Tag Archives: I-1366

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!

Supreme Court affirms ruling that Tim Eyman’s I-1366 is unconstitutional in its entirety

In the Courts

This morning, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled unanimously that Tim Eyman’s I-1366 is unconstitutional, affirming King County Superior Court Judge William Downing’s January ruling striking down the initiative as null and void in its entirety. Six justices signed the majority opinion, authored by Chief Justice Barbara Madsen, while the remaining three justices signed a concurring opinion authored by Associate Justice Steven González.

No further appeal is possible, so today’s verdict means that I-1366 is dead.

I-1366, narrowly approved by a fewer than twenty percent of the state’s registered voters last November, attempted to coerce legislators into passing a constitutional amendment to permanently require a two-thirds vote to raise revenue.

In the event lawmakers refused to vote for Eyman’s desired amendment by April 15th, 2016, the sales tax would have been cut by about 15%, depriving Washington’s public services of a whopping $8 billion over six years.

However, I-1366’s sales tax cut was never implemented because the initiative was found to be unconstitutional by Judge Downing. With that decision now affirmed, I-1366 is no longer a threat to Washington’s people or future.

“We are elated by today’s ruling,” said Northwest Progressive Institute founder and Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve, who has been organizing opposition to Tim Eyman initiatives for more than fourteen years.

“This is truly a great moment for our beloved state. Today, one of the most destructive Eyman initiatives of all time has been finally sent to the graveyard of Washington politics by a united Supreme Court. Our popularly-elected Justices stood up for us and upheld our Constitution, safeguarding our tradition of majority rule and putting a stop to Tim Eyman’s outrageous abuse of the initiative power.”

“All of us at NPI extend our deepest thanks to Paul Lawrence and the team at Pacifica Law Group that represented our courageous and dedicated friends Reuven Carlyle, David Frockt, Paul Bell, Eden Mack, Tony Lee, Angela Bartels, Jerry Reilly, and the League of Women Voters of Washington in this important case. They were outstanding, and they brought the best case we believe could possibly have been brought against this awful initiative, all but guaranteeing it would be thrown out.”

“We look forward to celebrating this victory with our tireless supporters, who have kept us going through thick and thin.”

An updated version of Tim Eyman’s Failure Chart, documenting the long list of Eyman initiatives that have either failed to make the ballot, been defeated by voters, or struck down as unconstitutional may be viewed here.

NPI thanks Senate Democrats for voting to protect Washington’s cherished tradition of majority rule

Legislation & Testimony

This morning, the Washington State Senate voted twenty-six to twenty-three to reject a proposed constitutional amendment (SJR 8211) to undemocratically require a two-thirds vote for passage of any bill that would raise revenue.

The amendment, which itself fittingly required a two-thirds vote to pass in the Senate, was defeated, with all twenty-three Democratic senators voting no and all twenty-six Republican senators (Tim Sheldon included) voting yes.

Following the vote, Northwest Progressive Institute/Permanent Defense founder and Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve thanked Senate Democrats for sticking together to defend Article II, Section 22 of Washington’s Constitution, which the Tim Eyman-backed amendment would have sabotaged.

“Our tradition of majority rule dates back to the founding of our state,” said Villeneuve. “The seventy-five delegates who participated in the 1889 constitutional convention debated voting limits more than just about any other topic, as David Perez of Perkins Coie discovered while researching the convention four years ago during the League of Education Voters case. The delegates decided that the only standard that made sense for passing bills was a majority vote. Not a three-fifths vote, not a two-thirds vote, not a three-fourths vote… a majority vote.”

“Our Founders understood that our state needed a plan of government that balanced majority rule with minority rights. Where they felt it appropriate to protect minority rights, they explicitly required minority consent to take action. That is why there are numerous places in the Constitution that require a two-thirds vote or a three-fifths vote to take an extraordinary action, like amending the Constitution or overriding a veto. But for passage of bills, our Founders made it clear in Article II, Section 22 that an absolute majority was the threshold for passage of bills. They wanted laws to be made by the many, not a few.”

