Tag Archives: I-1053

Eyman loans I-1053 campaign committee $50,000, doesn’t tell supporters

Ballot WatchdoggingEye on Money: DevelopmentsThreat Analysis

As required by law, Tim Eyman’s treasurer is in the midst of uploading the April 2010 campaign finance reports for the latest incarnation of the Mukilteo profiteer’s campaign committee (Voters Want More Choices Save the Two Thirds for Tax Increases). Surprisingly, the reports show that Eyman’s wealthy benefactor Michael Dunmire — a cosponsor of Initiative 1053 — has still not written any checks to Eyman’s current initiative campaign (although that doesn’t mean he still won’t).

Consequently, Eyman’s fundraising has been so anemic that Eyman has once again been compelled to loan his initiative factory money. According to the April Schedule L, Eyman loaned Voters Want More Choices $30,000 on April 24th, 2010. Two days later (April 26th), he wrote a check to Citizen Solutions (who employ mercenary petitioners on Eyman’s behalf) for the exact same amount. Five days later, on April 29th, Eyman loaned Voters Want More Choices an additional $20,000. He wrote Citizen Solutions another check for $25,000 the following day (April 30th)..

Considering that Eyman still has loans outstanding from I-1033, it seems unlikely he could continue to self-fund his own signature drive.

Perhaps he’s decided to buy himself as many signatures as he can whilst hoping that Dunmire eventually comes through for him.

But if that’s his game plan, he hasn’t bothered to clue in his supporters.

Eyman clumsily attacks high-earners income tax initiative, doesn’t admit it would lower taxes for most

Rethinking and ReframingStatements & Advisories

Earlier today, everybody’s favorite former watch salesman sent out yet another hyperbolic fundraising appeal to his supporters.

But unusually, instead of singling out Governor Gregoire or Democratic leaders as a foil for his pitch for money like he often does, Eyman attacked the coalition behind Initiative 1077. The measure, officially unveiled at a press conference on Wednesday, would levy an income tax on Washington’s wealthiest couples and individuals to provide greater funding for education and healthcare.

Naturally, Tim Eyman hates the idea. It’s not his.

So it’s no surprise that he views Initiative 1077 (which may be refiled by its sponsors to address a couple of concerns with the language) as a threat. After dropping Bill Gates Sr.’s name at the beginning of his message, Eyman wrote, “His initiative illustrates the need for our initiative. Because no matter how much they take from the taxpayers, they always want more.” He adds, “(R)ather than saying ‘thanks, that’s enough’, they follow up with a $1 billion per year income tax initiative.”

Nowhere in his email does Eyman mention to his supporters that the initiative would reduce the state property tax levy by twenty percent, or eliminate the business and occupation tax for eighty percent of small businesses. That part of the equation was conveniently left out.

And who is “they”? Olympia? The Legislature? The House and Senate are not responsible for Initiative 1077. If lawmakers wanted to ask the people to approve a high-earners income tax, they could have placed a referendum on this November’s ballot. There wouldn’t have been a need for this measure.

Since the people and organizations who support an income tax on high-earners are not the people’s elected representatives, they’re making use of one of the instruments of direct democracy (the initiative) to give the people a chance to vote on their idea. That’s what Tim Eyman tries to do every year. What is prompting him to speak out against this initiative? Why does he care?

The answer is that he’s afraid of what will happen if the coalition behind this idea succeeds. Given a chance to enact real tax reform, voters could be less inclined to listen to him. He needs Washington’s tax structure to be unfair so there will be an appetite for his schemes in the future.

Eyman seems doubly upset that proponents of tax reform are turning to the initiative process to advance the cause, even though the initiative itself is a progressive invention, brought to Washington during the Progressive Era nearly a hundred years ago.

Is Tim’s reaction surprising? We don’t think so. Anyone who has paid close attention to Eyman’s rhetoric over the years can sense the contempt he has for democracy, and particularly representative democracy. He doesn’t believe in majority rule, except as the threshold for passage of his own initiatives. He revels in causing mayhem but not having to take responsibility for the consequences. The last two years when he hasn’t had an initiative on the ballot (2003 and 2006), he did not even bother to cast a vote in the general election. Check his voting record.

But then, Tim Eyman has never cared about being a good citizen.

