Category Archives: Statements & Advisories

Must-read editorial: “Tim Eyman is in a heap of big trouble”

In the CourtsStatements & Advisories

This morning, The Olympian published an outstanding editorial condemning Tim Eyman’s continued attempts to escape responsibility for his lawbreaking, and warning Washingtonians against contributing to his legal defense fund, which Eyman has been using to pay tens of thousands of dollars in recently accrued contempt penalties, attorney’s fees, and court costs.

Eyman was held in contempt of court over seven months ago for failing to turn over records sought by Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office in the main State of Washington v. Eyman case. A total of four campaign finance enforcement cases were filed by Ferguson’s office in 2016 and 2017 against Eyman and his associates. Three were filed two years ago in September of 2016; a fourth was filed in March of 2017.

The main State of Washington v. Eyman case concerns the initiative promoter’s illegal acts in support of his “initiative on initiative” (I-517) which voters overwhelmingly rejected five years ago. Eyman qualified I-517 in 2012 through a stealth signature drive with money he transferred from one of his other campaign committees through an out of state entity back to himself and his associates.

Donors to that other campaign did not know that Eyman was using their money to qualify an entirely different initiative.

“State law keeps tightening like a vice on Washington’s most prolific initiative promoter, Tim Eyman,” The Olympian noted. “This vice should tighten. Another quarter-turn or more is needed to force out the truth.”

The editorial goes on to point out that there’s little difference between giving money to one of Eyman’s political committees and giving money to his legal defense fund.

“In Eyman’s solicitations, he’s arguing that his future as an anti-tax initiative promoter is at stake. Which sounds a lot like a campaign solicitation,” the editorial board noted. “Indeed, Eyman has bills to pay. One one hand, he is pushing initiatives. But he could face fines of more than $2 million if AG [Attorney General Bob] Ferguson is successful with his lawsuit alleging wrongdoing.”

“It’s hard to believe that anyone who donates to Eyman’s Go Fund Me account for legal costs are different from those who donate to his political efforts,” the board added. “Absent court orders for Eyman to publicly release the identity of his defense-fund donors, we’ll never know which special-interest carve-outs or protections in future Eyman initiatives are not pay backs for the help they give in 2018 or 2019 to keep Eyman solvent and in the initiative business.”

While state law requires that the identities of donors to campaigns be disclosed, Eyman is assuring prospective donors to his legal defense fund that they will remain anonymous.

“I’m asking everyone to match or exceed the amount you’ve given in past years (it’ll be anonymous and unreported since it’s going towards my legal bills),” Eyman says at the end of one of his fundraising letters.

“We wholeheartedly agree with The Olympian that state law should be changed to regulate legal defense funds established by individuals or entities facing allegations that they violated our campaign finance laws,” said Northwest Progressive Institute founder and Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve, who has been organizing opposition to Eyman’s initiative factory for over sixteen years.

“The status quo is untenable. Perhaps our state needs an independent inspector general with the authority to examine bank statements and other records to ensure that funds raised for legal defense are actually being spent on legal defense.”

Eyman is currently fundraising both for his legal defense fund and for his next con, Initiative 976. On one website, he asks his followers to give to the former; on another website, he asks his followers to give to the latter. And he’s using his mailing list to pitch each. It matters not that the money is ostensibly for different purposes and being raised through separate funnels, for ultimately it ends up in a bank account that Eyman controls.

Because Eyman pays himself out of his campaign coffers (and even gets kickbacks from his main vendor, Citizen Solutions), he’s always fundraising for himself, no matter what entity he’s asking people to make a check out to.

This isn’t the first time Eyman has fundraised in tandem like this.

Fifteen years ago, Eyman solicited donations for a legal defense fund at at the same time he was raising money for an initiative, I-807. Then, as now, Eyman was in heaps of trouble for violating our campaign finance laws.

After Eyman’s solicitations became public knowledge, founding NPI boardmember Steve Zemke, who remains involved today with NPI as a senior advisor, called on the Public Disclosure Commission to investigate Eyman’s personal fundraising.

“This seems to be a pretty transparent effort to allow campaign funds to be sent directly to him without being disclosed to the public,” Zemke wrote in a complaint filed with the Public Disclosure Commission.