“Today, our Democratic Senators voted to defend our cherished tradition of majority rule. They stood together, unified, for the values Washington was founded upon, in defiance of Tim Eyman and his wealthy benefactors. They did so knowing several of them will likely be attacked in campaign advertising this coming election season. They showed real courage today, and we cannot thank them enough.”

“Tim Eyman knows that when Democrats stand together in opposition to his destructive agenda — and when progressives unify a majority of our state’s people around our finest traditional values — he can’t win. Eyman is well aware that he cannot get the amendment he so desperately wants without Democratic votes. That’s why he resorted to blackmail with Initiative 1366. Thankfully, Eyman’s attempt to coerce Democrats into doing his bidding has been a complete failure.”

“It’s a shame that not a single Republican was willing today to stand up to Tim Eyman today. We would have liked to see some of the Republicans listen to the elder statesmen of their party and vote against SJR 8211. Distinguished Republicans like Sam Reed, Ralph Munro, and Dan Evans, who have been elected statewide to govern in years past, understand that majority rule is good for Republicans and Democrats alike. That’s why they opposed Tim Eyman’s I-1366 last autumn.”

“It’s really too bad that Tim Eyman, who is under investigation for serious violations of our state’s public disclosure laws, continues to enjoy such influence with legislative Republicans. But at least he has none with Democrats. History shall reflect that when our cherished tradition of majority rule came under attack, twenty-three brave Democrats stood up and defended it. They deserve the admiration and thanks of all Washingtonians who want to see our Constitution upheld.”

Statement on Judge Downing’s decision in Lee v. State

In the Courts

This morning, King County Judge William Downing ruled that Tim Eyman’s Initiative 1366 is void in its entirety because it violates multiple provisions of the Washington State Constitution.

Northwest Progressive Institute and Permanent Defense founder Andrew Villeneuve released the following statement in response to the decision.

“We’re thrilled with today’s decision by Judge Downing striking down Tim Eyman’s unconstitutional I-1366,” said Villeneuve. “Judge Downing correctly concluded that I-1366 could not stand because it violates Articles II and XXIII of our Constitution, as we have said all along. Our courts have a responsibility to protect our plan of government from destructive, malicious schemes like Initiative 1366. This decision is a landmark victory for majority rule and for the rule of law.”

“We extend our profound thanks to Paul Lawrence at the team at Pacifica Law Group for ably representing plaintiffs Tony Lee, Angela Bartels, Eden Mack, Reuven Carlyle, David Frockt, Paul Bell, Jerry Reilly, and the League of Women Voters in this case.”

“The legal challenge against Initiative 1366 isn’t over yet. We expect the state and sponsors to appeal this ruling immediately to the Washington State Supreme Court. We are confident that Judge Downing’s well-reasoned decision will be upheld on appeal by the nine justices of our highest court.”

Bravado won’t stop Tim Eyman’s I-1366 from being struck down as unconstitutional

In the Courts

This morning, King County Superior Court Judge William Downing heard oral arguments in Tony Lee, et al. v. State of Washington, et al., the legal challenge to Tim Eyman’s Initiative 1366. I-1366 is Eyman’s most recent and most destructive initiative yet; it was narrowly passed by voters in last November’s general election, which set a record for the lowest general election turnout (38.45%) since the state began its voter registration system in the 1930s.

I-1366 is an outrageous attempt to coerce the Legislature into sabotaging Washington’s tradition of passing bills and budgets by majority rule. It would wipe out $8 billion in sales tax revenue over the next six years unless the Legislature capitulates to Eyman’s wishes and passes a constitutional amendment requiring a two-thirds vote to raise or recover any revenue going forward, which would have the effect of locking Washington’s broken, regressive tax system into place permanently.

In late November, at the time the 2015 general election was certified, I-1366 was challenged in court by the League of Women Voters of Washington, State Senators Reuven Carlyle and David Frockt, Paramount Duty co-organizer Eden Mack, Gerry Reilly, Paul Bell, Tony Lee, and Angela Bartels. Plaintiffs allege that I-1366 is unconstitutional because it contains multiple subjects, runs afoul of the Constitution’s amendment process, exceeds the scope of the people’s initiative power, and improperly restricts the lawmaking power of the 2016 Legislature.

