Category Archives: From the Campaign Trail

It’s a clean sweep! Washington newspapers are united against I-976

From the Campaign Trail

As the campaign against Tim Eyman’s incredibly destructive I-976 draws to a close, our team at the Northwest Progressive Institute is feeling grateful.

Grateful to have had the opportunity to work with so many people and organizations against this grave threat to Washington’s mobility, from the Mainstream Republicans of Washington State to All Aboard Washington to the Sierra Club’s Cascade Chapter… all organizations that answered NPI’s call to join forces against a measure that would roll back bipartisan, voter-approved transportation investments that our state needs.

Grateful to the business community and the labor movement for providing Keep Washington Rolling (the coalition against I-976) with the majority of the resources needed to wage a proper and effective NO campaign.

And grateful to all of the newspaper publishers and editorial boards that have weighed in urging a NO vote on this measure.

As of yesterday, NPI had tallied fourteen editorial boards in opposition to I-976 and zero in favor on our Editorial Scoreboard.

Special kudos goes to The Seattle Times, which has editorialized against I-976 not just once, but repeatedly… and every single editorial published on the subject has been a gem. Thank you, Seattle Times!

The editorials excerpted below against I-976 remind us how important newspapers are to our civic health and well-being.

Even in this digital media age, characterized by fragmentation, concentration of ownership, and the decay of once dependable business models, newspapers are still essential.

Newspaper op-ed pages provide a place for the issues of the day to be discussed and debated civilly, with effective moderation.

Newspapers also provide a space for deep dives written by journalists who can help people understand an issue from many angles.

What is published in a newspaper is far more likely to be accessible to a researcher decades from now than a blog post or social media screed. It is essential that we figure out as a society how to sustain the newspapers that we have left. They are just too valuable to lose.

Washington State newspapers are united against Tim Eyman’s I-976

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING ABOUT EYMAN’S LATEST SCHEME TO MESS WITH OUR MOBILITY

The Seattle Times
Nothing about I-976 is a good idea, in terms of responsible governance or prudent money management. Eyman asks voters to buy a falsity that there’s some miraculous way to fund our state’s backlog of bridge, road and transit needs. Because the courts cannot end this toxic nonsense quickly enough, voters must reject I-976 themselves.

The News Tribune of Tacoma
There’s no question that reliable roads, bridges and public transit are essential to Washington’s economy and quality of life. So there’s no question that voters should reject I-976 in the November 5th election.

The Kitsap Sun
Hastily cutting out $4 billion over the next decade, which is what I-976 is estimated to do, would have a serious effect on that progress for state-managed corridors like Highways 305 and 16, but also for municipalities.

The Yakima Herald-Republic
Eyman’s measure undermines three tenets of conservative governance: local control, designating funds for specific purposes, and user fees in which those who use a service pay for it… With transportation a top-of-mind issue in the state, Initiative 976 is exactly what we don’t need.

The Tri-City Herald
If you care about safe roads and bridges, a strong Washington State Patrol, public transportation services for the elderly and disabled, and a reliable way to get goods from Eastern Washington to shipping ports in Western Washington, then you should oppose I-976.

The Stranger
Basically, this measure is the script for an asteroid-hitting-the-planet movie, except we’d be voting for this asteroid to hit us. And it would be a handout to the 1 percent, making the car tabs on a $300,000 Ferrari cost the same as those on a $3,000 Honda.

Walla Walla Union Bulletin
A dramatic cut in transportation funding statewide and locally is simply not acceptable. We urge voters to reject I-976.

The Columbian of Vancouver
Passage of I-976 would short the statewide transportation budget, including highway construction and the Washington State Patrol, by an estimated $4 billion over the next decade. In Vancouver alone, the city would lose more than half the $9 million it spends annually to carry out its street funding strategy; it also would miss out on transportation grants that require local matching funds.

The Herald of Everett
 I-976 will add to the package of regressive taxes in this state that demand more as a percentage of income from lower- and moderate-income families than from those with higher incomes, in effect a tax break for those who can afford luxury vehicles in the Puget Sound region.

The Spokesman-Review of Spokane
Washington’s vehicle registration fees provide a large portion of the funding for repairing roads and bridges as well as public transportation. Initiative 976 would slash those fees, costing state and local governments more than $4 billion over the next six years.

