Tag Archives: I-976

Initiative 976 is an initiative to the 2019 Legislature proposed by Tim Eyman. It seeks to wipe out billions of dollars in funding for Sound Transit Link light rail expansion, Amtrak Cascades, and WSDOT. Permanent Defense is working to defeat I-976 in partnership with allies who agree that these vital investments must be protected. Join us at no976.org.

I-976 remains blocked from implementation, Tim Eyman proved wrong again

In the CourtsStatements & Advisories

This afternoon, King County Superior Court Judge Marshall Ferguson ruled that Tim Eyman’s Initiative 976 would remain on ice for the time being, granting a motion by the plaintiffs who have challenged its constitutionality to keep an injunction in place that bars its implementation. I-976 seeks to eliminate billions of dollars in funding for essential transportation needs at the state, regional, and local levels; it passed last November and was immediately subjected to a legal challenge.

Judge Ferguson’s order preserves the status quo while the case progresses in the Washington State Supreme Court. The parties in the case have asked the Court to decide the fate of the preliminary injunction, which was initially issued by Judge Ferguson the day before Thanksgiving last year. The Supreme Court has already upheld the injunction once. Now plaintiffs are asking that it be kept in place until the legal challenge is resolved. Attorney General Bob Ferguson, on the other hand, has asked that the injunction be lifted.

Earlier this week, in a Tuesday email, Tim Eyman falsely told his followers and the press that I-976 would be going into effect today (Friday).

“HUGE VICTORY,” Eyman’s subject line declared. “Judge Ferguson signs Final Judgment Order three days early, I-976 takes effect on Friday.”

Of course, that was a lie. The aforementioned order concerned the disposition of the plaintiffs’ constitutional claims and did not concern the preliminary injunction.

But today’s order does. Judge Marshall Ferguson wrote that it is “ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED that Plaintiffs’ Emergency Motion is GRANTED. The date to lift the preliminary injunction entered in this matter on November 27, 2019 is continued from March 27, 2020 until such date when the Washington Supreme Court rules on Plaintiffs’ Emergency Motion for Stay Pending Review.”

Consequently, I-976 will not be going into effect today as Eyman claimed.

Unusually, Eyman tacitly admitted that his statement about I-976 going into effect was a fabrication in the very same email that he sent out on Tuesday.

Buried in the email, above Eyman’s signature line, was the following:

“To be clear: On behalf of taxpayers, I can’t declare victory yet, but it’s looking good that anxious citizens will get some needed tax relief very soon,” Eyman conceded.

Northwest Progressive Institute founder and Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve thanked media outlets for not picking up on Eyman’s lie and thereby misinforming more Washingtonians about the status of the case.

“These are difficult times and people need accurate, reliable information,” said Villeneuve. “A public health crisis like this coronavirus pandemic reminds us how important the truth is and how important science is. Sadly, Tim Eyman doesn’t care about truth or science. He wants so badly for I-976 to be implemented that he keeps publicly pretending that it has gone into effect… or imminently will.”

“However, I-976 remains on ice. The Supreme Court will have the final word on I-976’s constitutionality, as it always does in a case like this. Like Judge Ferguson, the justices are aware that if the injunction were to be lifted but the initiative later found unconstitutional, the people’s public services would be irreparably harmed.”

“We hope and expect that the Court will keep the injunction in place until it reaches a final decision with respect to Plaintiffs’ constitutional claims.”

The case is Garfield County Transportation Authority et al vs. State of Washington et al, 19-2-30171-6 SEA.

Eighteen Years: Founder’s Retrospective

Statements & Advisories

Today and throughout this month, Permanent Defense celebrates its eighteenth anniversary, marking one two hundred and sixteen months of continuous operation.

Permanent Defense celebrates eighteeny earsThe events of the past twelve months have served as a reminder of how important and essential Permanent Defense’s work is.

After a multi-year stretch with almost no right wing measures on the statewide ballot, we faced an election in which there were two (Initiative 976 and Referendum 88) in yet another odd-numbered year with poor turnout.

