year as a people’s campaign finance watchdog for the Evergreen State.

“Tim Eyman is a serial public disclosure law offender. Even after the Public Disclosure Commission announced the findings that led to this lawsuit back in September 2015, Eyman continued to violate our laws with impunity throughout 2016. He launched an illegal independent expenditure against several dozen Democratic lawmakers, failed to report that he transferred a large sum of money between two of his committees, and blatantly disregarded a number of key reporting rules.”

Seeking to hold Eyman accountable for these further violations, NPI partnered with WFEG, which filed multiple citizen’s action notices against Eyman.

NPI’s friends at Keep Washington Rolling filed an additional set of citizen’s action notices. These notices collectively resulted in three related lawsuits against Eyman and his committees by the state back in September.

Additional charges were added in late November.

“Today’s lawsuit is actually the fourth that Bob Ferguson has filed against Eyman for public disclosure law violations, not the first,” Villeneuve noted. “But it is the most significant, because in this lawsuit, Ferguson is asking for substantial penalties and an order from the court that would bar him from continuing to operate his initiative factory. The relief Ferguson is seeking here is entirely appropriate, for Eyman has been warned many times to clean up his act, and he has deliberately failed to do so.”

The investigation that led to today’s lawsuit had its origins in Eyman’s decision in 2012 to use money he raised to qualify one initiative (I-1185) for an entirely separate initiative (I-517) that he didn’t tell his donors from the business community about. In addition to using I-1185 money to qualify I-517, Eyman also pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars for his own personal use without reporting it. The money Eyman pocketed was in addition to the salary that he was collecting out of his committee funds.

NPI member Sherry Bockwinkel, who has been of vital assistance in helping unravel Eyman’s dark money web, filed a complaint with the Public Disclosure Commission in August of 2015 alleging that Eyman had violated numerous provisions of Chapter 42.17A RCW in the course of attempting to qualify I-517. The PDC opened an investigation after I-517 qualified for the ballot, which was not completed for another two and a half years.

In September of 2015, the PDC handed the case off to the Attorney General for further investigation. State attorneys were hampered in their efforts to discover the truth by Eyman’s repeated stonewalling. The state went to court to get its civil orders enforced, and finally got Eyman to turn over key documents that it was seeking last summer.

“Since 2002, NPI’s Permanent Defense has been working tirelessly to expose Tim Eyman’s lies and continued lawbreaking,” said Northwest Progressive Institute President Rick Hegdahl, a Navy veteran. “Fifteen years of work has led up to this action today by the State of Washington. On behalf of NPI’s board, I want to thank our hardworking staff for all they’ve done to fight Eyman’s awful schemes and expose his shameful lawbreaking.”

“This truly is a watershed moment in the history of our Permanent Defense project,” agreed Villeneuve. “We have been calling for Tim Eyman to be held accountable for his wrongdoing for a very, very long time. We are very glad that our Attorney General is seeking an appropriate punishment for Eyman’s many and egregious civil violations.”

“Eyman’s initiative factory was already idle; we hope this litigation results in its permanent dissolution,” Villeneuve added. “For too long, Tim Eyman has menaced our communities with destructive, unconstitutional initiatives deliberately concocted to sabotage our plan of government and destroy our public services.”

“It is time for the Eyman error to be over. Our great state should be a model for progressive governance for the rest of the country. We cannot meet our paramount duty to amply provide all children with an education without implementing progressive tax reform, and we cannot reform our tax code if it continues to be undermined by Tim Eyman initiatives.”

Kelly Herron demands that right wing group behind anti-trans initiative stop using her story in fundraising pitches

Rethinking and Reframing

Last week, marathoner Kelly Herron’s morning run turned into a nightmare when she was assaulted in Golden Gardens Park. As she recounted on Instagram:

Four miles into my long run Sunday afternoon, I stopped to use the restroom and was assaulted by a man hiding in a stall. I fought for my life […] clawing his face, punching back, and desperately trying to escape his grip- never giving up. I was able to lock him in the bathroom until police arrived. Thankfully I just took a self-defense class offered at my work and utilized all of it. My face is stitched, my body is bruised, but my spirit is intact.

After local media outlets picked up Kelly’s story, the fanatics trying to qualify Initiative 1552 to the ballot took notice and figured they could exploit what happened to Kelly to prey on the fears of gullible Washingtonians.