It’s hard to measure the amount of time he has spent over the last decade demonizing the Legislature, berating lawmakers, calling them names, doing his utmost to convince the rest of us that they’re the villains, even though we the people elected them to govern and make decisions.

In 2002, Eyman told the Seattle Weekly, “We’ve always contended that any tax increase that any taxing district wants to support is fine, as long as it goes to the voters.”

The campaign announced by Bill Gates Sr. is an initiative to the people. Since it is going to the voters, Tim Eyman should be “fine” with it. But that’s clearly not the case because he’s trying to use it to rile up his supporters. He started campaigning against it as soon as it had been rolled out.

Eyman further argues in his email that people should not support Initiative 1077 because it is “fundamentally flawed”: It could be modified by the Legislature after two years by a simple majority. But that’s true of any initiative; our state Constitution provides for that “fundamental flaw” by specifying the length of time that must elapse before an initiative can be amended like any other statute.

It’s worth noting that since Eyman’s Initiative 1053 and this high-earners income tax initiative are both being proposed in the same year, they would both take effect at the same time if they passed, and would both be subject to modification by simple majority beginning in the 2013 legislative session.

In other words, Initiative 1053 could not stop a majority of lawmakers from doing what Eyman is predicting they’re going to do in 2013: lower the income tax’s threshold. So Eyman’s claim that the latter illustrates the need for the former doesn’t make sense.

Eyman files symbolic initiatives to repeal new revenue in 2010 budget

Ballot WatchdoggingThreat Analysis

That didn’t take long.

The ink is still not dry on the 2010 supplemental budget – which has yet to be signed into law by Governor Gregoire – but already initiative profiteer Tim Eyman has filed a series of initiatives to wipe out the new revenue it contains.

Some news reports are lending the impression that Eyman intends to seriously qualify these initiatives, or a later initiative based on the eight he filed today. In reality, there is no evidence that these initiatives are anything other than symbolic. Eyman himself has admitted to his supporters that the signature drive for Initiative 1053, his preexisting scheme, is not moving at a pace that would ensure success. The real reason Eyman filed these initiatives is that he wants his face on the evening news and his name in the newspaper. It’s all about publicity.

Industry lobbyists have made noises about wanting to repeal some of the consumption taxes in the 2010 supplemental budget, but if they want to force public votes on parts of the budget, they don’t need Eyman’s help to do that.

Eyman’s paid mercenaries are set to hit the streets with I-1053 petitions

Ballot WatchdoggingEye on Money: DevelopmentsThreat Analysis

Mercenary signature gatherers hawking petitions for Tim Eyman’s Initiative 1053 will be hitting the streets over the next few days, Permanent Defense has learned.

Individuals with knowledge of Eyman’s activities have confirmed to Permanent Defense that the Mukilteo profiteer is once again hiring his pals Roy Ruffino and Eddie Agrazarm, who run “Citizen Solutions”, to orchestrate the paid signature gathering drive for Initiative 1053. Coincidentally, Eyman has issued two appeals for money to his supporters this week. Eyman wrote today:

To be successful, we need everyone — from now until July 2nd — to focus and concentrate on ways to get signatures and raise funds. Everything else is a distant, distant second.

I’m calling and meeting with supporters every day and Jack & Mike are busting their butts processing petitions and checks and credit card donations. Raising funds for signature gathering is the most important. It’s the lifeblood of this effort.

Partially-filled and fully-filled petitions are arriving every day now in our post office box in Spokane but not at a pace to ensure success. We’ve got to pick up the pace on signatures and money.

Apparently, Eyman’s patron Michael Dunmire hasn’t written his annual check yet. Last year, Dunmire paid off the loans Eyman took out for Initiative 985 and then provided several hundred thousand dollars for Initiative 1033. So far, however, he has not refilled the coffers for Eyman’s “Voters Want More Choices” committee, even though he is a co-sponsor of I-1053.

