Tim Eyman fails to qualify either I-1373 or I-1408 as an initiative to the Legislature

From the Campaign TrailStatements & Advisories

Tonight, at 5 PM Pacific Time, the deadline to submit signatures for initiatives to the 2022 Washington State Legislature will pass. Having failed to find megabucks to underwrite a signature drive for his scheme to repeal Washington State’s new state capital gains tax on the wealthy, scandal-plagued initiative promoter Tim Eyman’s 2021 will be ending in yet another defeat.

This is the sixth straight July or December signature deadline that will have passed with no turn-in event by Eyman. He last qualified an initiative three years ago, in late 2018 (Initiative 976), which then appeared on the November 2019 ballot. Voters passed it, but it was overturned by the Washington State Supreme Court as unconstitutional.

Eyman initially planned on trying to qualify I-1373 to the 2022 Legislature, but switched to I-1408 after a few days, citing legal analysis prepared by Joel Ard, an attorney who has worked with Eyman in the past.

I-1408 was filed by Eyman’s friend Jim Walsh and is very similar to I-1373. Both initiatives were crafted with the goal of repealing the new capital gains tax on the wealthy along with Seattle’s JumpStart revenue plan. Eyman and his new associates Larry Jensen and Sid Maietto made a big show of being the first to sign a super-sized petition for I-1373 at a livestreamed event on September 9th, when they first announced they would attempt to restart Eyman’s initiative factory.

In a September 20th email, Eyman told his followers that getting I-1408 qualified was extremely important, because qualifying an initiative to the people next year would be “impossible.”

He also characterized it as the “only opportunity to kill off these income-based taxes.”

Here’s a lengthy excerpt from that email:

This is our ONLY opportunity to kill off these income-based taxes NOW AND IN THE FUTURE. This is our ONLY chance to get this critically important initiative on the November 2022 ballot (initiatives to the people next year will be impossible — California and other states are going to monopolize paid petitioners next year — Washington will never be able to compete).

Deadline to turn in voter signatures: Dec. 30th

Number of voter signatures needed: 400,000

Cost for a paid signature drive that guarantees I-1408 qualifies for the November 2022 ballot: $2.7 million.

To get that many signatures (400K) in such a short time-frame (Sept 9th through Dec 30th), we NEED a handful of “Mike Dunmires” to quickly step in and finance this signature drive.

We’re going to work really hard to find some Mike Dunmires to make I-1408 a reality. We NEED successful folks who are willing to break open their piggy banks to protect themselves and all of us from any kind of income tax NOW AND FOREVER.

Some of you can be a Mike Dunmire for this critical effort.

Many of you are friends with some Mike Dunmires.

Contact us if you’re able to connect us with them.

Despite publicly pleading for one or more “Mike Dunmires” to step forth and open their wallets, Eyman was unable to find any wealthy benefactors willing to restart his initiative factory.

That’s truly great news for Washington’s communities…. news worth celebrating as 2022 begins.

In recent weeks, Eyman’s focus has shifted back to making personal appeals for himself and denouncing Attorney General Bob Ferguson for seeking to hold him accountable for his repeated violations of Washington State’s public disclosure laws, though as recently as last week, Eyman was still including boilerplate pitches for I-1408 at the end of his email missives, like this:

And now a message from Larry Jensen & Sid Maietto:

We’re asking folks to donate to our PAC so we can stop all current and future income-based taxes with Jim Walsh’s Initiative 1408.

The taxpayers of Washington need our help now more than ever. Donate to our political committee so we can keep fighting for you.

An email sent by Eyman this morning did not include any I-1408 boilerplate or mention I-1408 at all. It’s a tacit admission by Eyman that he came up short.

Eyman has yet to explicitly acknowledge I-1408’s demise to his followers. And it’s possible he’ll never do so, as his usual practice is to quickly move on from failed cons.

As mentioned above, Eyman’s goal for the fourth quarter of 2022 was to raise $2.7 million to enable I-1408 to have a paid signature drive.

But by November’s end, Permanent Offense had only raised about a thousandth of that sum.

As of that point, evidence suggests Eyman had already given up on trying to find big money to qualify I-1408… though, as mentioned, he continued to use the measure’s existence and previously touted plans to qualify it as an excuse to appeal for donations to Permanent Offense in emails.

C4 reports filed by Eyman’s treasurer state that Permanent Offense took in just $566.10 from September 1st-October 11th, $345 from October 12th-25th, and $1,930.55 from October 26th-November 30th (total cash and in-kind contributions). The committee spent $10,990.01, $32,727.61, and $3,326.42 during those same periods. That’s far more than it raised.

“Without an ample supply of money, the gears of Tim Eyman’s initiative factory cannot turn,” said Northwest Progressive Institute founder and executive director Andrew Villeneuve.

“It was refreshing back in September to hear Tim Eyman admit that he needed to find some ‘Mike Dunmires’ to get his con off the ground, after so many years of pretending to be a grassroots campaigner when he was really a rich man’s operative, working furiously to keep Washington’s tax code rigged in favor of the wealthy and powerful through deceitful initiatives. Having failed to land any six-figure donors, Permanent Offense now has less cash than it had before Eyman attempted to qualify I-1408 to the Legislature.”

“Though Eyman has said it will be ‘impossible’ to qualify anything to the ballot next spring due to California and other states monopolizing paid petitioner labor, we won’t be surprised if he tries again. In the event he is able to persuade wealthy benefactors to bankroll him, we will be ready to respond. The adoption of Washington State’s new state capital gains tax is an incredibly important step towards a fairer, more equitable tax code, and must be defended. The tax is slated to begin to be collected in 2022. It will raise hundreds of millions of dollars to strengthen public education and childcare. NPI’s polling shows that most Washingtonians support levying a capital gains tax on the wealthy and remain supportive after hearing the false argument that the new capital gains tax is an ‘illegal and unconstitutional income tax.'”

“These are difficult times, and the last thing we need are more threats to Washington’s future. So here’s to the demise of I-1373 and I-1408, and any future initiatives like them.”

“Happy New Year 2022!”

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