Tag Archives: I-1325

Thirteen Years: Statement from the Founder

Statements & AdvisoriesThreat Analysis

Today and throughout this month, Permanent Defense celebrates its thirteenth anniversary, marking one hundred and fifty-six months of continuous operation. Since going live on February 15th, 2002, PD has steadfastly provided the Union’s Forty-Second State with badly needed, year-round opposition to destructive right wing initiatives – chiefly those sponsored by Tim Eyman.

As its name implies, it has a simple, vital protective mission: Maintain a first line of defense against threats to the common wealth and Constitution of Washington.

Permanent Defense: Thirteen YearsOver the span of its thirteen-year existence, PD has organized opposition to over two dozen right wing initiatives, working cooperatively with other citizens and organizations to build strong and diverse ballot coalitions capable of connecting with voters. It hasn’t been easy work; not every effort has been successful.

Happily, though, most of the campaigns Permanent Defense has been a part of have ended in victory. That’s something to be very proud of.

Prior to PD’s founding, as we first noted three years ago when PD was celebrating its tenth anniversary, Tim Eyman was getting an initiative past the voters every year. Since PD was founded, however, Eyman has had no consecutive victories at the ballot. His record since 2002 has been marked by consecutive defeats instead.

We’ve made this point on past anniversaries, but it’s always worth emphasizing.

Diving a little deeper, we can quantity Permanent Defense’s successes with some numbers. Over the course of thirteen years, Permanent Defense and NPI have opposed twenty-eight right wing initiatives, including sixteen sponsored by Tim Eyman. Six of those twenty-eight did not make the ballot; fourteen more were defeated by voters.

NPI and Permanent Defense have also been involved in several referendum campaigns. Most of those have also ended in success, notably R-55 (2004), R-67 (2007), R-71 (2009), and R-74 (2012). A couple others have not.

Although we’ve been successful in more than two-thirds of our defensive campaigns, the other side still has a batting average of over .280, to borrow a widely-understood metric from baseball.  That’s an average most baseball players would be happy with. (For those curious, the MLB league-wide batting average for 2014 was .250). Unless we take advantage of our own opportunities to go to the plate and drive in runs, we’ll always be behind. Defense is important, but offense is what wins games.

Politics may not be a sport – real lives are at stake, after all – but the same principle applies. Permanent Defense’s work is important, but going on offense is more important still. That is why, for almost all of its history, Permanent Defense has been part of something larger: the Northwest Progressive Institute. NPI is working to help progressives learn to go on offense, while ensuring that through PD, Tim Eyman’s initiative factory continues to get the year-round opposition it deserves.

And Permanent Defense has been thriving. Its thirteenth year went incredibly well.

At this time last year, Tim Eyman was trying to qualify a Ted Cruz-inspired scheme to blackmail the Legislature into passing a constitutional amendment requiring a two-thirds vote to raise revenue. Eyman was unable to find a wealthy benefactor to finance a signature drive for I-1325, and it thankfully didn’t make the ballot.

After I-1325 crashed and burned, Eyman tried to convince the business community (which he had betrayed in 2012) to give him money to front a new statewide initiative to prohibit cities like SeaTac and Seattle from setting their own minimum wages.

However, as with I-1325, Eyman could not find any wealthy benefactors willing to finance a signature drive. He did receive some seed money, in the form of two $50,000 contributions from Seattle Republicans Faye Garneau and Suzie Burke, plus a smaller contribution from Don Root, but his appeals for funds otherwise went unanswered.

The last time that two successive Eyman schemes failed to qualify for the ballot was 2006, eight years ago. That was also the last time that Washington enjoyed a general election ballot free of any Eyman initiatives.

The 2014 midterms may have yielded some awful results, particularly in other states, but Washington bucked the national trend with a progressive ballot sweep. Initiatives to lower class size and make background checks on gun sales universal were approved, while an initiative that attempted to thwart universal background checks was defeated.

And that wasn’t all. Voters also denied Eyman ammunition for additional attacks on legislators by voting “Maintained” on the two unconstitutional advisory votes that appeared on the ballot.

I-1325’s failure last year so disappointed Eyman that he has resolved to try to qualify a measure that is almost identical to the 2016 ballot: I-1366.

Like I-1325, I-1366 would wipe out a billion dollars a year in funding for schools and other vital public services if the Legislature does not pass a constitutional amendment requiring a two-thirds vote to raise revenue. It’s the worst scheme Eyman has ever come up with, and that’s saying something.

