Tag Archives: I-912

Eyman is wrong: Voters have repeatedly agreed with Gov. Chris Gregoire’s fiscal positions when it counts

Rethinking and Reframing

In his latest diatribe to supporters, journalists, and elected leaders, initiative profiteer Tim Eyman trumpets a new SurveyUSA poll that he says proves the governor is unpopular. Eyman’s subject line said it all: “RE:  Gregoire pushes for higher taxes — new poll shows voters HATE her now more than ever — coincidence?  No way!”

The problem with Eyman’s line of argument is that when election time has rolled around (which is when voters’ opinions actually count), the people have repeatedly sided with the governor, sensibly sanctioning her fiscal positions in statewide votes. Let’s review:

  • In 2005, KVI radio hosts John Carlson and Kirby Wilbur (who no longer have their own shows on KVI) spearheaded a right wing initiative to repeal the increase in the gas tax that Governor Gregoire had fought so hard for. They succeeded in getting Initiative 912 on the ballot. Many people, including Tim Eyman, confidently predicted I-912’s passage. But instead, voters defeated it.
  • In 2006, Dennis Falk sponsored another right wing initiative to wipe out the estate tax, which Governor Gregoire and the Legislature had courageously restored and dedicated to the Education Legacy Trust. Voters again said no to the right wing and turned Initiative 920 down in a landslide.
  • In 2008, the people of Washington reelected Governor Gregoire over Dino Rossi, and said no to Tim Eyman’s Initiative 985 by large margins. I-985, which Gregoire opposed, would have opened high occupancy vehicle lanes to everyone during rush hour, and would have redirected revenue to road expansion in the future.
  • And this year, voters resoundingly rejected Tim Eyman’s Initiative 1033, which Gregoire publicly opposed and spent a significant amount of time and energy fighting behind the scenes.

Polls are snapshots in time: an attempt to gauge public opinion. They give political insiders something to talk about but are hardly conclusive or even relevant.

The only polls that really matter take place for a few weeks in the autumn every year. Considering that Governor Gregoire’s record in elections is better than Tim Eyman’s, he is hardly qualified to claim that he understands the pulse of the people of Washington better than she does.

Setting the record straight on I-900, I-912

Election PostmortemStatements & Advisories

Yesterday, Tim Eyman sent out an e-mail congratulating all his supporters on the success of Initiative 900, saying “All of you helped make I-900 a success.  We received over 2400 donations (average contribution was $247.10).”

It’s worth noting that Initiative 900 would have been doomed had it not been for the tremendous financial backing provided by multimillionaire Michael Dunmire. On June 9th, the Spokesman-Review reported on Eyman’s fundraising:

…According to campaign finance records filed with the state Public Disclosure Commission, Eyman has raised about $415,000 for the initiative. Of that, Dunmire and his wife have contributed more than $314,000…

A few weeks later, The Olympian did the same, but with new numbers:

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.

Eyman can calculate the total number of donations and produce an average, but he’s hiding the fact that his initiative was primarily funded by one person. There’s no denying that it wouldn’t have been possible without Dunmire. Using the figures provided by the Olympian, Dunmire’s contributions represent nearly 80% of the total amount Eyman raised. That’s a staggering amount.

In his email, Eyman also wrote: “Several recent news stories have made it sound like the Initiative 900 campaign jumped on the Democrats’ accountability bandwagon – quite the contrary…”

Actually, those news stories were accurate. Eyman did jump on the Democrats’ “accountability bandwagon”. House Democrats and the state auditor, Brian Sonntag (D), had already been working on performance audit legislation for years. Thanks to a change of leadership in the state Senate after last year’s elections, the legislation finally made it to the Governor’s desk and was signed by Gov. Christine Gregoire.

Initiatives aren’t difficult if you have a multimillionaire willing to pour nearly half a million dollars into your initiative campaign. If you have the money, you can qualify for the ballot – it doesn’t matter what your issue is or how popular it might be. Western Washington University political scientist Todd Donovan was correct. There was hardly any excitement around I-900. Without paid signature gatherers and Dunmire’s money, I-900 would have been another failure for Eyman.

It is apparent that Eyman is going to ignore the clearly-expressed wishes of voters in the last election and proceed ahead with his initiative to gut a significant portion of the 2005 transportation package.

If Eyman respected the voters’ decision, he’d drop his plans for his 2006 initiative to repeal the rest of the package and move on. But, since it doesn’t appear he’s going to do that, he will be exhibiting tremendous disrespect for the taxpayers of Washington State.