“Because they wouldn’t be reported, the public would not know how much or who gave money to support Tim Eyman to allow him to donate his services to campaigns. Are there secret big donors supporting his campaigns like I-807 who do not want the public to know who they are or how much they are willing to give to allow Eyman to do ‘free’ consulting?”

The PDC ultimately declined to take action and dismissed Zemke’s complaint.

State lawmakers need to address this loophole in our public disclosure law when they return in January. As The Olympian said: “Let’s not look away and pretend there isn’t a behind-the-scenes maneuver under way here. Let’s hold political actors including lobbying interests and others accountable for the money they spend in politics. That includes politics-related legal skirmishes that could shield actual campaign contributions.”

Let the people vote? Nope! Tim Eyman calls for I-1639 to be blocked from ballot

Rethinking and ReframingStatements & Advisories

This afternoon, in an email sent out to his followers and the press, Tim Eyman did something we haven’t seen him do before… something which makes it laughably, ridiculously clear that Eyman’s longtime rallying cry of Let the people vote is a total and utter crock. He publicly called on Washington’s judiciary to issue an injunction blocking an initiative that he opposes (I-1639) from appearing on the statewide ballot.

The measure in question, sponsored by the Alliance for Gun Responsibility, would raise the minimum age to purchase semi-automatic firearms, impose new safe storage requirements, and set up an enhanced background check system. The National Rifle Association (NRA) and Alan Gottlieb have separately filed suit to block it from the ballot on procedural grounds.

“Tomorrow this judge should boot the billionaires’ anti-gun-rights initiative off the ballot,” Eyman wrote. “It’ll send a message that even billionaires have to follow the law. And besides, because they have unlimited resources, they can sponsor it again next year (and next time they’re likely to follow the law). So voters won’t be ‘robbed’ of their right to vote on this initiative, their vote will just be delayed.”

Three years ago, when a coalition of progressive organizations sued to block Eyman’s billionaire-funded I-1366 from the ballot on scope grounds in Huff v. Wyman, Eyman’s response was to scream Let the people vote incessantly, to accuse his opposition of having a total lack of trust in the voters, and to assert that the people’s First Amendment rights would be violated if the courts ruled against him.

Here’s a few snippets of what Eyman said then:

If you can’t win a vote, you try to cancel it or block it.”

— Tim Eyman, July 31st, 2015

“We are very confident the voters will get to vote on I-1366. Why? Because in our state’s 100 year history, the courts have never — not once — prevented the people from voting on a statewide initiative that turned in the required signatures and was certified for the vote by the Secretary of State. And there have been 2 unanimous state supreme court rulings — in 2005 and 2007 — that rejected lawsuits just like this one, making clear that the voters’ First Amendment right to vote on qualified initiatives would not be violated.”

— Tim Eyman, August 14th, 2015

“Because opponents of I-1366 can’t win the vote, they’re desperate to stop the vote. The voters will be completely disenfranchised and their First Amendment rights negated if opponents succeed at blocking the vote on I-1366.”

— Tim Eyman, August 14th, 2015

“Opponents of I-1366 clearly don’t trust the voters and believe the people aren’t smart enough to understand our measure. We do. We trust the citizens to make this decision and we’re confident the people ‘get’ why I-1366 is necessary.”

— Tim Eyman, September 4th, 2015

All emphasis in boldface is ours. While Huff v. Wyman was before the courts, Eyman also repeatedly circulated this statement from his pal State Senator Pam Roach:

No one is harmed by a public vote on an initiative. It is the voters who will be irreparably harmed if Initiative 1366 is removed from the ballot and blocked from a vote because it will prevent the voters from expressing their views on the measure. It is the 339,236 voters who signed petitions who will be irreparably harmed if Initiative 1366 is blocked because they signed those petitions to ensure a vote. … I urge that the court not take the unprecedented and undemocratic step of preventing the people from voting on a qualified statewide initiative.”

— Former State Senator Pam Roach, now a Pierce County Councilmember (amicus brief submitted during the Huff v. Wyman case, 2015)

Again, emphasis is ours.

Whatever happened to “Let the people vote!”? Whatever happened to trusting the voters, who are smart enough to understand a measure like I-1639? Whatever happened to “no one is harmed by a public vote on an initiative”?

