Tag Archives: I-900

No On I-900 Voters’ Guide Statement

Rethinking and Reframing

I-900 GOES TOO FAR AND WASTES TAXPAYER’S DOLLARS
Everyone wants government to operate efficiently, and performance reviews are a tool to achieve efficiency when done wisely and with common sense. But, this initiative lacks common sense:

1. Local citizens and their locally elected officials should establish their own goals and priorities, not Olympia;

2. Local governments will have to spend scarce staff time and local taxpayer dollars to collect data for the audits;

3. One size does not fit all. There are over 2,000 units of local government, from large metropolitan cities and counties to small rural mosquito control and irrigation districts. They all have different purposes and responsibilities. Is it really appropriate to compare a unit of government of 300 to a unit of government of 300,000?

I-900 IS UNNECESSARY AND DUPLICATIVE

The 2005 legislature passed two performance audit bills, one for Department of Transportation programs and another for state agencies. Many local governments already provide accountability by conducting their own performance reviews. This initiative is an unnecessary duplication that would add another layer of government and cost tens of millions of tax dollars.

Before you vote, ask yourself – Would you really trust one partisan elected state official to tell your local government what to do?

WE HOPE YOU WILL ANSWER NO AND VOTE NO ON INITIATIVE 900.

Eyman fundraising update

Eye on Money: Developments

The latest figures, from The Olympian’s Brad Shannon:

Eyman’s I-900, which proposes an expansion of performance audits for state and local agencies, raised about $617,000. Of that, $489,494 came from a retired Woodinville investment executive, Michael Dunmire, and his wife, Phyllis Dunmire.

Again, this is nothing but one man’s pet project. Dunmire has provided roughly 80% of Eyman’s financial support (up from 76.5% in figures that appeared in a Spokesman-Review article). Dunmire is pumping Eyman’s committee up like a balloon with donation after donation.

Eyman’s phony view of reality

Rethinking and ReframingStatements & Advisories

In a email to supporters yesterday (copied to the media), Tim Eyman again extended his electronic tin can, asking supporters to make a contribution to his “Help Us Help Ourselves” compensation fund.

He also didn’t waste an opportunity to make a number of feel-good statements about his activities, presenting a phony view of reality.

So, therefore, we ask you to think carefully and consider the following:

Mr. Eyman claims that he and his supporters take on huge challenges every year. But how challenging is it to get an initiative on the ballot when you have one multimillionaire donor (Michael Dumire) who is willing to provide over $300,000 to pay signature gatherers for collecting signatures? Getting on the ballot is no challenge if you have deep pockets. A last look at PDC reports shows that Mr. Dunmire provided a whopping 76.5% of the funding for Eyman’s “signature drive”.

Eyman initiatives do not solve problems. They create problems or make them worse. Almost all have been designed to wreak havoc on government revenue without regard to any of the consequences. They result in budget crunches and cripple valuable local public services.

Initiative 900 does not and will not “end a 40 year prohibition against independent performance audits of state government.” The state legislature already did that with the passage of EHB 1064 earlier this year (the bill was signed into law by Governor Christine Gregoire). Eyman had absolutely nothing to do with the bill or its passage, either. State Democrats had previously passed such legislation, and with Democrats assuming control of the state Senate in 2005, the legislation finally made it through both houses.

Eyman also crowed about his involvement in 1998’s Initiative 200, which barred government sponsored remedies for minorities that have previously been the target of grave injustices. Mr. Eyman’s logic of “treating everyone the same” falls flat on its face, since everyone has not been treated the same in the past, and even today, not everyone is being treated the same.

Then it was on to Initiative 695. Initiative 695 was tossed out in court after it passed because it was found to be unconstitutional. The reason the state motor vehicle excise tax was subsequently repealed was because the Legislature and the Governor were afraid of another effort to take away funding. That plan didn’t work out  too well, as Eyman came back with another initiative anyway

In the 1999-2001 biennium, the state MVET was to have been distributed in three main ways: 47% to state transportation, 29% to local transits, and 24% to local governments. This funding was lost after the Legislature repealed the state MVET.