The Islands’ Sounder
Don’t fall for the shiny $30 tabs and the promise of “saving money” at the expense of yourself, your neighbors, your ferries and the safety of your roads. Vote no on I-976.

Lewiston Morning Tribune
As you drive on those banged up highways, your meager savings from reduced car tabs will evaporate quickly to pay for realignments, new struts or even tires. Passing I-976 may reinvigorate Eyman’s sagging political fortunes, but it’s a loser for you. Vote no.

Ritzville Adams County Journal
Ensuring that our bridges and roads are safe and that the trains and buses run on time is crucial to keeping Washington’s economy on the right track. And for one of the most export-reliant states in the country, it is critical that the goods and supplies from Washington’s farms and businesses can move as quickly and efficiently as possible.

The University of Washington Daily
The Daily Editorial Staff believes that voting no on I-976 is of the utmost importance during this election to keep improving our statewide public transportation. 

Permanent Defense goes up on Spanish language radio to oppose I-976 and support I-1000

From the Campaign Trail

As part of our final push to defeat this year’s crop of right wing ballot measures, NPI’s Permanent Defense PAC is pleased to announce the launch of two ads on Spanish language radio outlets that urge a NO vote on Tim Eyman’s Initiative 976 and an APPROVED vote on Initiative 1000, the Washington Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Act.

Although not all voters speak English or use it as their first language, very few campaigns make any effort to create materials in languages other than English.

At NPI, inclusion is one of our core values. So is practicing what we preach. That’s why we’ve created these ads. We want to make sure everybody understands the importance of voting “NO” on I-976 and “Approved” on I-1000 — even if they don’t speak English.

Here’s our I-976 ad (M Radio Live version):

If you’d prefer to read it, here’s the copy:

NW Como americanos juntos tomamos decisiones sobre nuestro futuro a través de elecciones. En ocasiones tenemos la oportunidad de votar en propuestas de leyes nuevas. Este año una propuesta de Ley llamada Iniciativa 976 amenaza nuestro futuro. Esta ley recorta el financiamiento para arreglar puentes inseguros, crear nuevas vías de tren a lugares como Federal Way, y provee servicio de transporte publico del que dependen nuestras comunidades. La Iniciativa 976 agravara la vialidad, dejándonos un tráfico paralizado y alejados de nuestra familia. Aprende más sobre los altos costos de la Iniciativa 976 en www.No976.org. Vota NO en la Iniciativa 976 antes del 5 de noviembre. Este anuncio es pagado por Permanent Defense PAC: PO Box 2921 en Redmond.

If you don’t understand Spanish, here’s an English language translation:

As Americans, we make decisions together about our future through elections. Sometimes we even get to vote on proposed new laws ourselves. This year, a proposed law called Initiative 976 threatens our future. It cuts funding to fix unsafe bridges, build new train lines to places like Federal Way, and provide bus service our communities rely on. 976 would make traffic worse, stranding us in bumper to bumper gridlock and keeping us apart from our families. Learn more about the heavy costs of 976 by going to www.no976.org. Then, vote NO on Initiative 976 by November 5th. This ad was paid for by Permanent Defense PAC: PO Box 2921, Redmond, WA 98073.

Here’s our I-1000 ad (M Radio Live version)::

If you’d prefer to read it, here’s the copy:

Como americanos juntos tomamos decisiones sobre nuestro futuro a través de elecciones. En ocaciones tenemos la oportunidad de votar en propuestas de leyes nuevas. Este año debemos decidir entre aprobar o rechazar una propuesta de ley llamada Iniciativa 1000. Esta ley permite a las agencias publicas dirigirse a las comunidades como la nuestra para darnos información de oportunidades de trabajo en gobierno y contratos gubernamentales. Si pasa la Ley 1000 estaremos mas cerca de la equidad de pago para las mujeres y ayudará a los veteranos a encontrar trabajo cuando regresen a casa a nuestro estado. Aprende más sobre la Iniciativa 1000 antes del 5 de noviembre. Este anuncio es pagado por Permanent Defense PAC: PO Box 2921 en Redmond.