They sent out an email titled “Bathroom attack in Seattle” exhorting people to donate money and collect signatures to qualify I-1552 to the ballot. I-1552, a do-over of last year’s failed I-1515, would repeal rules passed by the Human Rights Commission that empower transgender individuals to use public washrooms and toilets consistent with their gender identity. It’s an awful, discriminatory measure that is opposed by a broad and diverse coalition of businesses, nonprofits, civic organizations, and individuals.

When Kelly found out that I-1552 communications director Kaeley Triller Haver and her associates were using her story in an attempt to bolster their campaign, she was incensed, and is now demanding that they cease doing so and refund any contributions they received from their “Bathroom attack in Seattle” appeal. Kelly writes:

Last week I successfully defended myself against a violent sexual assault in a public restroom at Golden Gardens Park in Seattle […] But I’m more upset now than I have been all week after seeing that a political group is using my face, my name and my story to fundraise for I-1552, a ballot initiative that deliberately targets and harms transgender people – including friends whom I respect.

To the people behind I-1552, I say “not today, [expletive].” I refuse to allow anyone to use me and my horrific sexual assault to cause harm and discrimination to others.

All of us, including transgender people, are concerned about safety in restrooms or any place where we’re isolated and alone. But the fact is I-1552 would not have done one thing to prevent the attack on me. It’s already illegal to enter a restroom or locker room to harm someone, period.

I-1552’s backers say it is supposed to protect women and children from attack, but this initiative is an invitation for abuse and harassment because under this law men could demand to see a woman’s ID with her name and home address, or otherwise force her to prove her gender before allowing her to enter a public restroom.

I-1552’s backers use fear mongering to justify singling out one group, transgender people, for discrimination. I strongly oppose their efforts to repeal Washington State’s decade-old protections against discrimination for our transgender friends, family and co-workers. I demand they immediately refund any money raised using my image, my name, and my story, and I demand Just Want Privacy immediately issue a public retraction.

We salute Kelly for her tremendous courage — both in telling her story after being attacked and for publicly repudiating the I-1552 campaign after they used her story as the basis for fundraising pitches for their discriminatory initiative. If Kaeley Triller Haver and her associates have any respect for Kelly, they’ll accede to her demands — promptly.

Permanent Defense reaches a major milestone: Photos from the Fifteenth Anniversary Celebration

Announcements

On February 15th, 2017, Permanent Defense turned fifteen. To celebrate the milestone, we held a special celebration at the Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum in Kent. Here are a collection of photographs from that event, courtesy of NPI’s sister project In Brief.

Placards at the Permanent Defense Fifteenth Anniversary Celebration

A post shared by NPI (@nwprogressive) on

King County Assessor John Arthur Wilson speaks at Permanent Defense’s Fifteenth Anniversary Celebration

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The celebration of Permanent Defense’s big milestone continues through the end of the month. Now is the perfect time to make a donation to Permanent Defense PAC today to ensure that destructive right wing initiatives get the vigorous and immediate opposition they deserve.

Fifteen Years: Statement from the Founder

Statements & Advisories

Today and throughout this month, Permanent Defense celebrates its fifteenth anniversary, marking one hundred and eighty months of continuous operation.

And what an occasion this is! Fifteen years is unquestionably a big milestone, but what makes this anniversary all the more special is that it caps the most successful and extraordinary year in Permanent Defense’s history. We celebrated a lot of victories these past twelve months… from the opening of three new Link light rail stations to the passage of Sound Transit 3 to the Supreme Court’s verdict striking down Tim Eyman’s I-1366 to the right wing’s failure to qualify anything to the November 2016 ballot.

Permanent Defense: Fifteen Years
Proudly celebrating fifteen years of fighting right wing initiatives and beating Tim Eyman

The theme of our work this past year was prevention, as in an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. To that end, we worked tirelessly to hold Tim Eyman accountable for his continued flouting of our public disclosure laws.

Our efforts met with great success.

Acting on our research, our partner Washingtonians For Ethical Government filed two citizen’s action notices against Eyman and his operation, both of which resulted in charges being filed against Eyman by Attorney General Bob Ferguson. Our friends at Keep Washington Rolling, meanwhile, piled on with their own citizen’s action notices. As a consequence, there are now three pending lawsuits against Tim Eyman and his committees, in addition to Ferguson’s investigation into Eyman’s grand scheme to conceal the kickbacks he was getting from his buddies Roy Ruffino and Eddie Agazarm.

I could not be prouder of what Permanent Defense has accomplished during its fifteenth year. When we successfully neutralize threats to our Constitution and commonwealth, it makes it easier for our movement to go on offense and pursue the implementation of policy directions that improve people’s lives.