In terms of local distribution for counties and cities across the state, about $496,904,767 (in 2004) was projected to be lost because of Initiative 695 by the state Department of Revenue. The state Department of Revenue predicted that overall, counting both transportation and local distribution, up to $1,700,000,000 in funding for public services and transportation was lost for the 2001-2003 biennium, statewide. The bottom line is that I-695 blew a huge hole into our state’s transportation funding that has never been fully repaired.

Initiative 747, which passed in 2001, hurt local governments and has led to budget shortfalls across Washington State. Some cities are considering disincorporation because they no longer have the revenues to continue offering their citizens public services. The state loss from I-747 for 2004 alone was projected to be $48,753,000. Local municipalities lost $148,415,000 in 2004 alone – revenues that would have otherwise paid for valuable public services.

Ron Sims’ candidacy for governor of Washington State did NOT fail because of Sims’ tax reform proposals. It failed because his opponent, Christine Gregoire, had more money, support from the state labor council, more endorsements, and statewide name recognition (she had already served two terms as Attorney General).

Eyman loves to take credit for things he had nothing to do with, make political predictions (for instance, that I-912 will be approved this November), and play the role of amateur political scientist.

Eyman also likes to claim that he’s “keeping the political establishment on the defensive” but this is coming from a guy whose last four initiatives (I-267, I-807, I-864, I-892) have all ended in failure.

But Eyman lives in an Orwellian world, so nothing that anybody else says ever seems to matter. It’s the “Ministry of Truth” all over again.

Initiative 900 gives the auditor too much power

Threat Analysis

Close your eyes – and imagine for a moment that the state auditor isn’t Brian Sonntag. Imagine instead that the state auditor is Tim Eyman, with the power to harass agencies like Sound Transit and the Seattle Monorail Project (both of which Eyman hates). Do you like the idea of giving the state auditor the power to push around local governments? What if we got a “rogue auditor”? It’s a question we address in one of our new essays.

Gov. Gregoire signs performance audit legislation

Legislation & Testimony

Today, in Olympia, Governor Christine Gregoire officially signed into law House Bill 1064, the landmark performance audit legislation long sought by state auditor Brian Sonntag and legislators who hope to improve accountability in government.

House Bill 1064 originally passed the state House of Representatives back in February. The Senate revised the bill and approved it on April 7th.

The revised bill authorizes the state auditor, in collaboration with a Citizen Oversight Board, to develop and implement a plan for performance audits of state government.

The Legislature found that the performance audit activities of the joint legislative audit and review committee (JLARC) should be supplemented by making fuller use of the state auditor’s resources and capabilities.

Thanks to this morning’s signing in the Governor’s Conference Room, the state auditor will have the power to conduct performance audits of state agencies.

Permanent Defense Chair Andrew Villeneuve said of the signing: “This is a clear win for Washington State taxpayers. The Governor and the state legislature have done their job and acted on this important issue.”

The signing of the legislation shows that ill-conceived Initiative 900 from Tim Eyman is not needed. And unlike House Bill 1064, Initiative 900 was not drafted with public input.

Initiative 900 overloads Washington State with audits. It requires every government agency and program in the state, including local governments, to be audited. The state auditor’s office says implementing I-900 would cost $90 million every two years.

The office also says the initiative will require the auditor’s office to expand four times its current size and will take a decade or longer to fully implement.

“Thanks to the Legislature’s action on this issue, and the Governor’s approval, Washington State can move forward,” Villeneuve added. “Initiative 900 doesn’t solve anything. Instead of fixing a problem, this initiative will only create new problems.”

Performance audits bill clears state Legislature

Legislation & Testimony

Yesterday, in Olympia, the Washington State House of Representatives concurred with Senate amendments to House Bill 1064, approving the revised bill with 75 voting yes and 22 voting no. The action sends the performance audit legislation to the desk of Governor Christine Gregoire. The original House Bill 1064 passed back in February. The Senate revised the bill and approved it on April 7th.