And what about the First Amendment rights of the hundreds of thousands of voters who signed I-1639, which according to 2015 Tim Eyman’s logic, would be violated if I-1639 were to be blocked from the ballot?

As we can see, none of that matters… not to 2018 Tim Eyman, anyway… because I-1639 is not a right wing initiative. I-1639 is a progressive initiative that Eyman opposes.

Is it any surprise that Tim Eyman’s loyalty is to his friends who are suing to keep I-1639 off the ballot, not to the initiative process that he claims to love so much? Not to us. We’ve always believed that for Eyman, initiatives are a means to an end, which is getting rich while wrecking our government so it can’t work the way our Founders intended it to.

Eyman’s argument that the voters won’t be harmed if I-1639 gets blocked from the ballot because I-1639 has proponents who are rich enough to fund another signature drive next year is deeply illuminating.

The same could have been said about his I-1366 three years ago: billionaire hedge fund manager Kenneth Fisher is one of the richest men on Earth, and real estate developer Clyde Holland is quite wealthy too.

Both of them could have easily afforded to bankroll another Eyman initiative that was not outside of the scope of the initiative power, and in fact, Eyman was counting on them funding a follow-up to I-1366 no matter what the courts decided.

But they chose not to, and consequently, Eyman was not able to qualify anything to the ballot in 2016… or 2017… or this year.

As Eyman emphasized three years ago, Washington’s courts have long been reluctant to block a statewide initiative from the ballot. The only statewide initiative to have ever been invalidated by the Washington State Supreme Court was a measure that impermissibly sought to amend the United States Constitution. In Philadelphia v. Gregoire, the Court ruled that measure could not move forward (it had not received a ballot title).

If I-1639 deserves to be blocked from the ballot on procedural grounds, then past Tim Eyman initiatives also should have been blocked on scope and procedural grounds. However, Washington’s courts have repeatedly chosen not to void measures like Eyman’s with a sufficient number of valid signatures from appearing on the ballot, no matter how serious their defects were.

2018 Tim Eyman nevertheless wants the judiciary to take the “unprecedented and undemocratic step” of preventing I-1639 from heading to the ballot for voters to consider.

Let the people vote? That’s so 2015!

NPI congratulates Sound Transit on East Link tunnel breakthrough in downtown Bellevue

AnnouncementsStatements & Advisories

Construction on Sound Transit’s vitally important East Link light rail extension reached an important milestone this week when contractors digging a tunnel under downtown Bellevue broke through to daylight at the future site of the station that will serve the city’s central core. The hole-through was expected to take place at the end of 2018, but construction has gone so well that it happened five months ahead of schedule.

Northwest Progressive Institute founder and Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve congratulated Sound Transit on the breakthrough, noting that expansion of the region’s light rail spine is crucial to the realization of a future that will enable Puget Sound residents to enjoy greater freedom of mobility.

“As a future East Link rider, I’m thrilled to see the progress that Sound Transit and its contracting teams have made on this vitally important project,” Villeneuve said.

“Light rail will revolutionize not only cross-lake travel between Seattle and the Eastside, but also commutes and trips between Eastside neighborhoods. It’s truly reassuring to see girders and columns rising up along each part of the alignment, from Judkins Park to Mercer Island to Bellevue to Redmond, NPI’s hometown.”

East Link (which was approved in 2008 as part of Sound Transit 2) may be on track and headed for completion, but other communities are at risk of losing the voter-approved Link expansion they voted for, Villeneuve warned.

“Two years ago, our region decided to invest in transit options that we know will give people an alternative to sitting in traffic. We voted to expand light rail in four directions as well as add more express bus, commuter rail, and bus rapid transit service,” Villeneuve said. “Sadly, Tim Eyman and other Sound Transit 3 opponents do not respect the will of the voters and are seeking not only to sabotage Sound Transit 3, but to wipe out funding for Amtrak Cascades plus local roads, sidewalks, and bus service with Initiative 976.”

“At NPI, we are mobilizing to fight this threat to our transit investments. Implementation of I-976 would cause catastrophic damage to every part of Washington State — from Spokane to Kelso and Anacortes to Clarkston,” Villeneuve said.