That’s exactly what happened this past year. For example, instead of having to fight a draconian Tim Eyman initiative that would have slashed funding for Sound Transit, Amtrak Cascades, and WSDOT’s freight mobility programs, we were able to concentrate on building public support for transit expansion. And we won!

Over the next few decades, we’ll be investing billions of dollars to build out a regional light rail spine and expand bus and commuter rail service.

Fifteen years ago, when Permanent Defense was founded, Tim Eyman was trying to destroy Sound Transit’s Link light rail spine (then unbuilt) by ripping away its funding with a statewide initiative. Permanent Defense’s very first mission was to vigorously oppose that initiative, I-776, and support Sound Transit at a time when Sound Transit had few friends and a great many enemies.

Although I-776 narrowly passed, the funding for Link light rail was saved, and construction began the following year, with service beginning in 2009.

It feels as though we’ve now come full circle.

In 2002, despite having been caught pocketing his own supporters’ money and lying about it, Eyman was still able to qualify I-776 to the ballot. He was down, but not out.

But in 2016, Eyman was both down and out. He tried twice to qualify schemes to defund Sound Transit and couldn’t convince his wealthy benefactors to buy in.

Perhaps Eyman’s benefactors stood him up because he betrayed their trust. He lies to everyone else — the press, the public, the shrinking band of followers who are still subscribed to his emails — it stands to reason he lies to his big funders, too.

Eyman’s credibility ought to have disappeared the moment he confessed to having taken hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations to pay himself. When I saw that wasn’t going to happen, I founded Permanent Defense to make it happen.

For fifteen years now, we have fought back against Eyman’s initiative factory, debunking lie after lie and exposing deception after deception. And we are winning. Washington is a stronger, safer, freer state because of NPI’s Permanent Defense.

Before PD’s founding, Eyman was winning at the ballot every year. Since PD’s founding, Eyman has no consecutive victories — and many consecutive failures.

But we cannot rest on our laurels. It is a dark time for our country. We need Washington State to be a beacon of light in this darkness. Permanent Defense’s work has never been more important. And with your support, it will continue.

If you’re inspired by what PD has accomplished during its fifteen year history, consider making a donation to Permanent Defense PAC now.

PD now maintains an emergency response fund so that we can spring into action and accelerate coalition building efforts in the event that we assess that a future right wing initiative is likely to make the statewide ballot. Eyman and the mean-spirited campaign behind last year’s failed assault on transgender rights are both seeking to qualify schemes to the 2017 ballot. They can and must be stopped.

Together, we have helped protect Washington against a slew of toxic threats to its future. Here’s to another year of victories. Thanks to everyone who has ever made a donation, volunteered, or offered a kind word of encouragement to keep Permanent Defense going.

I hope you enjoy the following chronology of great moments from our fifteenth year.

University Link opens six months ahead of schedule

On March 18th, 2016, Sound Transit inaugurated service on the much anticipated University Link light rail extension, adding two new stations to the region’s growing rail spine (Capitol Hill and University of Washington). NPI covered both days of opening celebrations live through Permanent Defense’s sister projects. The launch of University Link led to an almost immediate light rail ridership boom, with commuters and tourists alike voting with their feet and ORCA cards to take Link.

Permanent Defense, Washingtonians For Ethical Government thwart Tim Eyman’s illegal ad campaign

On May 24th, armed with NPI/Permanent Defense’s research, Washingtonians For Ethical Government filed a citizen’s action notice against Tim Eyman, alleging that Eyman violated public disclosure laws by running online ads against Democratic lawmakers without properly disclosing them as independent expenditures.

After receiving WFEG’s notice of intent to sue, Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office asked the Public Disclosure Commission to investigate.

The PDC looked into our allegations, and found “multiple apparent violations” of Chapter 42.17A, Washington’s public disclosure law. As the PDC was investigating, Eyman took down all of the ads and nixed the website created to promote them.

The PDC unanimously recommended that Ferguson prosecute the violations several weeks later. In September, Ferguson did just that, filing three lawsuits against Eyman and his committees which included charges stemming from WFEG’s citizen action notice.

Supreme Court gives Tim Eyman’s I-1366 a final burial

On May 26th, the Washington State Supreme Court unanimously upheld Judge William Downing’s ruling in Lee v. State, holding that Tim Eyman’s hostage-taking I-1366 is unconstitutional in its entirety. The verdict set an important precedent against future attempts to blackmail the Legislature through the initiative process, and sent I-1366 to the political graveyard it belongs in.