Eyman has still apparently not found a wealthy benefactor to put money behind this awful idea, so he’s decided to take out a mortgage on his house to fund a signature drive for the time being. Eyman is spending $150,000 in borrowed money to employ paid signature gatherers to collect signatures for I-1366 for the next few weeks.

In the past, Eyman has been able to find a wealthy benefactor to finance his initiative factory when he needed one. We are therefore assuming that I-1366 will be on the ballot. If it meets the same fate as I-1325, all well and good, but we can’t afford to wait and hope that Eyman falls short. I-1366 is incredibly destructive and it needs opposition now. We will provide that early opposition and ask other organizations to join us in building a strong coalition to defeat I-1366.  To do that, we need your help.

  • If you are not a member of the Northwest Progressive Institute, we urge you to become one. Members are the backbone of NPI’s supporter community, providing the time, talent, and treasure that makes NPI’s work possible.
  • If you see a petitioner collecting signatures for I-1366, we ask that you report your experience immediately so we can track Eyman’s signature drive.
  • And if you are free on the evening of April 10th, 2015, we encourage you to join us for NPI’s seventh Spring Fundraising Gala, where we will explain what we’re doing to mobilize opposition to I-1366.

Through perseverance and hard work, we have won many victories over these past thirteen years. Tim Eyman may be relentless, but so are we. We don’t give in and we don’t give up, because our Constitution and our commonwealth need safeguarding.

We need this fighting spirit to be contagious. Join us in helping make it so.

Here’s to a great fourteenth year for Permanent Defense.

NPI’s Permanent Defense ready to fight Eyman’s I-1366

Statements & AdvisoriesThreat Analysis

This morning, Tim Eyman announced that he will once again be attempting to qualify an initiative to the ballot that would wipe out around $1 billion per year in revenue for schools and other vital public services unless, by April 2016, the Legislature passes a constitutional amendment sabotaging Article II, Section 22 of the state Constitution, which requires that bills shall pass by majority vote.

NPI organized against last year’s incarnation of this awful, Ted Cruz-inspired scheme, and stands ready to do so again this year.

“For thirteen years, NPI’s Permanent Defense has strived to provide Tim Eyman’s initiative factory with the vigorous opposition that it deserves,” said NPI founder Andrew Villeneuve. “We’re prepared to go to work building a strong coalition to defeat I-1366; we consider today to be the first day of the NO on I-1366 campaign.”

“Last year’s incarnation of I-1366, I-1325, did not make the ballot, but that doesn’t mean I-1366 won’t,” Villeneuve added.

“We know well from past experience that all Eyman needs is one wealthy benefactor to underwrite his scheme, and he’s in business.”

“But no one who cares about what happens to their money should give Eyman so much as a cent. He and his associates remain under investigation by the Public Disclosure Commission for alleged lawbreaking during the I-517 campaign in 2012.”

“During the spring, summer, and fall of 2012, Eyman ran a signature drive for I-517 in stealth mode, failing to report contributions and expenditures in a timely fashion. Evidence suggests Eyman used money from a different initiative, I-1185, to underwrite I-517 – without telling the corporations and trade groups that gave to I-1185 what he was doing. His actions then and now are part of a long pattern of deceptions dating back to his raiding of campaign funds for his own personal use around the turn of the century.”

Three things to know about I-1366

  • It’s basically a clone of last year’s I-1325, which the Spokesman-Review editorial board called “his worst ever – and that’s saying something”. They added: “This is not about protecting taxpayers. I-1325 is about keeping Eyman in business.”
  • It’s likely unconstitutional. If enacted, I-1366 would drastically cut state revenue (by slashing the sales tax) if the Legislature did not pass a constitutional amendment to require two-thirds votes for revenue increases by April 2016. The state Supreme Court has already held the Legislature in contempt for failing to fully fund our public schools in the wake of the McCleary decision. A new Eyman initiative which tries to blackmail lawmakers by wiping out $1 billion a year in funding for schools and other public services in the event they don’t do his bidding is unlikely to survive a court challenge.
  • Eyman is falsely advertising I-1366 as a “constitutional amendment” and a “constitutional amendment initiative”, like he did with I-1325. Initiatives are not constitutional amendments; furthermore, there is no such thing a constitutional amendment initiative. See our advisory about this from last year.

An annotated version of the text of I-1325 (again, last year’s version) is also available on Permanent Defense’s website which debunks each of its provisions. I-1366 has some new provisions that I-1325 does not have, but otherwise it appears to be the same destructive and mean-spirited initiative I-1325 was.