If you don’t understand Spanish, here’s an English language translation:

As Americans, we make decisions together about our future through elections. Sometimes we even get to vote on proposed new laws ourselves. This year, we must decide whether to approve or reject a proposed law called Initiative 1000. 1000 allows public agencies to reach out to communities like ours to tell us about opportunities to apply for jobs and government contracts. Passage of 1000 will get us closer to equal pay for women and help veterans find jobs after they return home to our state. Learn more about 1000 helps all of us by going to www.wafairness.org. Then, vote APPROVED on Initiative 1000 by November 5th. This ad was paid for by Permanent Defense PAC: PO Box 2921, Redmond, WA 98073.

These ads will be on the air through Election Day on terrestrial and online stations.

Debunking Tim Eyman’s I-976 whoppers: Car tabs actually *do* pay for bridges and roads

From the Campaign TrailRethinking and Reframing

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.

In the last three weeks, perhaps out of irritation with Keep Washington Rolling’s television ads, Eyman has aggressively peddled a particularly egregious lie that can be easily demonstrated to be an utter falsehood.

EYMAN CLAIM: “Car tab taxes don’t pay for bridges or roads – gas taxes do.” (Source: Eyman’s Facebook Wall, October 6th, 2019).

Eyman also repeated this fabrication in an interview with KREM 2 News of Spokane:

Tim Eyman lies to KREM 2 News

Statement from Tim Eyman: “Gas taxes pay for highways and roads, car tab taxes do not. Not a penny of the car tab tax goes to roads — the government spends car tab taxes on non-road stuff.”

Ironically, this lie appeared onscreen during a segment entitled “Verify”. The lie was not subsequently debunked by reporter Tim Pham — though it should have been.

THE REALITY: Vehicle fees — or “car tab taxes”, in Eyman parlance — do in fact pay for bridges and roads. At the state level, many vehicle fees are deposited in accounts that benefit our roads and bridges, including the Motor Vehicle Fund. At the local level, more than sixty cities have formed what are known as transportation benefit districts to levy vehicle fees, primarily for street maintenance and road repairs.

Here’s an example of a Washington State vehicle registration renewal bill, circa 2019:

Fees and Donations
Registration License – Renewal $30.00
Vehicle Weight $25.00
Registration Filing $4.50
Registration Service Fee $8.00
License Plate Technology $0.25
Department of Licensing Service $0.50
State Parks Donation $5.00
RTA Excise Tax $67.00
Total $140.25

Notice the first line item… “Registration License — Renewal”. That thirty dollars benefits the Washington State Patrol, Washington State Ferries, and the Motor Vehicle Fund.

RCW 46.68.035 directs how the funds from that line item are to be invested:

Disposition of combined vehicle license fees.

The director shall forward all proceeds from vehicle license fees received by the director for vehicles registered under RCW 46.17.330, 46.17.350(1) (c) and (k), 46.17.355, and 46.17.400(1)(c) to the state treasurer to be distributed into accounts according to the following method:

(1) 22.36 percent must be deposited into the state patrol highway account of the motor vehicle fund;

(2) 1.375 percent must be deposited into the Puget Sound ferry operations account of the motor vehicle fund;

(3) 5.237 percent must be deposited into the transportation 2003 account (nickel account);

(4) 11.533 percent must be deposited into the transportation partnership account created in RCW 46.68.290; and

(5) The remaining proceeds must be deposited into the motor vehicle fund.

It says right there in the law that vehicle license fees (car tabs) must be deposited in accounts that provide funding for the State Patrol, Washington State Ferries, highway projects authorized by the Legislature, and the Motor Vehicle Fund.

The state’s Motor Vehicle Fund “shall be for the use of the state, and through state agencies, for the use of counties, cities, and towns for proper road, street, and highway purposes,” according to RCW46.68.070. (Emphasis is ours).

State vehicle weight fees, meanwhile, benefit the Freight Mobility Multimodal Account and the main Multimodal Account. These accounts fund all transportation modes, including our highway system as well as the state’s rail initiatives. See RCW 46.68.415.

And most cities levying vehicle fees are using them for street maintenance. Like Spokane, Sedro-Woolley, Prosser, or Vancouver.

So, again, when Tim Eyman says car tabs don’t pay for bridges and roads, he’s lying.

Why does Eyman lie so brazenly?

Because he knows that as satirist Jonathan Swift once observed, a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting its boots on.

Eyman’s idol Donald Trump, the Liar-in-Chief, knows this too, and takes full advantage.

