May 7th, 2015
With Washington State’s regular legislative session now disappearing into the rearview mirror, initiative promoter Tim Eyman has once again turned his attention to aggressively hawking his latest and most destructive scheme yet: Initiative 1366, which he is attempting to qualify to the November ballot with the help of Vancouver developer Clyde Holland’s deep pockets.
I-1366 would wipe out around $1 billion a year in funding for our schools, universities, and other vital public services unless, by next April, the Washington State Legislature overturns the Supreme Court’s League of Education Voters decision by passing a constitutional amendment to require a two-thirds vote to raise revenue. It’s Ted Cruz-style blackmail.
Either outcome of I-1366 would be disastrous for Washington State.
“I-1366 is a mean-spirited, incredibly destructive initiative that represents an all-out attack on the values that Washington was founded on,” said Northwest Progressive Institute founder Andrew Villeneuve.
“Eyman’s aim is to force lawmakers to permanently sabotage Article II, Section 22 of our state Constitution, to transfer power over key budgeting decisions from the many to the few. Were that to happen, our state’s broken tax code – which is ranked as the nation’s most regressive – would be permanently locked into place. The fate of any tax reform proposal could be perpetually dictated by just one faction of one political party on one side of the Dome, resulting in gridlock and paralysis.”
“And if lawmakers refuse to do as Eyman demands, then his initiative would blow a huge hole in the state’s operating budget, wiping out around $1 billion a year in funding for vital public services like our schools,” Villeneuve added.
“School funding in Washington State is already so low that lawmakers are under a court order to raise it. Eyman’s I-1366 would destroy all the progress that’s been made to date towards complying with McCleary, and then do much more damage on top of that. I-1366 is unconscionable as well as unconstitutional.”
Counting $250,000 in loans he has taken out against his home, Eyman has raised nearly $900,000 for I-1366 to date, according to reports filed with the PDC.
A third of that sum has been provided by Clyde Holland ($300,000). Another $100,000 was donated by longtime Eyman patron Kemper Freeman Jr. of Bellevue, who owns the Bellevue Collection (Bellevue Square, Bellevue Place, Lincoln Square) and ranks behind only Michael Dunmire as Eyman’s top benefactor.
Petitioners are out collecting signatures for I-1366 now. Reports submitted by activists to NPI’s Permanent Defense following their encounters with petitioners document that petitioners – like Eyman – are falsely advertising I-1366 as a revote on the two-thirds vote requirement struck down by the Supreme Court in League of Education Voters (2013).
I-1366 is really a hostage-taking scheme conceived by Eyman to force Democratic lawmakers to vote to overturn the LEV decision.
Eyman needs their cooperation because, contrary to what he says in his emails and on his petitions, he doesn’t have the power to put a constitutional amendment before the voters. Only the Legislature has that power.
Unlike in other states, Washington’s Constitution cannot be amended by ballot initiative, only by a properly-submitted constitutional amendment. The Constitution explicitly states that all amendments must originate in the Legislature. And ironically, before they can be placed on the ballot for consideration by the people, they must receive a two-thirds vote of each house to pass.
Eyman doesn’t have the votes, which is why he’s resorting to blackmail. Getting two-thirds of the Legislature to agree on anything, even small matters, is often difficult to do, particularly in the polarized times we live in.
Eyman knows that I-1366 would fail if he was truthful about his intentions, which is why he is falsely advertising it, as he did with I-1366’s predecessor I-1325 last year.
Eyman’s emails, whether about I-1366 or another subject, are frequently chock full of misinformation and fudged numbers, while lacking in context.
Reporters, editors, producers, and editorial writers are advised to avoid using any Eyman email to source information for a story, column, or editorial.