Scoring the media: Who covered the news of I-1325’s demise, and who didn’t?

Rethinking and Reframing

Happy Fourth of July!

Yesterday, following Tim Eyman’s belated acknowledgement that the signature drive for I-1325 had failed and he would not be submitting any signatures to the Secretary of State for validation, several media outlets picked up on the story, including the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Herald of Everett, and the Spokesman-Review of Spokane. But many more media outlets did not, even though Eyman’s failure to qualify I-1325 for the ballot was a major development that deserved coverage.

A day has passed since the news broke, and we’ve decided to score the media coverage, so interested citizens can see for themselves which outlets dropped the ball and which ones carried the news. We’ll start by listing the outlets that ran with the story.

Media outlets that covered the failure of I-1325

Media outlets that didn’t cover I-1325, but did cover Eyman’s minimum wage publicity stunt in mid-June

  • The Puget Sound Business Journal published an article by Ashley Stewart which inaccurately said that Tim Eyman was “gathering signatures” for the initiative he filed (he is not, and at the time the article was written, Eyman’s initiative didn’t even have a ballot title). We emailed the PSBJ requesting a correction, but the article has not been updated. The PSBJ has yet to mention the failure of I-1325 to its readers.
  • The Stranger, piggybacking on an item published in PubliCola, mentioned Tim Eyman’s minimum wage publicity stunt in June (without disclosing that it was a stunt) but does not appear to have published much about I-1325. If I-1325 ever made it into The Stranger’s coverage, it apparently was only in passing.

Media outlets that didn’t bother to cover the failure of I-1325, but did cover the launch of I-1325 as well as Eyman’s minimum wage publicity stunt in mid-June

Media outlets that covered the launch of I-1325 but not its failure

And finally…

Media outlets that have paid little attention to Eyman in 2014 include The Associated Press, KOMO, KIRO TV, and KING. Extensive searches failed to turn up any mention of I-1325 or recent online coverage of Tim Eyman from these outlets. At least Seattle’s big three TV stations have been largely consistent in dealing with Eyman lately. Can’t say the same for the the outlets in the middle categories above.

Washingtonians to enjoy an Eyman-free November this year, evidence suggests

From the Campaign TrailStatements & AdvisoriesThreat Analysis

For the first time in eight years, voters in Washington won’t have to decide the fate of a Tim Eyman initiative in November. That’s the conclusion we reached this week after completing our latest threat analysis assessment.

In January of this year, Tim Eyman announced that his 2014 initiative would be I-1325, a Ted Cruz-inspired scheme to coerce the Legislature into passing a constitutional amendment to require a two-thirds vote of each house of the Legislature to raise revenue. I-1325 would wipe out $1 billion per year in funding for schools and and other vital public services in the event the Legislature did not pass such an amendment by mid-April of next year.

I-1325 is perhaps the most harmful, senseless, and mean-spirited initiative Tim Eyman has ever offered. Consequently, NPI’s Permanent Defense has been keeping a close eye on it, and laying the groundwork to fight it in the event it makes the ballot.

“For the past few weeks, we have been searching the state looking for evidence of an I-1325 signature drive,” said NPI founder and executive director Andrew Villeneuve. (NPI’s Permanent Defense, which Andrew founded in February of 2002, has now been tracking and organizing opposition to Tim Eyman’s incredibly destructive initiatives for over twelve years).

“Our network of activists have reported seeing petitions for a number of other initiatives, including I-1351 (class size), I-1329 (money in politics) , and the now-canceled I-1356 (cancer research). But the signature drive for I-1325 appears to be nonexistent. We’ve done a lot of looking, and the lack of evidence of a signature drive leads us to conclude that Eyman is going to come up way short. We believe it’s likely there are a few I-1325 petitions circulating in private, out of public view, but those petitions won’t yield the hundreds of thousands of signatures that Eyman needs.”

“Historically, Tim has relied almost exclusively on paid petitioners to get on the ballot,” Villeneuve explained. “But he hasn’t been able to hire people to collect for him this year, because hasn’t found a wealthy benefactor to put up money for I-1325.”

“Without a wealthy benefactor, he’s sunk. At least for now, he can probably raise enough to live on from smaller donors, but not employ signature gathering crews. Deprived of six figure checks from the likes of Michael Dunmire, Kemper Freeman, BP, or ConocoPhillips, the gears of Eyman’s initiative factory simply can’t turn.”

As of June 10th, Eyman’s campaign committee had reported raising a total of $191,341.05. $166,323.30 of that amount has been spent, mostly on “officers compensation” and “printing and mailing services”.