“Every Washingtonian would lose under this initiative, whether they live in a rural community, a suburban neighborhood, or the big city. That’s why the team at the Northwest Progressive Institute is accelerating our work to unite Washingtonians in support of Amtrak Cascades, Sound Transit 3, and essential local projects, so that we get the transportation improvements that we sorely need.”

In the past, initiatives similar to I-976 have benefited from a lack of vigorous, year-round opposition. But those days ended with the establishment of Permanent Defense.

“An inclusive economy requires an inclusive, multimodal transportation system that gives people choices. Thanks to great work by our elected representatives and sound decisions we’ve made at the ballot as a people, we are moving away from an auto-centric transportation system and towards a human-centric one,” Villeneuve said.

“But communities that are anxiously awaiting vital transit and road improvements are at risk of not getting them if we don’t neutralize threats like I-976. So while we are thrilled to celebrate today’s big East Link breakthrough, we are mindful of the need to protect all the projects that are still on the drawing board or undergoing final design.”

On Monday, July 23rd, NPI will unveil a new NO on I-976 website meant to help voters understand the threat that this destructive initiative represents, and enable concerned citizens and organizations to join the coalition opposed to the measure. The site’s availability will be announced through NPI’s publications as well as via news release.

Tim Eyman fails to qualify an initiative to the ballot for the third consecutive year

Statements & AdvisoriesThreat Analysis

This Friday, July 6th, is the deadline to submit signatures for initiatives to the people for 2018. For the third consecutive year, Tim Eyman won’t have any petitions to turn in, which means that Washingtonians will again be spared in November from having to vote on another destructive scheme cooked up by the lawbreaking initiative promoter.

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We’re ready to go to bat again to stop Tim Eyman’s I-976 and defend our voter-approved transit projects

Statements & AdvisoriesThreat Analysis

The freedom to travel light is a beautiful thing

Freedom of mobility — the freedom to travel light — is a beautiful thing.

More people need that freedom.

But if Tim Eyman succeeds with his fourth attempt in three years to eviscerate funding for Sound Transit, Amtrak Cascades, Metro bus service, and local transportation benefit districts around Washington State, sorely needed efforts to make freedom of mobility a reality for millions of Washingtonians a reality will be gravely harmed.

That’s why we’re springing into action to defeat Tim Eyman’s I-976, which Eyman filed last month and claimed he has money to pursue today. In the coming weeks, we will do everything we can to mobilize a coalition to successfully defend the multimodal transportation investments we’ve committed to.

For over sixteen years, Permanent Defense has worked in partnership with like-minded Washingtonians to safeguard the future of transit. That work continues in 2018.

When PD started in 2002, Washington’s largest urban center barely had any rail transit. Today, we have the Tacoma Link Streetcar, two Seattle Streetcar lines, a Sounder North commuter line, an expanded Sounder South commuter line reaching all the way to Lakewood, and a growing Link light rail spine consisting of sixteen stations, with three more due in 2021 and over a dozen due in 2023. In many communities, we also have expanded bus service, more bike lanes and bike paths, and additional sidewalks.

Washington State as a whole, meanwhile, has expanded Amtrak Cascades and given cities and counties tools for funding the transit and local road improvements they need… tools like transportation benefit districts, or TBDs.

All of these investments are now threatened by Tim Eyman and whichever wealthy benefactor has been so foolish as to give Eyman half a million dollars to do I-976.

This threat deserves to be met with immediate, vigorous opposition — and it will be.

To all Washingtonians who understand that a people-oriented transportation system can’t just be about more pavement for more cars, we invite you to join us.

How can you help? For starters, make a donation to Permanent Defense PAC, or sign up to receive NO on I-976 updates from Permanent Defense. By getting involved, you can be a part of protecting freedom of mobility in Washington State.

Don’t get scammed! Washingtonians, shun Tim Eyman’s I-977

Rethinking and ReframingStatements & AdvisoriesThreat Analysis

Well, that didn’t take long.

After failing to interest his wealthy benefactors in a proposal to force a vote on the idea of banning taxes on wealth — and after failing to convince Cooke Aquaculture to give him money to run a referendum campaign to force a vote on the state’s new law phasing out the farming of invasive fish — disgraced initiative promoter Tim Eyman has a new con.