We did not realize our 2019 electoral goals, but our work goes on. The results of last November’s election were a setback,  but not the end of the story. We refuse to lose.

We simply can’t afford the destructive cuts to multimodal transportation infrastructure that would result from the implementation of Tim Eyman’s I-976, nor can we allow Eyman’s Initiative 200 to remain in place for another two decades.

2019 also reminded us how tough it is to wage campaigns when the opposition has a stacked deck working in their favor. Going forward, we must end abusive practices like ballot title shopping that make it laughably easy for scammers like Eyman to perpetrate their cons. And we must eliminate Eyman’s taxpayer-funded propaganda from the ballot.

Even though the 2019 ballot was rigged against us with deceptive, poorly written ballot titles and propaganda, we went all in to defeat Initiative 976 and save Initiative 1000.

And we have no regrets about that. Our communities are worth defending from bad ballot measures. Even in an electoral landscape rigged against us, taking a stand for the values our state was founded upon was the just and moral thing to do.

I have no doubt that were it not for the work of NPI’s Permanent Defense project and Keep Washington Rolling/Washington Fairness Coalition partners, the outcomes of both initiatives would have been very lopsided in favor of the right wing. By taking a stand, we brought down the opposition’s margin of victory significantly.

During the past twelve months, in addition to opposing I-976, we also opposed three other Tim Eyman ballot measures that all failed to qualify:

  • Referendum 80;
  • Initiative 1648;
  • and Initiative 1082.

Referendum 80 sought to nullify a set of pay increases approved by Washington Citizens’ Commission on Salaries for Elected Officials, while Initiatives 1608 and 1082 were attempts to repeal modest revenue reforms adopted by the Legislature in the 2019 long session. All three measures died after their signature drives ended in failure.

Were it not for our work to hold Tim Eyman accountable for his lying, cheating, and stealing, Eyman might have been able to line up one or more wealthy benefactors to put money behind those measures, like he has in years past. But he wasn’t able to.

And consequently, Tim Eyman’s Failure Chart gained three new entries.

All the while, Eyman was racking up fines in Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s long-running campaign finance enforcement case against him due to his continuing and willful violations of court orders, which have landed him in contempt.

We wish the Attorney General’s office well in their determined and sorely needed efforts to hold Eyman accountable. This summer, the case against Eyman is scheduled to go to trial, and we will be following the proceedings with great interest.

Even in difficult times and difficult circumstances, there are bright spots. I’m very proud of the groundbreaking initiatives Permanent Defense undertook in support of Initiative 1000 and against Initiative 976 in 2019. They made a difference and demonstrated what can be accomplished with imaginative advocacy.

Enjoy the following chronology of my favorite moments from our eighteenth year.

Eyman abandons Referendum 80

April 12th, 2019

Often his own worst enemy, Eyman made an incorrect assumption when proceeding with plans for a signature drive in support of a measure aimed at nullifying the 2020 salary schedule approved by the Washington Citizens’ Commission on Salaries for Elected Officials in early 2019. As a consequence, all of the work he put into Referendum 80 was for naught, and he abandoned the measure in disgust rather than start over.

Eyman’s I-1648 crashes and burns

July 5th, 2019

With representatives of the Northwest Progressive Institute watching (and photographing!), Tim Eyman was forced to admit that his frantic efforts to qualify a measure to the November 2019 ballot with the muscle of a reactionary, pro-secession group called “Liberty State” had ended in failure.

Tim Eyman in agony
An unhappy Tim Eyman was flanked by glum followers at the Secretary of State’s Elections Annex in Olympia. (Photo: Sherry Bockwinkel for NPI).

Lynnwood Link groundbreaking

September 3rd, 2019

Just after Labor Day, Sound Transit broke ground on Lynnwood Link, an extension of the agency’s regional light rail network, which will bring light rail close to Eyman’s old stomping grounds of Mukilteo (he is now a resident of Bellevue in the heart of King County). Preventing Eyman from interfering with Sound Transit’s efforts to build Link was the objective of the first campaign that Permanent Defense undertook in 2002.

Every groundbreaking and every station opening gets our region closer to a future where people have the freedom to safely and reliably get around without a car.