But there are no reported payments to “Citizen Solutions”, the crooked signature gathering business operated by Eyman’s associates Eddie Agazarm and Roy Ruffino, or to any other signature gathering business.

That explains why petitions for I-1325 are so hard to find on the street. Nobody’s carrying them, except perhaps a few very motivated Eyman fans.

Eyman must know I-1325 is on the verge of failing, but he hasn’t been upfront with his supporters about the status of the signature drive. Eyman is perpetuating an illusion, mainly through occasional mailings and multi-weekly emails imploring his followers to invest time and money in a campaign that doesn’t really exist.

As recently as this morning, Eyman was once again asking for money, writing, “Everyone has from now until Thursday, July 3rd — 9 days — to donate dollars and collect signatures […] We need your help. Please contribute TODAY so this initiative effort is a success.”

246,372 valid signatures are currently required to place an initiative before the voters for their consideration. Signatures for an initiative to this November’s ballot are due no later than July 3rd, 2014 at 5 PM.

Because petitions inevitably have duplicate and invalid signatures, the Secretary of State’s office advises initiative sponsors to collect at least 325,000, so that the campaign has a cushion that can offset the signatures that won’t be counted.

Getting 325,000+ signatures is difficult and time-consuming, which is why campaigns usually make use of paid petitioners. Some campaigns use a mix of paid crews and volunteer gatherers, but campaigns that attempt to make the ballot with volunteers alone often fail, due to a lack of coordination, commitment, and preparation.

“We stand ready to mobilize against I-1325 in the unlikely event that it does make the ballot,” Villeneuve said. “We are very pleased that several other organizations have already taken a strong position opposing I-1325, including the Washington State Labor Council and the Washington State Democratic Party. But not having to fight this awful initiative in November would be a great blessing, because the last thing Washington needs is more Tim Eyman initiatives. Our common wealth and our cherished tradition of majority rule have been imperiled enough. We need to move beyond just having a conversation about tax reform and McCleary compliance; we need action and leadership from our elected representatives to uphold our Constitution and support our vital public services, especially our schools and universities.”

Washington State Democratic Party adopts resolution opposing I-1325

EndorsementsFrom the Campaign Trail

The Washington State Democratic Party today became the latest organization to take a position opposing Tim Eyman’s I-1325 by adopting a resolution at its 2014 State Convention in Spokane recommending that voters decline to sign I-1325 petitions from now through July 3rd (the deadline for submitting signatures) and further recommending an emphatic NO vote in the event it qualifies for the ballot.

Several weeks ago, the Washington State Labor Council also adopted a resolution opposing I-1325 at its annual COPE Convention.

Introduced in January by Tim Eyman, I-1325 is a Ted Cruz-inspired scheme that would wipe out $1 billion in funding for education and other vital public services every year unless the Legislature passes a constitutional amendment sabotaging Article II, Section 22 by requiring two-thirds votes for any bill that would increase revenue.

Such a restriction had previously been unconstitutionally imposed by a series of I-601 clones sponsored by Eyman, which were invalidated last year with the Supreme Court’s League of Education Voters decision.

The Washington State Democratic Party was an important part of the coalition that successfully defeated Tim Eyman’s I-517 last year, along with NPI’s Permanent Defense. I-517 went down to defeat in historic fashion, with over 62% of voters casting no votes. In King County, the vote against I-517 topped 73%.

Washington State Labor Council takes position opposing I-1325 at 2014 COPE Convention

EndorsementsFrom the Campaign Trail

Good news to share: Today, at its annual Committee on Political Education (COPE) Convention, delegates from the Washington State Labor Council’s member unions took a position opposing Tim Eyman’s latest initiative, a Ted Cruz-style scheme intended to coerce lawmakers into approving a constitutional amendment to permanently require two-thirds votes to raise or recover revenue.

The WSLC is Washington State’s AFL-CIO affiliate. The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations is the nation’s largest labor federation, directly representing tens of millions of working men and women, and indirectly representing hundreds of millions more.

I-1325 contains a provision that automatically wipes out $1 billion in funding for education and vital public services like foster care if the Legislature does not pass the constitutional amendment Eyman wants by April 15th, 2015.

Constitutional amendments may only originate in the Legislature, which is why Eyman is resorting to extortion: he can’t get the undemocratic two-thirds vote scheme he has spent millions of dollars promoting reinstated any other way.