“We strongly agree with the plaintiffs in Lee v. State that Tim Eyman’s I-1366 egregiously violates our plan of government, which has served us well since statehood,” said Northwest Progressive Institute and Permanent Defense founder Andrew Villeneuve, who has been organizing opposition to Tim Eyman’s initiative factory for nearly fourteen years.

“Our state’s founders did their best to come up with a plan of government for Washington that struck a balance between majority rule with minority rights. Sadly, Tim Eyman is so obsessed with upsetting this balance that he has resorted to extortion. He has a knack for crafting deceptive initiatives that self-mask their harm, which makes mounting opposition campaigns in the court of public opinion very difficult. We worked hard against I-1366 last autumn, and while we weren’t able to defeat it then, we were successful in bolstering the no vote in the late ballots.”

“We’re very grateful to Paul Lawrence, Sarah Washburn, and Kymberly Evanson at Pacifica Law Group for taking on this case and carrying on the fight against this awful initiative. Paul was very impressive and on point during oral arguments in court this morning. He thoroughly refuted the defendants’ disingenuous arguments.”

“Tim Eyman’s incessant boasting and continued predictions of total victory have us wondering if he was at at the same hearing that we were. Bravado isn’t going to stop I-1366 from being struck down as unconstitutional.”

“We’re looking forward to reading Judge Downing’s ruling on Thursday. Regardless of what it says, we will continue to fight to uphold our Constitution and our cherished plan of majority rule, so that our state government continues to function the way our founders intended it to.”

NPI/Permanent Defense founder Andrew Villeneuve files Majority Vote Protection Initiative

Rethinking and ReframingStatements & Advisories

This morning, at the Secretary of State’s office in Olympia, Northwest Progressive Institute founder and Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve filed a new statewide initiative, titled the Majority Vote Protection Act. The intent of the initiative is to ensure that going forward, statewide initiatives and referenda only pass if an absolute majority of the state’s registered voters weigh in on them.

Additionally, the Majority Vote Protection Act stipulates that any initiative that attempts to impose any supermajority vote requirement on the Legislature (whether three-fifths, two-thirds, three-fourths, or some other threshold) must pass by the exact same supermajority of the voters, or else it will be declared failed.

“The team at the Northwest Progressive Institute is very excited about defending our Constitution’s balance of majority rule and minority rights with the Majority Vote Protection Act,” said NPI’s Villeneuve.

“This is the very first draft of this initiative, and we look forward to refining and improving it in response to the feedback we receive from our supporters, the public, and the press. We feel strongly that the time has come to change state law to ensure that our cherished tradition of majority rule is protected.”

“Our Constitution requires that bills in the Legislature pass by an absolute majority, but our minimum threshold for passage of initiatives and referenda is merely a majority of whoever turns out to vote. That doesn’t make any sense.”

“Under the lax rules of our current system, a small fraction of the state’s electorate can impose laws on everybody else in an election with poor turnout. That is precisely what’s happening right now with Tim Eyman’s hostage-taking I-1366.”

“As of this morning, turnout in Washington’s 2015 general election stands at a measly 38.28%, with almost no ballots left to count. This is the worst general election turnout since the state began permanent voter registration in the 1930s. A little more than half of the voters who participated in this year’s election voted for I-1366, while slightly less than half voted against I-1366. As Seattle Times columnist Ron Judd astutely pointed out in his column The Wrap earlier this month, this means that I-1366 has the support of less than twenty percent of the electorate.”

“A system of government that permits a few to make decisions for the many is not a true democracy,” Villeneuve said. “The first draft of our Majority Vote Protection Act would amend the statute governing the canvass of statewide ballot measures to require that all initiatives and referenda be voted on by at least an absolute majority of registered voters in order to be declared passed. It would also amend the same statute to stop the initiative process from being used to subvert majority rule by requiring that any initiative which contains some incarnation of a supermajority vote requirement to pass by its own supermajority vote requirement — or else be declared failed.”

NPI welcomes feedback on the Majority Vote Protection Act. Questions and comments pertaining to the new initiative draft may be submitted to NPI through Permanent Defense’s contact form.