The revised bill orders the elected state auditor to hire independent contractors to do annual performance audits of state agencies. A panel of citizens will work with the auditor and produce a yearly report card grading state agencies.

Yesterday, the House gave its consent to those revisions and cleared the legislation to be signed into state law.

Permanent Defense Chair Andrew Villeneuve said of the vote: “This is a clear win for Washington State taxpayers. The state Legislature has acted on this important issue and passed legislation for the governor to sign.”

The passage of the legislation shows that ill-conceived Initiative 900 from Tim Eyman is not needed. And unlike House Bill 1064, Initiative 900 was not drafted with public input.

Initiative 900 overloads Washington State with audits. It requires every government agency and program in the state, including local governments, to be audited. The state auditor’s office says implementing I-900 would cost $90 million every two years.

The office also says the initiative will require the auditor’s office to expand four times its current size and will take a decade or longer to fully implement.

“Thanks to the Legislature’s action on this issue, Washington State can move forward,” Villeneuve added. “Initiative 900 doesn’t solve anything. It’s like enlarging a wound instead of applying a bandage.”

Three Years: Statement from the Founder

AnnouncementsThreat Analysis

This week and this month, Permanent Defense is proud to celebrate three years of political activism in Washington State – opposing Tim Eyman, fighting for real tax reform, and promoting the value of public services.

February 2005 marks the end of our third year of operation and the beginning of our fourth.

The last year has been Permanent Defense’s most successful year to date. Working together with our friends and allies, we have accomplished much of what we set out to do a year ago.

Last year, in this statement, I wrote about how imperative it was that we stop Tim Eyman and his initiative factory from causing further devastating harm to Washington State. Thanks to your hard work, and our cooperation with other groups opposed to Eyman, we successfully defeated both I-864 and I-892.

I’d like to reflect on some of the things we’ve accomplished this past year- from February 2004 to February 2005. I’m proud of what this project has been able to accomplish, and I’m confident that we will continue to be successful in our efforts to change Washington State for the better.

  • We defeated Initiative 864 in July of 2004, destroying a threat that would have brought certain disaster to local governments and public services across the state. We fought this issue for a year (June 2003 to July 2004) and won, dispelling Eyman’s myths and rumors about the tax climate.
  • We defeated Initiative 892 in November of 2004, with voters rejecting Eyman’s attempt to proliferate our state with slot machines by a landslide. We mailed flyers, distributed yard signs, appeared in the media, and attended community events to voice our opposition to I-892.
  • We debuted a new e-newsletter for the press – Permanent Defense Focus!, which has helped to counter the lies that Tim Eyman continually feeds the media.
  • We retooled our site through January Launch, July Relaunch, and December Update, with lots of new sections and features, especially the Release Center and the Permanent Defense Forum.
  • We had three times the traffic to our website this year of what we had in 2002 and 2003 combined, with thousands of visits to our site.

In the years since Permanent Defense was founded, Tim Eyman has had one initiative which passed at the polls:  Initiative 776. All of the others have been failures. Eyman is currently is in an 0 for 4 slump and is trying to break out of it by qualifying an initiative to the people that would overload our state with audits.

Eyman’s proposal would have the state shelling out around $90 million every biennium so we can pay to audit every single state agency, program, and account and would require the auditor’s office to expand by four times its current size over the next decade.

Fortunately, the state House and the state Senate are considering much more practical legislation that has the state auditor’s support.

We will continue to vigorously oppose Eyman on all the issues. And we will step up our efforts to fight for real tax reform, including pushing for a state homestead exemption.

We’ll talk about a long term plan for fixing Washington’s tax structure, including alternatives to the state sales tax and the obnoxious “business & occupation tax”. We’ll also talk about tackling the state’s current funding problems.

We will continue to roll out improvements and additions to our website during the next year. So, I hope you’ll stand with us as we embark on the beginning of another year of political activism, and take a moment to pause and reflect on our achievements and accomplishments from the last one.

Thanks for your involvement. Here’s to another successful year!

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