Tim Eyman fails to make the November 2016 ballot

On June 2nd, Tim Eyman conceded that he would not make the November 2016 ballot with either of the schemes he had planned to qualify, admitting to The Herald’s Jerry Cornfield that I-1421, announced just a week prior to Permanent Defense’s fourteenth anniversary, “didn’t take off“. What Eyman meant by that was that he was unable to persuade any his wealthy benefactors to give him megabucks to bring in out of state petitioners to collect the necessary signatures. We had been unable to find any evidence of an active signature drive in the weeks leading up to this admission. It was a joyous day when our assessment that Eyman would likely fail to qualify anything was proved correct.

Permanent Defense gets sleek new website

Permanent Defense Version 9.0 (Fidalgo)
Permanent Defense Version 9.0 (Fidalgo)

A few days later, on June 6th, Permanent Defense received its first major digital makeover in six years with the launch of Version 9.0, codenamed “Fidalgo”, featuring a brand new responsive design, breadcrumb navigation, and updated graphics. (Keeping with tradition, new iterations of the Permanent Defense website are named after islands in Washington State).

Sound Transit Board votes unanimously to send ambitious transit expansion package (ST3) to the ballot

On June 23rd, Sound Transit’s eighteen member Board of Directors voted unanimously to adopt a revised Phase III plan for system expansion and refer it to the voters of urban King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties for their consideration, successfully concluding several years of extensive planning and public outreach. I testified in support of the motion on behalf of NPI and Permanent Defense. Immediately following the board meeting, the Mass Transit Now coalition announced the launch of the campaign to pass Regional Proposition 1 on the November 2016 ballot.

I-1515 fails to qualify for the ballot

Victory: 1515 Fails!
Victory: 1515 Fails!

On July 7th, proponents of a mean-spirited initiative to repeal protections for transgender individuals conceded defeat, throwing in the towel after failing to complete a successful signature drive. I-1515’s demise resulted in a November ballot free of right wing initiatives for the first time in Permanent Defense’s history.

Permanent Defense, Washingtonians For Ethical Government catch Eyman red-handed — again

On September 16th, NPI’s Permanent Defense and Washingtonians For Ethical Government teamed up again to hold Tim Eyman accountable for his continued blatant disregard of Washington’s public disclosure laws. WFEG notified Attorney General Bob Ferguson of its intent to bring a lawsuit on behalf of the State of Washington over Eyman’s failure to report a six figure transfer of cash between two of his committees. Two months later, on November 30th, Ferguson’s office notified WFEG that it had amended one of the lawsuits filed against Eyman in September to incorporate the charges.

Angle Lake Link opens four years ahead of schedule

Angle Lake Link debuts
The first train to officially carry riders arrives at Angle Lake Station

On September 24th, on a sunny day in SeaTac, Sound Transit opened a sixteenth light rail station to the public, inaugurating service on Angle Lake Link four years early and once again demonstrating to voters its ability to deliver projects ahead of schedule and under budget. Angle Lake is the first station to open south of SeaTac/Airport, and has a large parking garage to enable commuters to park and take Link to points north. NPI livegrammed the event and offered additional special coverage on the Cascadia Advocate.

Voters pass Sound Transit 3 and four progressive statewide initiatives

Vote APPROVED on Sound Transit 3
NPI campaign infographic urging an APPROVED vote on Regional Proposition 1 (Sound Transit 3)

While the presidential election ended in catastrophe, voters in Washington State charted a course for progressive change on November 8th by passing Sound Transit 3 (Regional Proposition 1) and statewide initiatives to raise the minimum wage (I-1433), allow families to seek extreme risk protection orders to protect loved ones from gun violence (I-1491), put the state on record in support of federal constitutional amendment to get big money out of elections (I-735), and protect the information of in-home caregivers from being harvested by right wing stink tanks for malicious purposes (I-1501).

Within days of the election results having been certified, Sound Transit’s staff and board of directors got to work on project implementation, securing favorable financing and moving forward with contract awards.

ST3 victory press conference
King County Executive Dow Constantine celebrates the passage of ST3 with the Sound Transit Board

Tim Eyman’s I-869 fails to qualify for the ballot

December 30th marked the deadline for submitting signatures for initiatives to the 2017 Legislature. Although Tim Eyman had tried to restart I-1421 by converting it into I-869, his attempts to interest his wealthy benefactors in underwriting the measure failed, and it died without any comment whatsoever from Eyman, who spent six months asking for donations to an initiative he knew wasn’t going anywhere.