Statement on Supreme Court’s ruling in Huff v. Wyman

In the CourtsStatements & AdvisoriesThreat Analysis

Late this morning, the Supreme Court released its ruling in Huff v. Wyman, the preelection legal challenge to Tim Eyman’s I-1366, which sought I-1366’s removal from the November 2015 general election ballot on the basis that 1366 was beyond the scope of the people’s initiative power. The Court decided on September 4th, 2015, that plaintiffs, led by King County Elections Director Sherril Huff and Thurston County Auditor Mary Hall, had not made the clear showing necessary for injunctive relief, but retained the case for a later ruling on the merits. That explanatory ruling was released today.

“We thank the Supreme Court for the timely decision it released today explaining why it did not grant an injunction removing Tim Eyman’s I-1366 from the ballot last summer,” said Northwest Progressive Institute founder and executive director Andrew Villeneuve, who has been organizing opposition to Eyman’s initiatives since February of 2002.

“We agree with King County Superior Court Judge Dean Lum that the fundamental and overriding purpose of I-1366 is to coerce the Legislature, and particularly Democratic lawmakers, into invoking the constitutional amendment process spelled out in Article XXIII, something that an initiative simply cannot do.”

“Today’s ruling from the Supreme Court did not definitively answer the question of whether I-1366 is beyond the scope of the initiative power. We believe this is a question that needs to be answered, and we hope it will be addressed in the forthcoming postelection legal challenge. As we said on Election Night, we remain committed to defeating this incredibly destructive hostage-taking initiative, so that our state’s public services and tradition of majority rule are protected. We will be fully supporting the new challenge to I-1366 that will be filed in the days to come. We urge the courts to swiftly take up this matter and uphold our state Constitution by striking down Tim Eyman’s I-1366 in its entirety.”

Opposition to Eyman’s I-1366 surpasses 60% in King County

Election PostmortemStatements & Advisories

Opposition to Tim Eyman’s I-1366 crossed the sixty percent threshold today in King County after Elections released its 3:58:14 PM report, reaching 60.59%. This is the third consecutive day that the share of the vote against I-1366 in Martin Luther King Jr. County has significantly increased; on Election Night, the NO vote was 57.54%.

Northwest Progressive Institute/Permanent Defense founder and Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve made the following statement following the release of King County Elections’ Friday, November 6th count.

“All of us at the Northwest Progressive Institute would like to express our gratitude to the people of King County for voting so overwhelmingly against Tim Eyman’s awful, hostage-taking I-1366,” said Villeneuve. “While we are not winning statewide, to be prevailing so decisively in King County is a blessing. We are also grateful to voters in Thurston, San Juan, and Jefferson counties for recognizing that I-1366 is bad public policy, and for likewise rejecting the militant, destructive politics of hostage-taking.”

“This morning, Tim Eyman had the audacity to attack The Olympian for its praise of King and Thurston voters’ decision, quoting from the editorial and then sneering to his followers, ‘Not enough father-knows-best condescension for you?’ He also falsely assailed us, his opponents, as contemptous of voters.”

“If Eyman wants to talk about contempt, why don’t we talk about his contempt… for our Constitution, for our system of government, for our elected representatives, and anyone who disagrees with him.”

“Tim Eyman may be in a gloating mood, but we stand resolutely prepared to continue the fight against I-1366 and any other bad ideas he comes up with in the months to come. Eyman is sorely mistaken if he thinks we regard what is happening in this election as anything more than a setback. We are committed to maintaining a permanent defense against his schemes to wreck our government, as well as going on offense to raise Washington’s quality of life.”

“As the Supreme Court has ruled, we are badly underfunding public education. I-1366 would make an already grave problem much, much worse. It must not stand. We urge the Supreme Court to strike it down without delay and uphold our Constitution.”

“Tim Eyman loves to talk about the wisdom and the will of the voters, but he disregards the voters’ will when the people of Washington do not vote in accordance with his wishes. He operates by a double standard.”