He and his cohorts gambled on the passage of Initiative 912 and lost. They demanded that voters have a say. Voters have had their say, and they’ve put their stamp of approval on Olympia’s work – they want the state to invest in transportation and our future.

The I-695 vote was six years ago, and the I-776 vote was three years ago. The people have just spoken again, and there’s a clear mandate for keeping the 2005 transportation package intact. (And, it should be remembered that King County voted against both I-695 and I-776. Voters in King County have a clear and consistent record of wanting to invest in better roads, bridges, and transit services

Eyman never looks at the consequences of repealing taxes. There is no free lunch. We can’t have services we’re not willing to pay for.

If we want safe roads and bridges, less congestion, a stronger economy, and a healthier state, we simply must invest in transportation.

The Legislature and the people are in agreement. People like Tim Eyman need to get out of the way and stop obstructing our state’s progress. His efforts are not welcome.

Eyman loses big in 2005 election

Election Postmortem

This year’s election will long be remembered as a turning point in Washington’s history. While Initiative 900 passed, Initiative 912 failed in a stunning defeat for Tim Eyman, who had latched on to the effort spearheaded by KVI talk show hosts John Carlson and Kirby Wilbur. Initiative 900 was passing with about 56% of the vote as of late Monday, November 14th, 2005.

Counties defeating Initiative 900 include Skamania, Klickitat, Grant, Adams, Lincoln, Whitman, San Juan, Garfield, Columbia, Asotin, Ferry, Stevens, Pend Oreille, and Wahkiakum (thirteen total).

All of those counties, curiously, are in rural Washington. Many of those counties traditionally have given Eyman has strongest support.

Thirteen counties are also defeating Initiative 912, but most of those counties include major urban areas, though some are rural.

The real Eyman initiative was defeated yesterday

Election PostmortemStatements & Advisories

Initiative 900, Tim Eyman’s attempt to remain relevant, may have passed with misplaced support, but the real Eyman initiative – Initiative 912 – was being defeated by voters yesterday.

Tim Eyman did not sponsor Initiative 912. He was not involved in the signature drive and he didn’t really go out and campaign for the initiative. But he associated himself with the initiative, and put his credibility on the line again with its fate.

Last Monday, Eyman wrote an e-mail to his supporters, which he copied to the media (as he always does) urging his supporters to vote against the “elitist” opponents of Initiative 912. He called it “your one-in-a-million chance to humble powerful.”

It was actually voters’ one-in-a-million chance to hurt themselves, but voters didn’t do it. Instead, they voted Initiative 912 down.

Eyman and fellow I-912 proponents claim that the opposition was full of “elitists”, but that is entirely ridiculous. Initiative 912 failed because of the huge grassroots effort that was put together to fight it. Voters in neighborhoods throughout the state talked to each other and realized what was at stake.

The advertising campaign and all the money spent may have drawn the most attention. But in the end, I-912 did not fail because of “elitist” opposition – it failed because of strong grassroots opposition.

Voters have said “NO” to Initiative 912. So what has happened to Eyman’s credibility? It’s taken another hit. He gleefully proclaimed that the harder we fought against I-912, the greater the backlash would be – in other words, a strong campaign against 912 would result in its overwhelming passage.

So where was that backlash? It was nowhere to be found.

But it gets more embarrassing. In an e-mail dated September 26th, 2005, Eyman told his supporters and the media:

Same goes for I-912, the gas tax repeal initiative. Put a fork in it, it’s done. It’s going to be approved overwhelmingly in November. Why?  Because we’ve beaten this coalition of opponents (Big Business, Big Labor, politicians, and the press) year after year after year in these same tax battles. Even opponents know it’s over.

Tim Eyman was dead wrong. Initiative 912 did not pass. It has failed. The real Eyman initiative on the ballot this fall – the initiative that actually tried to repeal taxes – was defeated in a stunning victory.

Tim forgot one sizable group in the NO on I-912 coalition: the grassroots. Together with the business community, we have defeated Initiative 912. Union members, environmental activists, and Democratic Party precinct committee officers all helped beat back I-912. It’s a landmark victory. Even I-912 proponents (including Eyman) know it’s a landmark victory.

The election is over. Ballots are still being counted, but Initative 912 is finished. Tim Eyman, unfortunately, is not finished, although that’s not because his ideology is popular. Eyman is a demogogue dependent on special interest money to keep his initiative factory in production. I-900 was a product of that very factory. It made the ballot thanks to roughly half a million dollars from Michael Dunmire.