At NPI, what we do when we read an Eyman email missive, see an Eyman Facebook posting, or hear a clip of Eyman is speaking is assume that everything Eyman has said is false until it can be proven true. This is not our normal practice; we like to assume that people mean well as opposed to assuming hostile, malicious intent.

But with known con artists like Tim Eyman, it’s absolutely necessary to invert the default.

Otherwise, the con artist succeeds in their aim of conning people.

Our advice to anyone covering I-976 or any of Tim Eyman’s activities is this: Trust nothing Eyman says. Nothing. If you ask Eyman for comment out of fairness, and he lies — as he so often does — call him on it. You can say: “Mr. Eyman told us this, but it’s actually not true… here’s what we found when we followed the facts.”

If media outlets allow Eyman’s lies to go unchecked, they spread. And that’s bad for Washington’s civic health. It promotes cynicism and mistrust in government.

As taxpayers, it’s important we connect the dots between the taxes and fees we pay and the services we get in return. We should all understand the workings of our government to the best of our ability. After all, these services are ours. We pay for them.

They belong to us.

Debunking Tim Eyman’s I-976 whoppers: There is no multi-billion dollar surplus available to backfill I-976 cuts

From the Campaign TrailRethinking and Reframing

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.

For example, last week, when contacted for comment by television stations like Seattle’s KING5 and Spokane’s KREM in response to the Keep Washington Rolling coalition’s autumn kickoffs in Spokane and Seattle, Eyman dishonestly asserted that there is a free lunch available to people who vote yes on I-976.

EYMAN CLAIM: “With the state having a $3.5 billion net surplus and record revenues, politicians threats, lies, and scare tactics are particularly unbelievable and absurd… There is more than enough revenue to backfill any affected government program.” (Source: King County leaders: $30 car tabs would be ‘catastrophic’ for transit projects — 09/18/2019)

THE REALITY: Wrong. What’s hard to believe is that Tim Eyman is still making outrageously false statements like this when he knows he can be fact checked.

Then again, perhaps he figures if Donald Trump can get away with it, so can he.

There is no ‘net surplus’ that can be used to backfill the revenue that would be lost if I-976 were to be implemented. It simply doesn’t exist.

And the comment that Washington is seeing ‘record revenues’ is meaningless.

The Washington State of today cannot be compared to past periods using absolute dollar figures, which Tim Eyman sometimes plots onto charts and trots out in support of his incorrect arguments about ‘record’ taxation.

To draw comparisons between different time periods, economists use a metric like income or expenditures per $1,000 in personal income.

As OFM’s data shows, in the 1990s, both income and expenditures per $1,000 in personal income was higher than it is today. That means that the extent to which we are investing in public services overall has actually decreased. In other words, taxes were higher twenty-five years ago than they are today. Even if Eyman’s mythical $3.5 billion existed, it wouldn’t be enough to offset the revenue I-976 would eliminate.

The Office of Financial Management has analyzed that I-976 would eliminate $4.2 billion in funding at the state and local levels over the next six years.

The impact is even worse over ten years… Eyman’s favorite time period.

Sound Transit has analyzed that the loss of the motor vehicle excise tax revenue would blow a giant hole in its financing, jeopardizing as much as $20 billion in transit expansion funding that voters already approved.

Senior Northwest Progressive Institute boardmember Gael Tarleton, who serves as Chair of the Finance Committee in the Washington State House of Representatives, says it’s vital that Eyman’s false claims be fact checked so voters aren’t misled by his lies.

“Tim Eyman talks about budgets as if he knows what he’s talking about. He’s lying,” said Tarleton. “There is no multi-billion dollar ‘net surplus’ available for the Legislature to tap if I-976 is implemented.” She elaborated:

Presently, there are two main sources of transportation funding in our state: the fuel tax and vehicle fees, which are supplemented by tolls and ferry fares in specific corridors.”

Fuel tax proceeds can only be used for highway purposes in accordance with our state constitution. That leaves vehicle fees as the sole major funding source for multimodal projects that empower pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users, and motorists to get where they want to go. State-level vehicle fee revenue pays for Amtrak Cascades intercity rail service, keeps our Washington State Patrol troopers on the beat, supports freight mobility infrastructure, and vital services like vanpools and transit grants for rural communities.

If we don’t defeat I-976, Eyman’s latest scheme, countless essential projects will be delayed or canceled, because the state doesn’t simply have any money sitting around to replace the lost billions. The cuts I-976 would necessitate will set back our efforts to invest in safer roads, earthquake-resistant bridges, and higher quality transit by two decades.