Lynnwood Link groundbreaking
Elected leaders from the federal, state, and local levels celebrate the groundbreaking of Lynnwood Link (Photo: Andrew Villeneuve/Northwest Progressive Institute)

Eyman ordered to report personal income as campaign contributions by Judge Dixon

September 13th, 2019

Thurston County Superior Court Judge James Dixon granted Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s motion to impose additional sanctions on Eyman, who has consistently tried to evade accountability for his violations of Washington’s public disclosure law through a legal defense strategy dubbed by NPI as “stonewalling in the extreme”.

Dixon ruled that contributions Eyman has previously received as personal ‘gifts’ qualify as campaign contributions and affirmed that Eyman remains in contempt because he has failed to comply with the Court’s discovery orders.

Dixon also awarded the state attorney’s fees.

NO on I-976 Impact Map launched

October 24th, 2019

Never before has the destructive impact of a Tim Eyman initiative been visualized as elegantly and powerfully as it was with our NO on I-976 Impact Map, designed by the talented Oran Viyancy. We rolled out the map at press events in Auburn and Seattle, and it was seen by hundreds of thousands of people on the web or on the local news.

NO on I-976 Impact Map

Spanish language radio ads go up on the air

October 30th, 2019

We developed two ads for Spanish language radio outlets urging a NO vote on Tim Eyman’s transit-destroying Initiative 976 and an APPROVED vote on Initiative 1000, the Washington Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Act. Although not all voters speak English or use it as their first language, very few campaigns make any effort to create materials in languages other than English. We made the effort.

Listen to our NO on I-976 ad:

And our Approve I-1000 ad:

Translations are available in this newsroom bulletin.

Initiative 976 blocked from taking effect

November 27th, 2019

Just before Thanksgiving, King County Superior Court Judge Marshall Ferguson put Eyman’s incredibly destructive I-976 on ice with an injunction barring it from taking effect on December 5th — a decision that was subsequently upheld by the the State Supreme Court a few days later, and a decision that kept funding for transportation improvements flowing to over sixty cities throughout Washington.

Eyman fails to qualify I-1082

January 3rd, 2020

As 2020 began, the deadline to submit signatures for initiatives to the 2020 Legislature came and went without an appearance by Eyman at the Secretary of State’s office. The death of Initiative 1082 went entirely unmentioned by Eyman, who had ceased using the doomed measure as a fundraising gimmick several weeks prior.

Inspired by Permanent Defense’s eighteen year track record of taking on right wing initiatives and getting results? Donate to Permanent Defense PAC now to keep Washington safe from threats to its Constitution and common wealth

NPI responds to today’s I-976 court ruling and Eyman speech

In the Courts

Today, King County Superior Court Judge Marshall Ferguson issued a ruling in the I-976 legal challenge on the parties’ cross motions for summary judgment, just hours before Tim Eyman confirmed that he’s running for Governor as a Republican during a rambling, Trump-like speech in Yakima. NPI founder Andrew Villeneuve offered the following observations in response to these developments.

On the court ruling:

“NPI disagrees with Judge Marshall Ferguson’s ruling on the parties’ cross motions for summary judgment in the I-976 legal challenge. While we deeply appreciate the time that Judge Ferguson took to consider the issues in this complex case, including an entire day of oral argument, we believe the conclusions he reached are erroneous. We concur with the plaintiffs that I-976 suffers from multiple constitutional defects, including violations of the single subject rule and the subject-in-title rule. I-976 is not a well-drafted initiative. We look forward to seeing this case reach the Washington State Supreme Court for a final determination regarding its constitutionality, or lack thereof.”

For further analysis, please see this Cascadia Advocate blog post.

On Eyman’s speech:

“Now that Tim Eyman is a candidate for high office instead of just a pitchman for destructive initiatives, he looks and sounds even more like his idol, Donald Trump. Trump is a master of media manipulation and projection: he projects his own faults onto his opponents every chance that he gets. That’s exactly what Tim Eyman did during his speech in Yakima while speaking to a friendly audience of followers, including Republican precinct committee officers. Both Tim Eyman and Donald Trump are egotistical, narcissistic sociopaths who revel in their ability to exploit and dupe people. Neither Trump nor Eyman is fit to serve in any public office at any level of government.”