Eight Years: Statement from the Founder

AnnouncementsThreat Analysis

Today and throughout this month, Permanent Defense celebrates its eighth anniversary, marking the end of ninety six months of opposing harmful right wing initiatives, especially those sponsored by Tim Eyman. These last fifty two weeks – our eighth year – rank among the most difficult – but also the most rewarding – in our history. The following is a brief recap of our accomplishments:

  • Throughout our eighth year, we were part of the realization of one of Permanent Defense’s two original goals: the successful completion of Sound Transit’s Central Link light rail line. Staff were invited on several test runs of the line prior to its July 18th grand opening, and Permanent Defense’s parent organization, the Northwest Progressive Institute, provided extensive coverage of that event. We were again present for the December 19th opening of the Airport Link extension, which brought the line into the City of SeaTac.
  • We tirelessly worked as part of one of the biggest coalitions in Washington State history to defeat Tim Eyman’s Initiative 1033, the Mukilteo profiteer’s most destructive measure ever. After a frenzied October, which saw an unprecedented mobilization of clergy, municipal leaders, activists, community groups, and progressive organizations, we won a spectacular victory that spanned the Cascade Mountains. Our triumph marked Eyman’s second consecutive defeat at the ballot and his first in an odd-numbered year.
  • As part of the effort to defeat Initiative 1033, we built a grassroots campaign hub and organized opposition to the initiative through social networking. By Election Day, the NO on Initiative 1033 Facebook page co-maintained by Permanent Defense had surpassed thirteen thousand fans. We also worked to ensure that journalists heard about the consequences of I-1033 by regularly responding to Tim Eyman’s propaganda.
  • In the aftermath of the election, we began preparing to oppose Tim Eyman’s next measure, a do-over of Initiative 960 (2007) which the Legislature is poised to suspend. We provided an opposition presence at Eyman’s kickoff event in the Secretary of State’s office on January 11th.
  • Finally, we began work on a major overhaul of Permanent Defense’s website (Version 8, codenamed Camano) which will officially launch this week as part of our anniversary celebrations. Our new website runs on an incredibly powerful free software stack, and is ten times more robust than every prior incarnation.

We also continued to lobby the Legislature to reform the initiative process. The House and Senate are each considering bills we support that would make a difference. One would make it harder for Tim Eyman to go ballot title shopping, another would require mercenary petitioners to be more accountable.  We are hopeful that at least one of these bills will make it out of the statehouse this year.

We know that despite our successes, the underlying problems that allow Tim Eyman to exist – especially our regressive tax structure, but also a lack of political courage – remain unaddressed. These problems will not be solved by simply defeating forthcoming right wing ballot measures like Initiative 1053. Every time we defeat a Tim Eyman initiative, we are merely treating a symptom. Solving the underlying problems will take nothing less than a Herculean endeavor, and a strategic shift on the part of our movement. Permanent Defense’s parent organization, the Northwest Progressive Institute, was formed in August of 2003 to help make this strategic shift possible.

Although Permanent Defense’s narrowly focused work remains important, the larger work that NPI is undertaking has become even more critical and more important, because the clock is ticking. For too long, we have dithered and procrastinated, and allowed ourselves to be more concerned about winning elections than addressing the conditions that are precipitating the decline of our communities, our state, and our country. That must change. Our future depends on our ability to grow our common wealth, not just safeguard what we have.

Thanks for being a supporter and staying committed to the tough goal of neutralizing harmful right wing initiatives, year after year. Together, we will continue to provide a much needed first line of defense against new threats to our future.

RE: What does the phrase ‘Will of the people’ mean to you?

Legislation & TestimonyRethinking and Reframing

Earlier this morning, Tim Eyman sent out an email which asked, in its subject line, “What does the phrase “will of the people” mean to you?” To us, those words mean that our cherished tradition of majority rule must never be compromised. Schemes that take away majority rule (such as Initiative 960 and Initiative 1053) ironically have the effect of infringing upon the will of the people.

Permit us to explain what we mean. In trying to garner publicity for Initiative 1053, Tim Eyman has deceptively tried to frame the effort to amend Initiative 960 as a “we the people versus the Legislature” conflict.

It’s a lie. There is no such conflict. We, the people, elected this Legislature, and we, the people, reelected Governor Chris Gregoire to a second four year term. What’s more, during the last two years we, the people, have rejected not one, but two Tim Eyman initiatives, at the ballot.

In moving to unlock Initiative 960’s shackles, the Legislature is doing precisely what Tim Eyman is attacking it for not doing… responding to the will of the people.

We don’t elect legislators to kowtow to the likes of Tim Eyman, who wants to rip our common wealth to shreds. We elect legislators to govern, wisely and justly. If we do not like the decisions we make, we can choose new leaders. That’s how representative democracy works. Tim Eyman has consistently sought to undermine representative democracy by making it harder for elected leaders to do their jobs and proposing schemes that add undemocratic, un-American hurdles into the legislative process.