Despite the confidence he projects, Tim 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.

RE: Ensuring “balanced and fair” media coverage of Tim Eyman’s I-976

From the Campaign TrailRethinking and Reframing

This morning, Tim Eyman sent out an email grumbling about a story that KING5 ran on its website yesterday regarding the fiscal impact that his latest freedom of mobility destroying initiative would have on Sound Transit’s voter approved projects. Although the story was accompanied by a clip of an earlier KING5 segment that extensively featured Eyman and framed the issue in his favor, Eyman nevertheless cried foul.

Wrote Eyman: “Someone forwarded me a KING5 story after-the-fact about Sound Transit putting out something on our Initiative I-976. The story had nothing from the other side. That’s unfortunate. In the interests of balance and fairness, I would ask folks in the media to please call me and email me and allow me opportunity to respond.”

Actually, what’s truly unfortunate is that a not insignificant percentage of the coverage of I-976’s final signature turn in and qualification has lacked any opposition perspective at all, resulting in extremely favorable, one-sided stories benefiting Tim Eyman.

For example, this article, which appeared on the websites of many local newspapers around the state (Lake Chelan Mirror, Lewis County Chronicle, South Whidbey Record, Sequim Gazette, etc.) did not offer any opposition perspective or analysis of the impacts of I-976 whatsoever:

‘Bring Back Our $30 Car Tabs’ Initiative Could Be on November Ballot

By Emma Epperly, WNPA Olympia News Bureau

“Bring Back Our $30 Car Tabs,” an initiative that would limit annual motor-vehicle registration fees to $30 except for voter-approved charges, was sent to the Legislature for consideration by the Secretary of State.

Initiative 976 received enough signatures to potentially make it to the November 2019 ballot. The initiative can take three different pathways by either being approved as is by Legislators, by Legislators passing on the initiative and it being voted on by the public, or by Legislators passing an alternative, in which case voters would choose between the two versions in November.

I- 976 also would repeal, reduce, or remove the ability to impose a variety of vehicle taxes and fees except for those that are voter approved. It would also require the use of Kelley Blue Book values as a basis for vehicle taxes.

Tim Eyman is the lobbyist behind the initiative, who has been proposing and passing a variety of initiatives since 1999 with Initiative 695: Washington Voter Approval for Tax Increases. I 695 limited license tab fees to $30 and was overturned by the Washington Supreme Court in 2000 because it was not limited to one subject, a requirement of all initiatives.

Eyman wants I- 976 to pass “so that every vehicle owner in the state of Washington would write a check for 30 dollars each year to register their vehicle and cap it so that state government can’t jack it up and local government can’t jack it up,” he said.

According to Eyman, 61 cities in Washington have imposed vehicle fees.

Eyman has proposed a host of bills that all get at one issue. “Big picture, it’s less about the money and more about respecting the decisions voters make,” said Eyman.

Meanwhile, Tim Eyman’s friends on talk radio (like Dori Monson and John Carlson), have neglected to seek out an opposition perspective, even after having Eyman as their on-air guest many times to promote his initiative.

Monson and Carlson may be commentators as opposed to reporters striving for objectivity, but why not afford their listeners an opportunity to hear the case against Eyman’s proposal?

The public will never hear an accounting of the impacts from Eyman because his position is that there just wouldn’t be any.

Eyman’s “Chicken Little” sneers notwithstanding, I-976 would wipe out billions in funding for transportation projects at every level (state, regional, and local). All Washingtonians would be negatively affected.

Our one page, downloadable fact sheet summarizes the many essential services that would take a hit with implementation of I-976.

The team at the Northwest Progressive Institute and the NO on I-976 Coalition (which includes a growing list of organizations like All Aboard Washington, The Urbanist, and 350 Seattle) greatly appreciates all the reporters and media outlets who have tried to incorporate the perspectives of both sides into their reporting instead of just Eyman’s side… like Drew Mikkelsen and Kipp Robertson of KING5.

For Washingtonians to cast an informed vote on I-976 in the coming general election, they need to hear more than just Tim Eyman’s deceptive slogans and talking points.

It is absolutely essential that everyone understand that Eyman’s intent with I-976 is to wipe out funding for transit, local roads, ferries, freight mobility, and multimodal infrastructure… not save drivers money.