Eyman filed I-1325 back in January and launched a signature drive for the measure several weeks later. He has until July 3rd to submit at least 246,372 valid signatures of Washington voters. To offset duplicate and invalid signatures, he really needs around 310,000 signatures. So far, it doesn’t appear that Eyman has found a wealthy benefactor willing to put up the hundreds of thousands of dollars needed to bring in paid signature gathering crews. Eyman has relied heavily on paid petitioners to collect signatures since he started up his initiative factory.

The Washington State Democratic Party is expected to join the WSLC and NPI in opposing I-1325 next month, when it holds its biannual convention. A resolution opposing I-1325 has been submitted to the convention for consideration, and is currently in the hands of the convention’s Platform & Resolutions Committee.

Tim Eyman is falsely advertising Initiative 1325

Rethinking and ReframingStatements & AdvisoriesThreat Analysis

Ever since the Washington State Supreme Court decided the League of Education Voters case in early 2013, Tim Eyman has been agitating to reinstate the unconstitutional two-thirds vote requirement for raising revenue contained within I-601 and its clones. After arguing for years that the two-thirds vote requirement was constitutional (it wasn’t; it violated Article II, Section 22) Eyman has now changed course, and is clamoring for a constitutional amendment.

In Washington, unlike other states, constitutional amendments must originate in the Legislature, and they must get a two-thirds vote to pass. Therein lies Eyman’s problem: Most state lawmakers are simply not interested in sabotaging our state’s cherished tradition of majority rule like he and his friends are. So Eyman is resorting to Ted Cruz-style coercion. His Initiative 1325 would wipe out about a billion dollars in funding for education each year by cutting the state sales tax, unless state lawmakers pass a constitutional amendment to reinstate the undemocratic two-thirds requirement from I-601 and its clones.

But, as usual, Eyman is being dishonest in his marketing. He doesn’t acknowledge that his initiative is really about slashing the sales tax unless the Legislature does what he wants, which would make it impossible for the state to fulfill its paramount duty of providing for the ample education of every child in Washington under Article IX.

In the sad and tragic event the Legislature did capitulate to Eyman, it would mean that decisions about raising revenue would be permanently placed in the hands of the few, not the many, thus dooming any possibility of real tax reform to help Washington’s families and strengthen our state’s common wealth.

Eyman has been referring to I-1325 both as a constitutional amendment and a constitutional amendment initiative. It is neither.

An initiative cannot alter the Washington State Constitution, and there is no such thing as a “constitutional amendment initiative”.

“Constitutional amendments and initiatives are very different,” said NPI founder and executive director Andrew Villeneuve. “Initiatives are citizen-led attempts to modify the Revised Code of Washington; constitutional amendments are proposed changes to our state’s plan of government. Constitutional amendments must originate in the Legislature and receive a two-thirds vote before being placed on the ballot for ratification by the people. The Legislature also has the power to call a constitutional convention, but again, this takes a two-thirds vote.”

In early drafts of what later became I-1325, Eyman actually included a clause that stipulated the initiative should be cited as a constitutional amendment:

TITLE OF THE ACT
NEW SECTION. Sec. 8. This act is known and may be cited as the “2/3 Constitutional Amendment.”

(Here’s an example from I-641, a previous incarnation of I-1325 filed in December 2013).

He later changed it to this:

TITLE OF THE ACT
NEW SECTION. Sec. 6. This act is known and may be cited as the “Taxpayer Protection Act.”

Although Eyman changed the title provision for I-1325, he is still falsely marketing I-1325 as a constitutional amendment. Petitions for I-1325 look like petitions for Eyman’s I-601 clones. At the top, they declare in big bold lettering “TOUGHER TO RAISE TAXES”. The subheading says “Let the voters decide on a 2/3rds constitutional amendment”. In an adjacent box, Eyman editorializes:

Voters OK’d this policy in 2012, politicians took it away, this initiative brings it right back again.

This is false, or highly misleading, on all counts:

  • Voters did not approve an initiative like I-1325 in 2012 – they approved I-1185, an unconstitutional I-601 clone that had different provisions in it;
  • The Supreme Court, consisting of nine nonpartisan justices, invalidated I-601 and its clones, not legislators, as the word “politicians” seems to imply;
  • I-1325 would not bring back the unconstitutional two-thirds requirement in I-1185. Instead, it would slash the sales tax unless the Legislature passes a constitutional amendment and puts it on the ballot before April 15th, 2015.