Eyman revealed in an email this morning that he’s picked a new scheme to hawk that he hopes will return his initiative factory to relevance in 2019: Initiative 977, a measure that would apply the Public Records Act (as currently written) to the state Legislature.

Back in December, Eyman told KOMO 4 News and NPI that his initiative for 2018 would be a ban on capital gains taxes and income taxes.

But as we said at the time, that initiative was dead on arrival unless Eyman found wealthy benefactors to pony up the money to finance a signature drive. He didn’t, and has now given up any pretense of qualifying that scheme to the November 2018 ballot.

More recently, Eyman tried to interest Cooke Aquaculture in giving him money to front a referendum campaign that would have subject State Representative Kris Lytton’s bill phasing out the farming of invasive fish to a public vote. But Cooke’s Joel Richardson made it clear that’s not going to happen, telling The Undercurrent and The Seattle Times the company had no interest in being associated with Eyman — to Eyman’s deep disgust.

Having failed to get either of those schemes off the ground for 2018, Eyman appears to have thrown in the towel on making the November ballot this annum, which would mean that for the third consecutive year, Washingtonians will not see any initiative on their general election ballots with Eyman’s name on it. That has not happened since the 1990s.

Instead, Eyman is trying for 2019 with Initiative 977, an initiative to the Legislature. Eyman is apparently hoping that he can rebound with a measure that will appeal to a wider spectrum of Washingtonians than his usual destructive tax-cutting and tax-limiting schemes, which he has had no success trying to get on the ballot the last few years.

But no one should be fooled. Tim Eyman is not doing I-977 because he believes in the cause of open government. He’s doing it because he’s desperate to regain relevance, and he’s willing to latch on to any cause that might attract volunteer signature gatherers.

“I-977 is a scam that all Washingtonians should steer clear of,” said Northwest Progressive Institute founder and Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve, who has over sixteen years of experience organizing opposition to Tim Eyman initiatives. “Nothing good can come from working with Tim Eyman, no matter how noble the cause may seem.”

“Tim has proved, repeatedly, that he is unworthy of anyone’s trust. He lies with impunity to the press, the public, and his own supporters on a regular basis. He has taken money given to him for one initiative and secretly used it on another. He has steered money he said would be used on initiative campaigns into his own pockets for his personal use. And he has refused to cooperate when the authorities showed up to investigate.”

“Eyman’s I-977 petition design contains a headline that screams ‘What are they hiding?’ We could ask the same question about his initiative factory. What’s he hiding?”

“For years, Eyman has tried to obstruct the State’s investigation into his lawbreaking by withholding documents and records sought by the State to establish the truth as to what really happened. This pattern of obstruction continued even after the State filed four actions against Eyman in Superior Court following investigations by the PDC and the AG’s office, and it has now resulted in Eyman and his associates being held in contempt of court by Thurston County Superior Court Judge James Dixon.”

“Fortunately, Washington already has organizations like the Washington Coalition for Open Government (WCOG) and the Allied Daily Newspapers of Washington working on the cause of open, more transparent government,” Villeneuve noted.

“Tim Eyman is about the least qualified person in our state to helm an initiative that aims to make government more transparent.”

“Before and during the 2019 session, there will be opportunities for media, lawmakers, and activists alike to meet and propose ideas for making the Legislature’s business more transparent. That process, not Eyman’s I-977, is the way forward,” Villeneuve said.

Lawmakers are discussing levying a capital gains tax because most Washingtonians want progressive tax reform

Legislation & TestimonyRethinking and ReframingStatements & Advisories

Next Friday, the House Finance Committee will be holding a hearing on Representative Kris Lytton’s HB 2967, which would levy a capital gains excise tax on the wealthiest Washingtonians and use the revenue to partially offset recent property tax increases.

The prospect of a capital gains tax (which Oregon and Idaho already have) terrifies disgraced initiative promoter Tim Eyman, who selfishly wants Washington’s tax code to remain as upside down as possible so there will always be an appetite for future anti-tax initiatives sponsored by him and his buddies Jack and Mike Fagan.

Accordingly, Eyman has taken a break from bashing lawmakers over the prospect of initiative process reform (which also terrifies him) to launch a broadside against the bill, in which he compared taxes to heroin, and legislators to heroin users.