“It is worth noting that most of Washington’s nearly four million voters did not even participate in this election. They stayed home. Of the few who turned out, only a narrow majority are approving I-1366. An increasingly large minority are saying NO, including a supermajority (three-fifths) of voters in King County.”

“It’s no secret that Eyman doesn’t take repudiation well. We have no doubt his losses in King, Thurston, San Juan, and Jefferson counties have left him very annoyed, because he can no longer claim that Seattle is the only place where there is a majority opposed to sabotaging Washington’s cherished tradition of legislative majority rule.”

The truth about taxes in Washington: We invest less in our public services than most other states

Rethinking and ReframingStatements & Advisories

Yesterday, longtime pollster Stuart Elway revealed that his latest survey of Washington voters finds that Tim Eyman’s hostage-taking I-1366 is on the rocks, with support dropping to 42% and opposition rising to 42%, a significant shift from last July, when Elway found support for I-1366 to be at 49% and opposition at 36%.

Apparently unnerved by this news and the bad press it generated, Tim Eyman has gotten busy trying to change the subject. To his followers, he sent off a morning missive touting an endorsement from a militant, gun enthusiast outfit called The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

To the state’s press corps, he sent out a copy of a spreadsheet prepared by the Department of Revenue, which lists how much money the state has collected from property taxes every year since 1980, but is not accompanied by any analysis other than his own — which is not credible and cannot be trusted or relied upon.

Eyman’s reason for circulating the data is to prop up his narrative about Washington being a high-tax state with “skyrocketing” property taxes.

But this narrative is false.

Comparative data from the Department of Revenue shows that, as a percentage of personal income, we Washingtonians are paying less in state and local taxes than we have historically, and less than residents of most other states in the Union.

In 1980, the year Eyman is misleadingly trying to draw a comparison with, DOR data shows Washingtonians were paying a little less than $120 in state and local taxes per $1,000 of personal income. As of 2012, the most recent year for which data is available, Washingtonians were paying $96.82 in state and local taxes per $1,000 of personal income. That’s also less than what residents of most other states were paying at that same time. Comparatively speaking, Washington ranks thirty-fifth among the states with respect to state and local taxes.

The United States average, as of 2012, is $105.24 in state and local taxes per $1,000 of personal income. And again, we in Washington pay less than that. We have been on a largely downward trend for decades, as this historical chart shows:

State and Local Taxes Per $1,000 of Personal Income: Washington and All States Average 1976 - 2012

Tim Eyman doesn’t want people to know this information. That is why he never talks about it. He deals in absolutes, because absolutes produce visuals that suit his false narrative, such as the chart from DOR he sent around. But when you deal in absolutes, you cannot make useful or truthful comparisons. It is important to utilize data that allows for relative comparisons, such as the metric of state and local taxes per $1,000 of personal income. And going by that incredibly important metric, we can see that state and local taxes have been going down… not up.

1980 was a very different time: our state had a smaller population and a smaller economy than it does today. Property values and income levels were different. Washington has seen tremendous economic growth as well as an increase in population over the last thirty years. Demand for essential state and local public services has increased significantly as a consequence of population growth and new development, but funding levels have not kept up.

That’s why legislators are presently under a Supreme Court order to comply with Article IX, Section 1 of our Constitution, which stipulates that it is the paramount duty of the state to amply provide for the education of Washington’s youth.

It is true that Washington’s tax code is regressive; the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy has ranked it the worst in the nation. The sad reality is, we have an upside-down system that requires middle and lower income families to pay a much larger percentage of their income in taxes than the wealthy do.

We at NPI think this is wrong, and we want to reform our tax code to make it more progressive. Tim Eyman doesn’t. Progressive tax reform is his worst nightmare, because it could seriously limit the appeal of future anti-tax initiatives, which he profits from qualifying to the ballot on an almost yearly basis.

It is very important that taxes be fair and equitable, because taxes are our membership dues in the State of Washington, and in the cities and counties we call home. Taxes support K-12 schools, colleges, universities, police, fire, and emergency medical response, parks, pools, hospitals, roads, transit, ferries, courts, elections, foster care, jails, prisons, courts, elections, geologic hazards mapping, and a lengthy list of health and human services. By pooling our resources together, we are able to afford these things.

