November 29th, 2005
Setting the record straight on I-900, I-912
Yesterday, Tim Eyman sent out an e-mail congratulating all his supporters on the success of Initiative 900, saying “All of you helped make I-900 a success. We received over 2400 donations (average contribution was $247.10).”
It’s worth noting that Initiative 900 would have been doomed had it not been for the tremendous financial backing provided by multimillionaire Michael Dunmire. On June 9th, the Spokesman-Review reported on Eyman’s fundraising:
…According to campaign finance records filed with the state Public Disclosure Commission, Eyman has raised about $415,000 for the initiative. Of that, Dunmire and his wife have contributed more than $314,000…
A few weeks later, The Olympian did the same, but with new numbers:
Eyman’s I-900, which proposes an expansion of performance audits for state and local agencies, raised about $617,000. Of that, $489,494 came from a retired Woodinville investment executive, Michael Dunmire, and his wife, Phyllis Dunmire.
Eyman can calculate the total number of donations and produce an average, but he’s hiding the fact that his initiative was primarily funded by one person. There’s no denying that it wouldn’t have been possible without Dunmire. Using the figures provided by the Olympian, Dunmire’s contributions represent nearly 80% of the total amount Eyman raised. That’s a staggering amount.
In his email, Eyman also wrote: “Several recent news stories have made it sound like the Initiative 900 campaign jumped on the Democrats’ accountability bandwagon – quite the contrary…”
Actually, those news stories were accurate. Eyman did jump on the Democrats’ “accountability bandwagon”. House Democrats and the state auditor, Brian Sonntag (D), had already been working on performance audit legislation for years. Thanks to a change of leadership in the state Senate after last year’s elections, the legislation finally made it to the Governor’s desk and was signed by Gov. Christine Gregoire.
Initiatives aren’t difficult if you have a multimillionaire willing to pour nearly half a million dollars into your initiative campaign. If you have the money, you can qualify for the ballot – it doesn’t matter what your issue is or how popular it might be. Western Washington University political scientist Todd Donovan was correct. There was hardly any excitement around I-900. Without paid signature gatherers and Dunmire’s money, I-900 would have been another failure for Eyman.
It is apparent that Eyman is going to ignore the clearly-expressed wishes of voters in the last election and proceed ahead with his initiative to gut a significant portion of the 2005 transportation package.
If Eyman respected the voters’ decision, he’d drop his plans for his 2006 initiative to repeal the rest of the package and move on. But, since it doesn’t appear he’s going to do that, he will be exhibiting tremendous disrespect for the taxpayers of Washington State.
He and his cohorts gambled on the passage of Initiative 912 and lost. They demanded that voters have a say. Voters have had their say, and they’ve put their stamp of approval on Olympia’s work – they want the state to invest in transportation and our future.
The I-695 vote was six years ago, and the I-776 vote was three years ago. The people have just spoken again, and there’s a clear mandate for keeping the 2005 transportation package intact. (And, it should be remembered that King County voted against both I-695 and I-776. Voters in King County have a clear and consistent record of wanting to invest in better roads, bridges, and transit services
Eyman never looks at the consequences of repealing taxes. There is no free lunch. We can’t have services we’re not willing to pay for.
If we want safe roads and bridges, less congestion, a stronger economy, and a healthier state, we simply must invest in transportation.
The Legislature and the people are in agreement. People like Tim Eyman need to get out of the way and stop obstructing our state’s progress. His efforts are not welcome.