September 17th, 2019
Debunking Tim Eyman’s I-976 whoppers: This measure is no “haircut”
The last few years have been littered with setbacks and defeats for disgraced initiative promoter Tim Eyman. From 2016-2018, Eyman failed to qualify anything to Washington’s general election ballot despite half a dozen attempts.
Meanwhile, Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office has been working tirelessly to hold Eyman accountable for his willful and blatant violations of Washington’s public disclosure laws, dealing Eyman loss after loss in court.
Eyman is counting on an electoral victory in November to revive the fortunes of his flailing initiative factory. He has declared that his Initiative 976, a measure that would gut $4.2 billion in transportation funding over the next six years, will pass overwhelmingly in all thirty-nine of Washington’s counties and even pass in Seattle, which has consistently rejected his destructive schemes for twenty years.
If we look at what Eyman has said in response to questions about I-976’s fiscal impacts, though, we can see Eyman’s not confident about winning in November. Why else would Eyman feel the need to lie about the extent of the damage that his measure would cause?
The whoppers Eyman has been telling about I-976 deserve to be called out and debunked.
Let’s start with a claim he made a month ago on KIRO Newsradio: that I-976 would only rob Sound Transit of “a small percentage of money”.
EYMAN CLAIM: “The fact is Initiative 976 is like a haircut when it comes to Sound Transit… We’re only talking about a small percentage of money.” (Source: Can Washington survive $30 car tab measure if it passes? — 08/16/2019)
THE REALITY: Wrong. Implementation of Tim Eyman’s I-976 would leave in ruins plans to deliver light rail expansion to Everett, Tacoma, Ballard, West Seattle, and Kirkland/Issaquah, as well as deploy bus rapid transit on Interstate 405 and expand Sounder commuter rail to DuPont and Tillicum. That’s because Sound Transit would lose an essential major revenue source, which would in turn severely impair its ability to borrow money, jeopardizing an estimated $20 billion in funding overall.
This is not an accident; it’s by design.
Tim Eyman is well aware that the loss of Sound Transit’s motor vehicle excise tax (MVET) revenue would blow a giant hole in Sound Transit 3. He’s counting on it: his goal is to sabotage Sound Transit 3’s voter approved projects so they don’t get built.
He’s previously admitted his true intentions to friendly audiences.
In 2016, when Eyman was trying to qualify a measure almost identical to I-976, he pitched it as the “NO on ST3” campaign in an address to the Eastside Republican Club in Bellevue, on March 1st, 2016. Said Eyman in his remarks:
I love the idea of every voter in the state being able to register their vehicle for a flat-rate, easy to understand $30, but what gets me giddy is the idea of ripping the heart out of Sound Transit. This agency is so unaccountable, so rogue, so completely devoid of any reality that this is our one chance to be able to gut them like a pig, and that’s what I really love about this initiative.
Emphasis is ours. Listen to the audio here.
The next time Eyman tries to dismiss the impact of I-976 as giving Sound Transit “a haircut”, just remember that we have Tim Eyman on tape saying that the primary objective of doing a new initiative to cap vehicle fees at thirty dollars is to rip the heart out of Sound Transit and gut the agency like a pig.
That’s a far cry from “a haircut”. Eyman’s August 16th statement is compelling evidence that he’s worried that if voters know the truth about the damage I-976 would cause, they’ll decide to fill in the oval next to NO on the ballot.
Despite the confidence he projects, Eyman is clearly nervous about losing this campaign. That’s why he is lying to the public about the destruction I-976 would cause when he does interviews with the press.