Initiative 960, which was approved by a narrow majority in 2007, never should have taken effect, and not just because it is blatantly unconstitutional. It never should have taken effect because we the people have no authority to take away our own rights. Democracy cannot be used to abolish democracy.

A majority of Washingtonians, voting at an election, cannot decide to deprive a future majority of their rights. That this happened and could not be reversed until now is a travesty. The Supreme Court’s refusal to rule on Initiative 960’s constitutionality (the Court was asked to do so twice, in two separate lawsuits) does not make Initiative 960, or Initiative 1053, legitimate.

For additional analysis, check out this post from the NPI Advocate, the blog of our parent organization.

Eyman prints petitions for Initiative 1053

Ballot WatchdoggingThreat Analysis

Tim Eyman announced this morning in a message to his followers that he has begun printing up petitions for Initiative 1053, his do-over of Initiative 960 from 2007. Eyman also said several petitions have already been circulated at a Republican state committee meeting. Like I-960, I-1053 brazenly contradicts Article II, Section 22 of the Washington State Constitution, which says that each house of the Legislature shall operate on the principle of majority rule.

The Initiative 1053 petition contains the words “Tougher to Raise Taxes” at the top. It naturally fails to acknowledge that giving a minority of the Legislature veto power over the majority is undemocratic.

Activists who see right wing signature gatherers out collecting signatures for I-1053 are urged to report their experience to Permanent Defense so we can better track Eyman’s signature drive.

Permanent Defense, MajorityRules respond to Eyman’s attempt to re-impose minority rule

Statements & AdvisoriesThreat Analysis

The Northwest Progressive Institute’s Permanent Defense project and MajorityRules.org – both part of the successful NO on Initiative 1033 Coalition that stopped Tim Eyman’s scheme to trap Washington in a permanent recession – today responded to the umpteenth filing of Tim Eyman’s new attempt to reimpose an unconstitutional two thirds barrier to raising revenue.

“Once again, Tim Eyman is assaulting our cherished tradition of majority rule with a recycled, poorly conceived initiative,” said Northwest Progressive Institute Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve. “Eyman’s goal is to give control of fiscal decisions in our state to a minority of the Legislature, in direct violation of Article II, Section 22 of our Constitution, which specifically says that bills shall pass by majority vote. We have Article II, Section 22 because our Framers understood that representative democracy requires majority rule with minority rights.”

“Minority rule isn’t democracy; it’s a recipe for legislative gridlock. Why should we listen or trust someone who purposely wants to jam the gears of government and wreck our common wealth?” Villeneuve asked.

“Tim Eyman’s new scheme is blatantly unconstitutional, unfair, and unsound, just as Initiative 960 was. It’s no surprise that Republican legislators like Janea Holmquist and Pam Roach have jumped on the Tim Eyman station wagon: Without this scheme in place, they don’t have the ability to obstruct the work of the majority, which was elected by the people of Washington to responsibly govern our state and protect its public services,” Villeneuve added.

“One of the reasons that California continually has severe budget crises is because they require two thirds votes for approval of all budgets, which include any new revenue,” noted Steve Zemke of MajorityRules.org. “The last thing we need is to become known as the next California.”

“Unfortunately, Eyman’s undermocratic scheme would also prevent the Legislature from repealing out of date, unneeded tax exemptions which are no longer in the public interest, because it allows a one third minority of the Legislature to block reform,” Zemke added.

“Over the last two years, voters have spoken decisively and clearly in rejecting Initiatives 985 and Initiative 1033, because they realize that cuts, gimmicks, and shortcuts aren’t the answer to our problems,” Villeneuve reflected. “The people want the Legislature to be able to addess this budget crisis unshackled. They want our representatives to be able to respond positively to meet our shared needs.”

Zemke observed that in the same year (2007) that voters narrowly passed Initiative 960, they also approved a constitutional amendment to reduce the bar for passage of school levies from sixty percent to a simple majority. “People feel an obligation to support their communities; all they ask is that they be taxed fairly. But this scheme does not make our tax system fairer or more equitable. It just makes a bad situation worse,” Zemke concluded.

In the coming days, weeks, and months, NPI’s Permanent Defense and MajorityRules will be working hard to form a new coalition to oppose Eyman’s latest measure and protect Washington’s tradition of majority rule.

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