In an email today, titled, “Traveling the state promoting our 2/3 Constitutional Amendment Initiative”, Eyman writes:

It’s been a whirlwind effort. It’s been exciting, exhilarating, and yes, exhausting. But the enthusiasm and support from everyone for the 2/3 Constitutional Amendment Initiative has really been inspiring. Everyone loves the fact that it’s a constitutional amendment, meaning it will provide permanent protection. Pass it one time and it’ll be for all-time. I-1325 will keep Olympia on a short leash FOREVER!

This is false. Once again, I-1325 is not a constitutional amendment. It is an initiative that would slash the sales tax by half of one percent, resulting in the loss of about a billion dollars per year for our public schools, unless the Legislature decides to pass a constitutional amendment to Eyman’s liking. Eyman cannot force state lawmakers to do what he wants, but he is trying anyway with I-1325.

Eyman delights in wrecking government and putting people who have chosen to serve Washington as elected leaders in impossible positions.

I-1325 is likely itself unconstitutional, because, as mentioned, it would interfere with the state’s ability to carry out its paramount duty to provide for the ample provision of the education of Washington’s youth. The Washington State Supreme Court has already ruled in McCleary that the state is failing to abide by Article IX of the Constitution by underfunding our schools.

A better, more accurate title for I-1325 would be the “Denying Our Children the Education They Deserve” initiative.

No one who writes about or reports on I-1325 should use the deceptive description that Eyman is using, because it masks the truth about the initiative. Either of the outcomes Eyman is attempting to bring about with I-1325 would have disastrous implications. Simply put, I-1325 is a noxious, incredibly destructive initiative. It deserves to be defeated, and Tim Eyman’s false marketing of it deserves to be exposed.

Twelve Years: Statement from the Founder

Statements & AdvisoriesThreat Analysis

Today and throughout this month, Permanent Defense celebrates its twelfth anniversary, marking one hundred and forty-four months of continuous operation. Since February 15th, 2002, PD has served as a critical first line of defense against threats to the commonwealth and the Constitution of Washington State, fighting destructive right wing ballot measures and opposing Tim Eyman’s initiative factory.

Permanent Defense: Twelve YearsPD is also the Northwest Progressive Institute’s oldest project; it became part of the Northwest Progressive Institute when NPI was founded on August 22nd, 2003.

Much has changed in the twelve years since Permanent Defense was launched, in both politics and technology. Permanent Defense happens to be older than the publishing platform it currently runs on (WordPress), older than much of the political blogosphere (including Daily Kos, the Huffington Post, and Politico), and, as mentioned, older than its own parent organization (NPI).

But one thing has not changed: the commitment to ensuring that harmful right wing ballots get the immediate opposition they deserve. That is what Permanent Defense does and does well. For twelve years, PD has worked to protect Washington. Prior to PD’s founding, Tim Eyman was winning at the ballot every year, though his first three successful initiatives were all later overturned by the Supreme Court.

Since PD was founded, however, Eyman has had no consecutive victories at the ballot. This was true two years ago when Permanent Defense celebrated its tenth anniversary, and it remains true today.

While our state and our region remain in need of a progressive movement that can go on offense, Washington’s common wealth and Constitution cannot be left undefended.

That is why Permanent Defense’s work is so important. Campaigns and coalitions come and go, but Permanent Defense is always there. Its resilience stems from its relentlessness; it is a project that lives up to its name.

I am very pleased to report that Permanent Defense’s twelfth year was one of its greatest yet, accentuated by two great victories for our Constitution and our commonwealth: one in court, and one in the court of public opinion.

Early on in the year, the Washington State Supreme Court finally ruled that the undemocratic provision at the heart of Eyman’s I-601 clones… as well as I-601 itself… was unconstitutional. As a consequence, majority rule was restored to our statehouse, and revenue can now be raised by majority vote, like our founders intended.

After having avoided the justiciable controversy in past cases, the Court finally made it unequivocally clear in League of Education Voters v. State of Washington that the words “majority vote” in Article II, Section 22 mean a majority… greater than fifty percent. No more and no less. The ruling is not even a year old yet, but already it ranks as one of the Court’s best and most important decisions.

Later in the year, Permanent Defense worked closely with many other organizations, including some that had supported Eyman’s I-601 clones, to build a strong and diverse coalition to oppose Initiative 517. The goal of Eyman’s I-517 was to make it cheaper and easier for Eyman to qualify initiatives to the ballot, so he could make his initiative factory more lucrative and profitable.

When we first started working against I-517, we were told by many people that it would be difficult to win. But we proved the skeptics wrong on Election Night when the initial results showed I-517 losing, and losing big.