“The first injection of heroin is a rush, but after that the user needs more and more and more to get that same feeling,” Eyman wrote. “It’s like that with politicians and taxes — they love the feeling of euphoria that comes from imposing a new tax, but they need to increase it again and again and again to maintain their high.”

This is utter nonsense, of course — anyone who has reported on the Legislature or followed the Legislature for any length of time knows that revenue bills are huge lifts that can require years of work, even when there are Republican lawmakers who are willing to vote aye — but the more important point here is that lawmakers are contemplating a levying a capital gains tax on the wealthy because the people of Washington want one.

NPI’s statewide research surveys have consistently found robust majorities in support of the idea of a capital gains tax on the wealthy. In 2015, when we first asked about the idea, 55% of respondents answered favorably. Last year, when we surveyed 887 likely November voters, the percentage in support of a capital gains tax was 57%.

Here’s the question we asked:

Do you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose taxing the capital gains of wealthy individuals to help pay for public schools, colleges and universities?

Answers were as follows:

  • Support: 57%
    • Strongly support: 44%
    • Somewhat support: 13%
  • Oppose: 41%
    • Somewhat oppose: 12%
    • Strongly oppose: 29%
  • Not sure: 1%

Conducted by the respected firm Public Policy Polling, the aforementioned survey of 887 likely 2018 Washington State voters was in the field from June 27th-28th, 2017; all respondents participated via landline. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.3% at the 95% confidence level.

“Washington has many strengths as a state, but our tax code is not one of them,” noted NPI founder and Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve. “Our regressive tax code requires those with the least to pay the most as a percentage of their income. That’s upside down. Levying a capital gains excise tax would enable us to take a step towards correcting this imbalance. A just tax system should be based on ability to pay, and ours isn’t. This is a problem Washingtonians want to see their elected representatives address.”

The fiscal note for HB 2967 is available from the Office of Financial Management (OFM). The fiscal note assumes that approximately 48,000 taxpayers would pay capital gains taxes (for taxes due in 2020) if the bill were adopted in its current form. $824.5 million would be raised in Fiscal Year 2020, and $447 million in Fiscal Year 2021.

The state also created a ten-year fiscal projection for HB 2967 as required by Tim Eyman’s I-960, which Eyman linked to in his email. NPI would like to remind you that ten-year fiscal projections only exist for the purpose of allowing Tim Eyman to throw around really big, misleading numbers when he sends out his anti-tax email missives.

Anything sounds much more impressive when you take it out over ten years. Multiply your current annual wages by ten, for example, and you’ll end up with a much bigger number.

That number ostensibly represents how much you’ll be paid  — but for the next decade as opposed to the current year. It’s highly misleading, because your compensation is very likely to change over the next decade. You may even change jobs or employers, and end up with a different salary or pay structure. It is a well understood precept of forecasting that the farther out a forecast goes, the more likely it is to be in error.

The ten-year fiscal projections Eyman’s I-960 stupidly requires for revenue bills are no more useful than ten-year compensation projections, and should be ignored.

NPI plans to offer testimony in support of HB 2967 at next Friday’s hearing of the House Finance Committee. Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve will be available before or after the hearing for interviews.

Tim Eyman admits defeat with scheme to “stick it to Sound Transit”; I-947 becomes his latest failure

Rethinking and ReframingStatements & Advisories

For the third time in twenty-four months, Tim Eyman has failed to qualify an initiative to sabotage funding for Sound Transit and Amtrak Cascades.

The disgraced initiative promoter admitted in an email this morning that Initiative 947 is kaput, writing, “I’m really disappointed to announce that we didn’t make it.”

I-947, like I-1421 and I-869 before it, sought to cripple Sound Transit’s voter-approved third phase of expansion (ST3) by repealing the agency’s authority to levy vehicle fees. But the harm wouldn’t have ended there. I-947 also attempted to eviscerate vehicle fees at the state and local level, imperiling funding for Amtrak Cascades and wiping out the funding that Seattleites authorized to finance a much-needed expansion of Metro bus service.

Thankfully, I-947 is now dead. It is Eyman’s fifth consecutive failed initiative.

Eyman waited until seven hours before the deadline to submit signatures to break the bad news to his followers. As recently as Tuesday, he was was exhorting them to mail any petitions they had to Spokane “right away”, telling them, “With every volunteer signature drive we’ve ever done, it all boils down to what comes in at the end. Stay tuned.”