Inspired by Permanent Defense’s fifteen year track record of taking on right wing initiatives and winning? Donate to Permanent Defense PAC now to keep Washington safe from threats to its Constitution and common wealth

Join us for a very special event to celebrate Permanent Defense’s fifteenth anniversary!

Announcements
Permanent Defense: Fifteen Years
Proudly celebrating fifteen years of fighting right wing initiatives and beating Tim Eyman

On February 15th, 2017, NPI’s Permanent Defense will be turning fifteen (15 on the 15th!)

We’ve been opposing right wing initiatives and fighting Tim Eyman since the early days of the Bush error. And we’ve been victorious in most of the fights we’ve taken on.

We invite you to join us to celebrate this huge milestone and learn about our 2017 work against Eyman’s latest scheme and the plot to take away transgender rights at a very special gathering in the heart of King County.

This is a “pay what you can” event — no admission will be charged, but we’ll be gladly accepting donations to Permanent Defense PAC.

Here are the details:

Permanent Defense Fifteenth Anniversary Celebration

  • What: A special event to sustain PD’s work and celebrate its fifteenth anniversary
  • When: Wednesday, February 15th, 2017
    • Reception begins at 6:30 PM; short speaking program at 7:30 PM
  • Where: Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum: 5917 South 196th Street, Kent, WA 98032
  • Who: Join hydroplane legend Chip Hanauer and the Northwest Progressive Institute team + special guests to be announced
  • Why: Because our Constitution and common wealth can’t defend themselves

Refreshments will be served.

NPI would like to thank Chip Hanauer — one of the speakers at our inaugural Spring Fundraising Gala in 2008 — for his help and generosity in putting this event together.

Déjà vu: Tim Eyman announces initiative that would gut local public services funded by property taxes

Statements & AdvisoriesThreat Analysis

Donald Trump admirer Tim Eyman said today he intends to qualify an initiative to the 2017 Washington State ballot that would paralyze the many essential public services provided by Washington’s local governments by gutting their main source of funding.

Eyman’s Initiative 1550 (see text) would slash property tax levies, forcing any not approved by voters to be set at 25% below the amount otherwise allowed. Additionally, it would eliminate personal property taxes and restate the main provision of Eyman’s revenue-limiting I-747, which has been on the books since December of 2001 and is slowly choking the life out of local public services across the state.

NPI is still analyzing I-1550 to assess the breadth of damage it would cause, but it’s safe to say passage of I-1550 would be absolutely devastating to our communities and our economic security,” said NPI’s founder and Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve, who has been organizing opposition to destructive Tim Eyman initiatives for fifteen years.

“Property tax levies fund schools, police, firefighting, emergency medical response, parks, pools, libraries, roads, mass transit, and development and maintenance of critical infrastructure. I-1550 would raze the vital services we each rely on every day. This initiative is a dire threat to the safety, health, and well-being of all Washingtonians.”

“Making matters worse, I-1550 is being proposed at a time when our values are already under attack by Donald Trump. It’s only been a week since Trump assumed power, and already his unlawful and immoral executive orders are causing tremendous harm at home and around the world. Now Tim Eyman, who is being prosecuted by the State of Washington for serious public disclosure law violations, wants to add to the carnage by unleashing wrecking balls on our cities and counties. We’re ready to fight him — and win.”

Those with long memories may recall that Eyman proposed something like I-1550 back in 2004 — Initiative 864 — which failed to qualify for the ballot.

Midway through the I-864 signature drive thirteen years ago, Eyman realized I-864 wasn’t going to make it, so he diverted his energies to qualifying a different measure, I-892. I-892 would have allowed electronic slot machines in every neighborhood in the state, proposing to use the proceeds from that expansion of gambling to offset a property tax cut. It qualified for the ballot thanks to gambling industry money, but it was overwhelmingly rejected by voters, with the no vote statewide surpassing 60%.

“We have fifteen years of experience organizing opposition to Eyman’s destructive initiatives, and we will put all that experience to work to ensure that I-1550 gets the fierce, broad-based, unrelenting opposition it deserves in the event Eyman has managed to persuade his wealthy benefactors to finance this measure,” said Villeneuve. “Without their money, we believe I-1550 will suffer the same fate as I-864 and the last three initiatives Eyman said he was doing but couldn’t get on the ballot.”

Will you join us in opposing Tim Eyman’s I-1550?