Consider that Eyman could have chosen to target tolls or fuel taxes with his latest initiative, which many drivers pay every week or even every weekday. He didn’t. Instead, he’s focused on vehicle fees. Why? Because vehicle fees are a major revenue source for non-highway transportation projects in Washington… projects Eyman (a zealous “road warrior”) doesn’t believe in since they don’t give him more pavement to drive his car on.

Then consider Eyman has been trying to qualify I-976 for three years running now. Sound Transit is, by Eyman’s own admission, his white whale. He’s obsessed with its destruction.

He’s openly admitted this when speaking in front of friendly audiences. For instance, in a March 1st, 2016 appearance before the Eastside Republican Club in Bellevue, Eyman said:

“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.

Eyman was unable to qualify an initiative in 2016 or 2017 to rip the heart of Sound Transit, but he didn’t stop trying.

With I-976 destined for the November ballot, it’s imperative that we have a substantive conversation about the impacts so everyone understands how our communities will lose if this measure is implemented. We encourage reporters, editors, and producers to study the measure carefully and ensure that audiences are aware of the damage I-976 will inflict in places that are far away from Sound Transit’s jurisdiction, especially communities in central, eastern, and southwest Washington.

Statement in response to qualification of Tim Eyman’s I-976

From the Campaign Trail

This afternoon, Secretary of State Kim Wyman announced that Tim Eyman’s Initiative 976 has qualified as an initiative to the Legislature for 2019. According to Wyman’s office, 19,738 petition sheets were submitted for I-976 bearing 352,093 signatures. (The current requirement for qualification is 259,622 valid signatures; sponsors are advised to submit at least 325,000 signatures to offset duplicate and invalid signatures.)

I-976 seeks to repeal vehicle fees at the state, regional, and local levels, which would devastate funding for essential services like Amtrak Cascades (a joint service funded by the people of the States of Washington and Oregon, which provides Washington’s only rail link with Vancouver, British Columbia) and freight mobility.

I-976 also attempts to imperil Sound Transit’s voter-approved ST3 system expansion package by repealing one of ST3’s three funding sources. This could result in light rail, commuter rail, express bus, and bus rapid transit projects being reduced or scaled back.

The destruction wouldn’t stop there, I-976 further seeks to repeal the statutes that allow ferry districts and transportation benefit districts to levy vehicle fees for local projects. Sixty cities of all sizes on both sides of the Cascades currently rely on vehicle fees for projects our communities need.

Most of those cities (for example, Battle Ground) use their vehicle fee revenue to fund road maintenance and street improvements. Seattle, the state’s largest city, uses its voter-approved fee revenue to fund King County Metro service hours that are helping riders cope with the current closure of State Route 99 through the city’s downtown core.

Northwest Progressive Institute Founder and Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve — who has seventeen years of experience organizing opposition to Eyman initiatives — issued the following statement in response to the announcement that I-976 has qualified as an initiative to the Legislature for 2019.

“Tim Eyman’s I-976 is a recipe for horrific highway gridlock, derelict roads, and stranded travelers,” said Villeneuve. “It would eliminate essential services that Washingtonians depend on, especially in rural areas, jeopardizing freedom of mobility and eliminating good paying jobs in construction and the building trades. This initiative is a wrecking ball aimed squarely at the vital multimodal transportation infrastructure we’ve been working hard to build.”

“If we don’t stop I-976, then the bipartisan progress we’ve made over the last decade and a half towards better connecting Washington will be halted and reversed. We simply cannot afford this destructive initiative.”

“Fortunately, a broad and diverse coalition is forming to give Eyman’s I-976 the vigorous opposition it deserves. We invite Washingtonians of all political affiliations who value freedom of mobility and good roads to join us in working for the defeat of I-976. Every day, we hear from more people and organizations who are gravely concerned about the impact I-976 would have, and are ready to take action to protect the essential services it seeks to harm. We’re encouraged by this response and believe that by working together, we the people of Washington can defeat I-976.”

For additional information, please visit no976.org.

Washington State Democratic Party takes position opposing Eyman’s I-976

EndorsementsFrom the Campaign TrailThreat Analysis

Good news: The Washington State Democratic Party has formally declared its opposition to Tim Eyman’s latest attempt to wipe out transit funding at the state, regional, and local level. The party yesterday went on record against I-976 at its autumn meeting in Spokane.

