August 8th, 2005
In an e-mail to supporters today, copied to the media, Tim Eyman tried to attack and vilify lawmakers for their tremendous courage in passing legislation that will move Washington forward.
Tim also revealed that he needs a civic lesson.
If Mr. Eyman knew anything about the government of the United States of America and of the state of Washington, he would know that it is a republic. In a republic, citizens vote to elect representatives who pass laws and run the government. Those representatives are directly responsible to the people.
Mr. Eyman acts as if the legislature does not have the authority to pass a transportation package or increase taxes to fund safer roads – which the state Constitution explicitly says it does.
Consider the following:
- Legislators do not need to go to the people to obtain approval for every law they pass. That completely defeats the purpose of a republic and is wholly impractical. Legislators should also not be guided just by past votes on initiatives and referenda. They should look to the future and not the past in determining what is best for the state of Washington.
- Making tough decisions is difficult. Lawmakers looked to the future of Washington State and saw that more funding would be necessary to invest in a good transportation network. We have crumbling bridges and roadways that need replacing. So they passed a new transportation funding package to invest in our state’s future and our region’s future despite pressure just to maintain the status quo. This was an admirable effort.
- Similarly, lawmakers made decisions to invest in better education for our state and to not be constrained by supermajority requirements that allow a minority to control tax votes in the state Legislature. If voters don’t like those decisions, they can always elect new representatives. That’s how a republic works.
- The initiative process has disadvantages. Mr. Eyman says he “reveres” initiatives for their “transparency and consistency”. Initiatives are not transparent. They’re not subject to the legislative process, which allows for public hearings, compromise, amendments, and changes. The legislative process produces better results because it allows for revision and for collaboration. Mr. Eyman’s initiatives have a history of being poorly drafted and unconstitutional.
- Christine Gregoire’s words are being manipulated. When Gregoire was campaigning for governor, she never said she would be against any tax increases. She did say she was against general increases in the sales tax. Eyman and others are distorting her language to make it appear as if she broke her word.
Lawmakers and members of the media don’t need a lecture from Mr. Eyman on the meaning of courage. This is coming from someone who pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars in supporters’ donations for months while maintaining he was unpaid.
Was that a courageous decision, Mr. Eyman? Was that “having the personal strength and the intestinal fortitude to follow through on your promises”? Of course not.
Tim Eyman is the last person who should be preaching about moral values.
Washington State’s lawmakers and Governor Christine Gregoire, on the other hand, should be praised for their courageous leadership and a legislative session filled with good accomplishments.
Mr. Eyman’s attempts to vilify our state’s leaders should be ignored.