Eyman actually hasn’t attempted — let alone successfully pulled off — a successful volunteer signature drive in eons. With the exception of I-695 in 1999, Eyman’s recipe for qualifying initiatives has involved finding a wealthy benefactor or two to underwrite the cost of buying a spot on the ballot using paid signature gatherers.

As the Public Disclosure Commission discovered when it investigated a citizen complaint regarding Eyman’s dealings during 2013-2015, Eyman figured out how to make those paid signature drives very lucrative. Eyman arranged a kickback scheme with his associate Eddie Agazarm to ensure that he would profit twice from every signature drive he orchestrated: once by taking a salary for himself and again by getting a cut of the funds supposedly earmarked for compensating paid signature gatherers.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson is now seeking to hold Eyman accountable for his lawbreaking ways with a series of four lawsuits. Eyman has tried to postpone his day of reckoning in the courts by stonewalling in the extreme, but has been unsuccessful in getting anything on the ballot during that borrowed time.

Eyman was unable to qualify I-947 despite having the backing of the Republican Party (which circulated his petitions at its fair booths) and right wing talk radio hosts like John Carlson and Dori Monson (who promoted the measure through their shows).

“Last year, we had a vigorous debate over whether we should expand light rail, commuter rail, and bus service in our region,” noted Northwest Progressive Institute founder and Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve. “The voters chose to enthusiastically approve Sound Transit’s third phase of expansion. Sound Transit is working hard to deliver for them. ST3 projects will liberate countless commuters from stewing in auto gridlock.”

“But Tim Eyman and Republicans like Steve O’Ban simply refuse to respect the will of the voters. They don’t want these projects to be built. That’s why they have spent pretty much all of 2017 running a second NO campaign against Sound Transit 3.”

“But, aside from the sympathetic media coverage they were able to generate, they have nothing to show for their efforts. Sound Transit 3 remains intact and the planning is proceeding at full steam. That’s great news for our region.”

As part of their campaign to overturn ST3, Republicans tried to make vehicle fees a defining issue in the special election in the 45th District, instructing their candidate (Republican Jinyoung Lee Englund), to campaign on overturning ST3. Englund ended up getting clobbered by Democratic candidate Manka Dhingra… not once, but twice. Thanks to Dhingra’s victory, the Washington State Senate is back under Democratic management.

Republicans then excitedly latched onto Eyman’s I-947, which Eyman kept claiming (in email after email and video after video) would be wildly popular. I-947 has now imploded and Eyman is pivoting to hawking something different for 2018.

“For nearly sixteen years, NPI has fought to defend our state and region’s investment in transit and we’ll continue to do so,” said Villeneuve. “We’re thrilled that I-947 has failed. This is a great day for Washington State and for commuters across Puget Sound, who are anxiously awaiting the day that light rail expands to serve more neighborhoods.”

So much for “sticking it to Sound Transit”: Tim Eyman appears ready to abandon I-947, says he’ll push for ban on taxing wealth

Rethinking and ReframingStatements & AdvisoriesThreat Analysis

Tim Eyman signaled today that he’s ready to abandon his current initiative to defund Sound Transit and pivot to hawking a new scheme that would prohibit Washington from taxing wealth, thereby keeping the state’s tax code permanently upside down.

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Tim Eyman rips state budget he previously called a “mega victory for taxpayers”

Rethinking and ReframingStatements & Advisories

This week, disgraced initiative promoter and serial public disclosure violator Tim Eyman appeared in front of the Snohomish County Council to assail Executive Dave Somers for proposing a modest property tax increase that would ensure the fast-growing county can meet its public safety needs. (The additional revenue Somers is seeking would avert cuts to law enforcement while also allowing five more sheriff’s deputies to be hired.)

During his remarks — a portion of which were aired on KIRO’s evening newscast — Eyman harshly denounced the Washington State Legislature for having raised property taxes on Snohomish County homeowners like him, telling the Council:

Taxpayers have been ravaged by Sound Transit and ST3. Skyrocketing car tab taxes, highest in the nation sales taxes, plus a massive new property tax. All of you have been hearing about the sticker shock from ST3. And then, just a few months later, just as taxpayers were trying to catch their breath, those taxpayers got ravaged by this year’s Legislature that compounded ST3’s burden by dramatically raising property taxes THROUGH THE ROOF.