The magnitude of the victory only increased in the days that followed, and within a week, I-517 had become Tim Eyman’s biggest defeat ever, percentage-wise. In the end, the coalition against I-517 claimed 62.71% of the vote. It was the only campaign that received more than a million votes in the election.

Although our electoral focus was on defeating I-517, we also worked to help Washingtonians understand that the five “advisory votes” on their 2013 ballot were really push polls required by Tim Eyman’s I-960. Our efforts to help educate voters paid off. Even though the wording of the questions strongly encouraged voters to vote “Repealed”, a majority of Washingtonians nevertheless defied Eyman and chose to vote “Maintained” instead on three of the five push polls.

While we take great pride in these successes, we know there is more work to do. Tim Eyman hasn’t called it quits. In fact, he remains as obsessed as ever with making his two-thirds to raise revenue scheme the law of the land.

Since our founders very wisely did not make it possible to amend the Constitution by ballot initiative, Eyman is hawking a Ted Cruz-style measure that would repeal $1 billion in funding for our public schools each year unless the Legislature approves a constitutional amendment to make Eyman’s two-thirds scheme permanent.

Eyman is essentially attempting to blackmail lawmakers by taking our schools hostage. It is outrageous and we will not stand for it. With your help, we will ensure that Eyman’s I-1325 receives the fierce opposition it deserves.

We know from over a decade of experience fighting right wing initiatives that getting an early start makes a huge difference. Given that Eyman has printed up petitions for I-1325, there can be no doubt that Eyman is serious about getting I-1325 to the ballot.

In the past, Eyman has consistently been able to find a wealthy benefactor to finance his initiative factory when he needed one. We are therefore assuming that I-1325 will be on the ballot. If it doesn’t make it, all well and good, but we can’t afford to wait and hope that Eyman falls short. I-1325 is incredibly destructive and it needs opposition now. We will provide that early opposition and ask other organizations to join us in building a strong coalition to defeat I-1325.  To do that, we need your help.

  • If you are not a member of the Northwest Progressive Institute, we urge you to become one. Members are the backbone of NPI’s supporter community, providing the time, talent, and treasure that makes NPI’s work possible.
  • If you see a petitioner collecting signatures for I-1325, we ask that you report your experience immediately so we can track Eyman’s signature drive.
  • And if you are free on the evening of April 25th, 2014, we encourage you to join us for NPI’s sixth Spring Fundraising Gala, where we will celebrate the victory over I-517 and explain what we’re doing to mobilize opposition to I-1325.

Through perseverance and hard work, we have won many victories over these past twelve years. Tim Eyman may be relentless, but so are we. We don’t give in and we don’t give up, because our Constitution and our commonwealth need safeguarding.

We need this fighting spirit to be contagious. It is no exaggeration to say that our region’s future depends on our efforts.

Here’s to a great thirteenth year for Permanent Defense.

I-1325 would contravene the Supreme Court’s McCleary decision

Rethinking and ReframingStatements & AdvisoriesThreat Analysis

Today, while Tim Eyman was busy trying to generate more publicity for his latest initiative by confronting House Speaker Frank Chopp in the statehouse, the Washington State Supreme Court ordered the State of Washington to submit, no later than April 30th, 2014, a “complete plan for fully implementing its program of basic education for each school year between now and the 2017-2018 school year.”

The order, signed by eight of the Court’s nine justices, also states (PDF):

This plan must address each of the areas of K-12 education identified in ESHB 2261, as well as the implementation plan called for by SHB 2776, and must include a phase-in schedule for fully funding each of the components of basic education. We recognize that the April 30, 2014 shortens the time for the State’s report, but it is clear that the pace of progress must quicken.

“Tim Eyman’s latest initiative violates Article IX of the Washington State Constitution by eliminating $1 billion a year in funding for education and our other vital public services if the Legislature doesn’t do what Tim wants,” said NPI founder and executive director Andrew Villeneuve.

“The Supreme Court was crystal clear in the original McCleary ruling two years ago, and again today: We are not fulfilling our paramount duty of providing every child in Washington with a quality public education. That’s because we are underfunding our schools. Tim Eyman’s I-1325 would make a bad problem much, much worse. It’s coercion: either the Legislature sabotages our cherished tradition of majority rule by voting to adopt a constitutional amendment that gives one third of one house the power to block new revenue, or the sales tax is reduced, wiping out billions every biennium. Either outcome would almost certainly lead to further violations of the state Supreme Court’s order.”