The motion unanimously adopted by the party’s governing central committee — which consists principally of two individuals from each county and two individuals from each legislative district in the state — reads as follows:

RESOLVED: That the Washington State Democratic Party take a position opposing Tim Eyman’s I-976, an initiative to the Legislature for 2019, which seeks to wipe out funding for Amtrak Cascades and Sound Transit 3 plus transit service and multimodal projects at the city level, and urges all Washingtonians to decline to sign if approached by a petitioner.

I-976 is Eyman’s fourth attempt in three years to gut voter-approved transit projects he’s obsessed with destroying, chiefly Sound Transit’s Link light rail expansion. However, Eyman’s I-976 wouldn’t just hurt Sound Transit. It would also rip away funding for sidewalks, road improvements, and bus service at the city level. The state’s largest cities (Seattle, Spokane, and Tacoma) all utilize vehicle fees for transportation improvements within their boundaries, and so do small cities like East Wenatchee and Clarkston.

Eyman has until January 4th, 2019 to collect and turn in signatures for the measure. NPI expects it to qualify and is working to ensure that it goes down to defeat should it appear before voters in October/November of 2019.

Tim Eyman gets a gift from NPI’s Permanent Defense at his roadside press conference

From the Campaign TrailRethinking and Reframing

Tim Eyman didn’t have petitions to submit today to qualify an initiative to the November 2018 ballot, but the lawbreaking initiative promoter decided to show up at the Secretary of State’s Elections Annex anyway in a bid to garner attention for I-976, his fourth attempt in three years to wipe out transit investments across Washington State.

Stationed in front of a pickup truck adorned with a banner and tubs of I-976 petitions, Eyman kept a steady stream of commentary coming to any reporters who would listen about the I-976 signature drive as well as the Alliance for Gun Responsibility’s I-1639, which Eyman opposes and which is likely headed to the ballot.

To signify and reaffirm our dedication to vigorously opposing and defeating I-976, we provided Eyman and his associate Mike Fagan (a Spokane City Councilmember) with a token of our commitment to protecting our vital transit investments. Each received a copy of the mini-poster below depicting Link light rail vehicles in action.

Link is our newest transit mode and is liberating an increasing number of riders from gridlock in one of our state’s most crowded, congested corridors. It is being expanded north, east, south,  and west simultaneously thanks to voter approval of Sound Transit 2 in 2008 and Sound Transit 3 in 2016.

We Love Our Light RailEyman claims to have collected 202,172 signatures for I-976 so far, which for all we know could be a made up number. He needs 350,000 by January 4th, 2019.

As it so happens, almost exactly twelve years ago, Eyman appeared on that very same Olympia street in a Darth Vader costume to announce that he had collected 142,613 signatures for I-917, which, like I-976, was an attempt to slash vehicle fees. A few weeks later, Eyman returned for his turn-in event, this time dressed up as Buzz Lightyear.

Not long after, the Secretary of State revealed that an insufficient number of signatures had been submitted to allow the initiative to pass a random sample check.

A subsequent complete check of all signatures found that the initiative did not have enough to qualify. Consequently, I-917 never appeared on the ballot.

Eyman declared publicly that he had submitted enough signatures to qualify, and alleged (without foundation) that some of the I-917 petitions had been “pilfered”.

In an attempt to prop up his baseless claim, Eyman circulated a letter that purported to show the weekly signature totals for I-917. Hilariously, the total for the week of Eyman’s event in Olympia contradicted the number that Eyman had given to reporters, prompting us to ask: Was Eyman lying then, or is he lying now? (Either way, Eyman lied.)

  • 1
  • 2
  • 5

You are here:

View our I-976 Impact Map

Permanent Defense has created a tool for visualizing projects and services that could be lost if Tim Eyman’s I-976  is implemented. Take a look:

NO on I-976 Impact Map

We’ve also published a guide to the map which you can read here.

What we do

Permanent Defense works to protect Washington by building a first line of defense against threats to the common wealth and Constitution of the Evergreen State — like Tim Eyman's initiative factory. Learn more.

Protecting Washington Since 2002

We’re social

Follow Permanent Defense on Facebook and Twitter for campaign and project updates.

Permanent Defense on Facebook Permanent Defense on Twitter

Newsroom Archives