But unfortunately, we haven’t been investing in our essential public services to the degree we should be. Our communities have suffered as a result, and we’ve missed economic opportunities, too. We ought to be investing more than we are. Given that our tax code is so regressive, the sensible way forward is for our state is to require the wealthy (including Tim Eyman’s wealthy benefactors) to step up and pay their fair share. Sadly, Eyman’s benefactors have no interest in being patriotic taxpayers, which is why they’re underwriting Eyman’s hostage-taking I-1366.

Newest Elway poll indicates Eyman’s I-1366 is in trouble

Poll WatchStatements & Advisories

A new survey conducted by pollster Stuart Elway shows that support for Tim Eyman’s I-1366 is dropping, while support is rising, according to an article published this morning by The Seattle Times.

In a poll conducted from October 13th-15th, Elway surveyed five hundred registered voters, and found that 42% of respondents were supporting I-1366, while 42% were opposed and 16% were undecided. Back in the summer, from July 21st-23rd, Elway conducted a poll of Washington voters that found 49% support for I-1366, 36% opposition, and 15% undecided.

Eyman’s I-1366 would cut sales tax revenue by $8 billion over the next six years unless, by next April, the Legislature bows to the will of his wealthy benefactors and passes a constitutional amendment sabotaging our Constitution’s majority vote requirement for passage of bills and budgets.

“Stuart Elway’s new findings provide fresh evidence that our efforts to bring Washingtonians together to defeat Tim Eyman’s incredibly destructive I-1366 are paying off,” said Northwest Progressive Institute founder and Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve, who has been organizing opposition to Eyman’s initiative factory for over thirteen years. “We believe that if Washingtonians truly appreciate the costs and consequences of I-1366, most will vote no. That’s why our diverse, bipartisan coalition is working hard to connect with voters every day. We’re determined to protect our Constitution and the values our state was founded upon.”

Tim Eyman sent out an email this morning trying to minimize Elway’s findings.

“The press will certainly hyperventilate as they always do whenever an Elway poll is released, as if his numbers are printed on stone tablets,” Eyman wrote. “But without perspective, these numbers are meaningless.”

Perspective is certainly useful, but as usual, Eyman’s perspective is warped. Elway’s new findings indicate that the I-1366 isn’t going Eyman’s way… so he’s trying to dismiss them by claiming that Elway’s research is understating the true level of support for I-1366.

Eyman has made this same argument in years past. Four years ago, Eyman disputed an October Elway poll that showed his anti-tolling initiative (I-1125) losing serious ground after the opposition campaign began hitting its stride. But I-1125 ultimately went down to defeat, validating Elway’s conclusion that the measure was losing support.

And two years ago, Elway’s polling on Eyman’s Initiative 517 documented a decline in support between September and October 2013. Elway found that I-517, Eyman’s initiative on initiatives, dropped from 58% in favor and 22% opposed in September to 52% support and 25% opposed in mid-October. I-517 ultimately went on to lose in a landslide, with 62.71% of voters opposed in the only poll that mattered.

The trend is what’s important, and the trend is not going Eyman’s way, so he is trying to dismiss Elway’s research. But Elway’s findings jibe with the response we’re seeing to our campaign. It is significant to us that Elway found a substantial negative swing against I-1366 among “perfect” and “frequent” voters.

“If this survey were the election and only ‘perfect voters’ who have decided cast ballots, turnout would be about 32% and I-1366 would lose by 55% to 45%,” Elway’s memo noted. “If only ‘frequent voters’ voted, turnout would be about 53% and I-1366 would lose by 51% to 49%.”

Secretary of State Kim Wyman is forecasting statewide turnout of forty-six percent for the November 2015 general election.

“We are heartened by Elway’s findings showing a trend against I-1366, but we remain focused on reaching to voters to ensure they’re aware of the devastation I-1366 would cause,” said Villeneuve. “Voting continues until November 3rd, and there are several weeks to go. We have believed throughout this campaign that I-1366 could be defeated and deserves to be defeated. We’ll continue working as hard as we can to ensure as many Washingtonians as possible cast an informed vote against this terrible initiative.”

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