The sales tax and the property tax are the principal sources of revenue for Washington’s K-12 schools. Saying that full funding is needed “now”, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn’s office is proposing legislation that would trigger a one percent increase in the sales tax if the Legislature does not figure out how to comply with the McCleary decision by January 1st, 2018. (Eyman’s initiative, as mentioned, would decrease the sales tax by one percent unless Eyman gets what he wants).

“Tim Eyman and a number of Republican lawmakers would like us all to believe we can fully fund our public schools without reforming our broken, regressive tax system,” said Villeneuve.

“If it were that easy, we would have done it already. Where’s that money going to come from? What services do these guys propose defunding so we can rob Peter to pay Paul? Should we gut foster care? Eliminate state support for the disabled and mentally ill? Set all prisoners free and close the Department of Corrections? Or do Eyman and Republican legislators think we can get the funds by planting money trees?”

“We are not going to solve this problem by having this debate in a fantasy world. Arithmetic matters. The reality is, public services cost money, and it is our collective responsibility as a people to ensure our youth get a good public education. Our highest law requires it. More importantly, it’s at the heart of what we believe as Washingtonians. These are our values. We made a promise to our kids and to ourselves when our forebears ratified our Constitution. Tim Eyman would have us ignore that obligation. His toxic politics and destructive initiatives should be rejected.”

Tim Eyman borrows from the Ted Cruz playbook, turns to coercion with latest initiative

Statements & AdvisoriesThreat Analysis

Perhaps galvanized by the headline-grabbing but ultimately failed tactics used by the Tea Party faction of the Republican Party during last autumn’s needless government shutdown, Tim Eyman today filed a revised draft of an initiative idea he’s been toying with for the last few weeks.

The latest incarnation, which does not yet have a number or a ballot title, demands that by July 1st, 2015, the Legislature put a constitutional amendment on the ballot requiring a two-thirds vote to raise revenue, or else the sales tax would be reduced by a penny, which would wipe out around $1 billion (with a b) in funding for public schools, universities, and other vital public services.

The state sales tax and property tax are the primary source of revenue for education, which the Constitution says is the state’s “paramount duty.” In McCleary v. State, The Supreme Court ruled in early 2012 that the state is failing to abide by the Constitution by underfunding its public schools.

“Tim Eyman’s latest initiative is unconstitutional, just as his I-601 clones were,” said NPI founder and executive director Andrew Villeneuve, who has organized opposition to Eyman’s destructive initiatives for nearly twelve years. “And that’s no accident. Eyman is just as interested in undermining and weakening our plan of government as he is in eviscerating the vital public services we all rely on. He’s a menace.”

Eyman’s latest destructive initiative seems directed at lawmakers, but we suspect Eyman also had the Supreme Court in mind when he wrote it. This, apparently, is his reply to the League of Education Voters decision.

For it is thanks to the Supreme Court that the main provision in Eyman’s undemocratic, unconstitutional I-601 clones is now gone, and majority rule restored to our statehouse. Last year, the Court struck down the two-thirds vote requirement for new-revenue imposed by those initiatives, affirming that the only lawful and legitimate way to change our Constitution is by amendment.

And ironically, amendments must begin in the Legislature and receive a two-thirds vote before going to the people.

Eyman therefore needs a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to make his unsound and undemocratic two-thirds scheme permanent. He needs lawmakers’ cooperation.

Since he doesn’t have the votes, he’s returning to his revenue-slashing roots and borrowing from the Ted Cruz playbook by introducing an initiative that would gut funding for public schools – and purposely defy the Supreme Court’s McCleary decision – if the Legislature doesn’t do what he wants.

Eyman’s latest initiative boils down to this: “Either comply with my wishes, or watch a billion dollars in funding for schools vanish. Clock’s ticking!”

“Tim Eyman is betting that Washingtonians care more about giving a third of lawmakers the power to block new revenue than they do about fulfilling our paramount duty, the education of Washington’s young people,” said Villeneuve. “We couldn’t disagree more, and in the months ahead, we will rally Washingtonians to join us in fiercely opposing this unconstitutional, coercive initiative.”

“We’re energized and we’re ready to work once again to protect our beautiful Evergreen State,” said Villeneuve. “But we find it sad that Tim Eyman has nothing better to do than to threaten the future of Washington’s youth.”

“Not once has Tim ever proposed an initiative that would help people. If he wanted, he could direct his energies towards ending homelessness, cleaning up Puget Sound, or ensuring vulnerable populations like the mentally ill get the care they need. But he’d rather burn than build. Instead of contributing to the betterment of our communities, he seeks their destruction.”

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