Eyman has been railing all year against ST3, even though it was handily approved by voters in last November’s presidential election. But it wasn’t so long ago that Eyman was describing the agreement reached by legislators to keep state government open and steer more revenue into Washington’s public schools as “a mega victory for taxpayers”.

Here’s a longer excerpt from Eyman’s June 29th email:

The final budget deal is a mega-victory for taxpayers.

With tax-obsessed Jay Inslee as Governor and tax-salivating Democrats in charge of the House, our legislative successes aren’t measured by what proposals are passed but are instead measured by what proposals are blocked.  In this case, in the face of non-stop pressure by Inslee and the Dems to impose an income tax, capital gains tax, carbon tax, and business taxes, we worked really hard over the past six months and our efforts paid off: the GOP stopped them all.

Later on in the email, Eyman gave a nod of approval to the property tax increase that Senate Republicans insisted on as the budget’s revenue mechanism, saying: “The final watered-down levy swap lowers property taxes for most property owners.”

At no point in his email did Eyman criticize the Senate Republicans for having struck a deal with Democrats that resulted in higher property taxes for urban and suburban Washingtonians — even though he had harshly warned them not to pursue such a course of action just two years prior, during the 2015 legislative session.

In fact, at the end of his June 29th commentary, Eyman called the budget a victory for taxpayers a second time: “So don’t just look at what’s included, look at what’s excluded to recognize the tremendous victory that taxpayers scored with this final budget deal.”

That was then. Summer has now given way to autumn, and Tim Eyman has a new position to go with the new season. What was previously a “mega victory for taxpayers” and a “tremendous victory that taxpayers scored” has somehow, inexplicably, morphed into a defeat… of the worst kind. Taxpayers “got ravaged by this year’s Legislature”, Eyman now says, declaring that property taxes have gone “through the roof”.

Apparently the levy swap wasn’t “watered down” after all.

And apparently it doesn’t matter that some Washingtonians are getting their property taxes cut because others will be seeing an increase… including Eyman, who resides in Mukilteo in the safely Democratic 21st Legislative District.

In addition to blasting the Legislature’s budget in front of the Snohomish County Council, Eyman is urging his followers and anyone who will listen to him to participate in his push polls (the “advisory votes”) by voting “Repealed” to signify their displeasure with the budget.

“Tell next year’s Legislature that you’re against them raising taxes by voting ‘REJECT’ on Tax Advisory Votes 16, 17, and 18 on the November statewide ballot,” Eyman wrote in an October 27th email, forgetting that his Initiative 960 actually dictates that the wording of the two choices in the push polls be “REPEALED” and “MAINTAINED” — as opposed to the more neutral and widely used dichotomy of APPROVED/REJECTED.

Unlike Tim Eyman, state lawmakers and local leaders like Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers have a responsibility to govern. Most of them understand a truth Eyman consistently refuses to acknowledge: Our state and its many vibrant communities could not function or even exist without taxes.

Taxes pay for police and fire departments, emergency medical response, schools, colleges, and universities, parks, pools, hospitals, roads, bridges, mass transit, water and sewer infrastructure, ports, courts, and countless other public services.

As our state’s population grows and as new neighborhoods are developed, the cost of public services goes up. And because we have an upside down tax code, state revenue isn’t keeping pace with the economic growth we’re experiencing. That’s hurting the ability of local governments and state agencies to meet the needs of the people.

Executive Somers recognizes that a growing county like Snohomish can’t afford to ignore the people’s needs. It’s why he’s proposed a modest property tax increase as part of his budget. But what Snohomish County and every jurisdiction across Washington really need is for the Legislature to pass legislation implementing progressive tax reform.

Local governments only have the options that state government gives them. If we start taking serious, meaningful steps to fix our upside down tax code, everyone will benefit.

Everyone, that is, except Tim Eyman. Tim needs our tax code to stay broken so that there will always be an appetite for his initiative factory’s destructive anti-tax initiatives. If lawmakers begin taking steps to make our tax code more equitable and just, that might just put the kibosh on Eyman’s already flailing business.

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