In that same e-mail, Eyman also wrote:

With I-912, inevitably approved this fall, voters will say NO to Queen Christine’s underhanded effort to sneak through a multi-billion tax increase when the voters clearly opposed it.  But of the $8.5 billion tax increase imposed by the Democrat-controlled Legislature, I-912 only repeals $5.5 billion of it. “$30 Tabs, Round 3” fulfills I-912’s mandate by repealing the remaining $3 billion tax increase.  It finishes the job that I-912 started.

Eyman needs to get out of the political forecasting business. He’s a failure when it comes to gauging what voters think.

Initiative 912 didn’t start any job or create any mandate for the anti-tax zealots. Instead, its failure vindicated Governor Christine Gregoire and state legislators for their courageous work in passing the 2005 transportation package. The voters have spoken: they support new taxes to pay for safer, less congested roads. They want to invest in transportation infrastructure.

If Eyman respects the voters’ decision, he’ll drop his plans for his 2006 initiative to repeal the rest of the package and move on. If he doesn’t, he will be exhibiting tremendous disrespect for the taxpayers of Washington State. He and his cohorts gambled on the passage of Initiative 912 and lost. They demanded that voters have a say. Voters have had their say, and they’ve put their stamp of approval on Olympia’s work.

The defeat of Initiative 912 is a watershed political event and a great victory. But Permanent Defense will continue to defend the 2005 transportation package until the attacks on it end. Twice the 2005 transportation package has been approved. Enough is enough. Voters have been clear: Leave this investment in our future alone. We’ll be waiting to see if Tim Eyman listens, but we’re not holding our breath.

Time to Vote….Today is Election Day

Announcements

If you’re a registered voter and you haven’t yet voted, please do so, whether you go to the polls or receive your ballot in the mail. Remember to vote NO on Initiatives 900, 912, and 330. Vote YES on Initiatives 901 and 336. Also remember to vote for Ron Sims if you live in King County.

Sims is a major advocate for our platform of tax reform and we need to keep him in office. For more NPI/Permanent Defense endorsements, see the NPI Official Blog.

Eyman attacks courageous lawmakers

Legislation & TestimonyStatements & Advisories

In an e-mail to supporters today, copied to the media, Tim Eyman tried to attack and vilify lawmakers for their tremendous courage in passing legislation that will move Washington forward.

Tim also revealed that he needs a civic lesson.

If Mr. Eyman knew anything about the government of the United States of America and of the state of Washington, he would know that it is a republic. In a republic, citizens vote to elect representatives who pass laws and run the government. Those representatives are directly responsible to the people.

Mr. Eyman acts as if the legislature does not have the authority to pass a transportation package or increase taxes to fund safer roads – which the state Constitution explicitly says it does.

Consider the following:

  • Legislators do not need to go to the people to obtain approval for every law they pass. That completely defeats the purpose of a republic and is wholly impractical. Legislators should also not be guided just by past votes on initiatives and referenda. They should look to the future and not the past in determining what is best for the state of Washington.
  • Making tough decisions is difficult. Lawmakers looked to the future of Washington State and saw that more funding would be necessary to invest in a good transportation network. We have crumbling bridges and roadways that need replacing. So they passed a new transportation funding package to invest in our state’s future and our region’s future despite pressure just to maintain the status quo. This was an admirable effort.
  • Similarly, lawmakers made decisions to invest in better education for our state and to not be constrained by supermajority requirements that allow a minority to control tax votes in the state Legislature. If voters don’t like those decisions, they can always elect new representatives. That’s how a republic works.
  • The initiative process has disadvantages. Mr. Eyman says he “reveres” initiatives for their “transparency and consistency”. Initiatives are not transparent. They’re not subject to the legislative process, which allows for public hearings, compromise, amendments, and changes. The legislative process produces better results because it allows for revision and for collaboration. Mr. Eyman’s initiatives have a history of being poorly drafted and unconstitutional.
  • Christine Gregoire’s words are being manipulated. When Gregoire was campaigning for governor, she never said she would be against any tax increases. She did say she was against general increases in the sales tax. Eyman and others are distorting her language to make it appear as if she broke her word.

Lawmakers and members of the media don’t need a lecture from Mr. Eyman on the meaning of courage. This is coming from someone who pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars in supporters’ donations for months while maintaining he was unpaid.

Was that a courageous decision, Mr. Eyman? Was that “having the personal strength and the intestinal fortitude to follow through on your promises”? Of course not.

Tim Eyman is the last person who should be preaching about moral values.

Washington State’s lawmakers and Governor Christine Gregoire, on the other hand, should be praised for their courageous leadership and a legislative session filled with good accomplishments.

Mr. Eyman’s attempts to vilify our state’s leaders should be ignored.

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.

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