If you would like to take a position opposing Tim Eyman’s I-1550, please fill out the form below so we can include you in our coalition organizing. Thank you for helping us defend Washington’s Constitution and common wealth!

Snake oil purveyor Tim Eyman says he’s going to announce new initiative next week — but are his wealthy benefactors on board?

Statements & AdvisoriesThreat Analysis

Scam artist and snake oil purveyor Tim Eyman — who remains under investigation by Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office for serious violations of Washington’s public disclosure laws — said in an email today that he will be announcing a new initiative he intends to qualify to the 2017 ballot this coming Monday, January 30th, following his appearance at a weekend gathering of right wing political operatives in Ocean Shores.

Monday’s “announcement” will be Eyman’s fourth such initiative unveiling since the November 2015 general election fifteen months ago. The three previously-announced initiatives came to nothing after Eyman was unable to secure the funding to run a signature drive for any of them. Here’s a recap for those who enjoy keeping score, like we do:

  • November 17th, 2015: Tim Eyman announces he plans to file and qualify an initiative for 2016 that would force any increase in state revenue approved by the Legislature without a two-thirds vote to expire after one year. “We’ve going pedal to the metal on this new initiative,” Eyman vows in the hours preceding a mean-spirited, crudely-orchestrated media event on the Capitol Campus. “Yesterday, we formed and filed paperwork for a separate, stand-alone political action committee: Tougher To Raise Taxes. We’ve now begun raising money for a financial war-chest for this new initiative,” he adds. But due to a lack of commitments from wealthy benefactors, his planned initiative never reaches the signature gathering stage.
  • February 8th, 2016: Tim Eyman launches I-1421, a second initiative for 2016 intended to wipe out funding for Sound Transit, Amtrak Cascades, and WSDOT’s freight mobility programs — and brings pre-printed petitions and t-shirts to his press conference in an attempt to convince reporters and the public that this campaign is for real. “We have from now until July 8th to collect hundreds of thousands of signatures,” Eyman writes in an email sent out that same day. “The only way that’s gonna happen is with every single one of us putting forth a Herculean effort. We need a ton of volunteers to collect signatures. We need to distribute a ton of petitions. We need to raise a ton of money to hire paid petitioners. Voters are gonna be eager to sign our petitions — we need your help to give them every opportunity to sign.” But the funding never materializes, and within a few months, Eyman is forced to acknowledge he’s abandoned I-1421.
  • June 2nd, 2016: Tim Eyman announces he’s still trying to eviscerate funding for rail transit after admitting to The Herald’s Jerry Cornfield that I-1421 “never took off”. Due to having run out of time to qualify anything for the November 2016 ballot, Eyman files this third scheme, I-869, as an initiative to the Legislature for the following year, instead of as an initiative to the people. “Our newest initiative – ‘We Love Our Cars’ – is an initiative to the legislature,” Eyman writes in an email that day. “That means we have from now until the end of December – seven full months – to collect the 300,000 signatures needed.  So we have all summer and fall – June, July, Aug, Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec – to qualify this important initiative for the ballot.” Despite having all that time to put together a signature drive, Eyman again fails to secure the necessary funding and I-869 dies without acknowledgment from Eyman.

“Three times during the past fifteen months, Tim Eyman has made a big show of launching a new initiative that he didn’t actually have financing for,” noted Andrew Villeneuve, founder and Executive Director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, who has been building progressive infrastructure to defeat right wing initiatives and advance progressive causes since February of 2002, when NPI’s Permanent Defense was launched.

Whatever Eyman has planned for Monday is dead on arrival unless he’s convinced his wealthy benefactors to turn the cash spigot back on. But why should they do that when he has repeatedly demonstrated he cannot be trusted with their money — or anyone else’s money? Eyman is a serial public disclosure law violator and an admitted liar who has spent the past year sending incessant appeals for money to a shrinking base of followers while opening himself up to greater and greater liability by continuing to blatantly violate our state’s public disclosure laws.

“In the unfortunate event Eyman has secured financing for a 2017 initiative or does in time to buy his way onto the ballot, we are prepared to immediately begin pulling together a coalition to protect our Constitution and our common wealth,” said Villeneuve. “We must uphold Washington’s finest traditional values — empathy, mutual responsibility, fairness, and opportunity — especially with Donald Trump wreaking havoc at the federal level. In partnership with other caring Washingtonians, we will continue to ensure Eyman’s destructive initiatives get the vigorous opposition they deserve.”

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