Initiative 976 court challenge oral argument on summary judgment: A primer

In the CourtsRethinking and Reframing

This morning, King County Superior Court Judge Marshall Ferguson is once again hearing oral arguments in Garfield County et al v. State of Washington et al, the legal challenge to Tim Eyman’s Initiative 976, which the Garfield County Transportation Authority and other plaintiffs (including intervenor plaintiffs) contend is unconstitutional.

Initiative 976 is the destructive and deceptive measure sponsored by Eyman that Washington voters saw on their ballots last autumn, which falsely advertised the prospect of “thirty dollar car tabs” in its ballot title, with no consequences mentioned whatsoever.

I-976 was adopted with the support of a submajority of voters; 23.44% of Washingtonians registered to vote voted yes on I-976, while the remainder did not vote or voted no.

The measure failed within six counties as well as Sound Transit’s urban and suburban jurisdiction; it passed in Washington’s other thirty-three counties.

Turnout in the 2019 Washington State general election ended up at 45.19%, it was the seventh worst general election turnout in state history.

Like bills, initiatives proposed to the people must comply with all of the provisions of the Washington State Constitution. The plaintiffs in this case allege that Initiative 976 has eleven different constitutional defects.

A list of those defects is available in this post on the Cascadia Advocate.

Some of the alleged defects, if proven by the plaintiffs, would result in the invalidation of the initiative in its entirety.

For example, when a measure runs afoul of the Constitution’s anti-logrolling provision, severability does not apply and all provisions get voided.

In the words of the plaintiffs:

“I-976 had a deceptive ballot title that mislead the voters. It lied about ensuring car tabs would be $30. It combined multiple unrelated subjects to cobble together enough support to get the measure passed, a classic unconstitutional log-rolling guise. I-976 fails to set forth all statutes it amends rendering its application confusing.”

“It intrudes on local home rule powers of taxation for local purposes, seeks to over-turn local election results, and requires diversion of locally approved taxes. I-976 impairs contract obligations by seeking to eliminate Burien’s vehicle license fee that have been pledged to secure its bonds. Each of these matters are constitutional violations requiring that I-976 be struck down,” the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment concludes.

King County's David Hackett making arguments
King County’s David Hackett presents oral arguments in Garfield County v. State (Photo: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

Because I-976 is already on hold thanks to an earlier ruling by Judge Ferguson in November, today’s hearing concerns the parties’ cross motions for summary judgment.

The plaintiffs are asking that Judge Ferguson find I-976 unconstitutional and strike it down; the defendants are asking that I-976 be upheld.

The initiative’s defense, in accordance with state law, is the responsibility of Attorney General Bob Ferguson, because it was passed by voters.

However, several parties have intervened in the case, so there will be many entities making arguments before Judge Ferguson at today’s hearing.

Q&A: Background on the I-976 legal challenge

What is the challenge about and why was it brought?

This case was brought to protect Washington State from the destructive ramifications that implementation of Initiative 976 would entail, and to defend the Washington State Constitution from I-976. I-976 threatens essential funding for multimodal transportation projects at three levels: state, regional, and local.

At the outset of the case, the plaintiffs had two objectives:

  • To temporarily prevent Initiative 976 from taking effect on December 5th, 2019 (as scheduled) and immediately depriving cities and transit agencies all over Washington State from revenue needed to ensure freedom of mobility
  • To permanently prevent Initiative 976 from taking effect by obtaining a declaratory judgment finding it unconstitutional on one or more grounds.

The plaintiffs succeeded in securing their first objective last year, when they persuaded Judge Marshall Ferguson to grant an injunction barring the implementation and enforcement of I-976, an order that was subsequently upheld on appeal. The plaintiffs are now asking Judge Ferguson to issue a declaratory judgment finding I-976 unconstitutional.

Who are the parties in the case?

The parties are:












What happens after oral argument?

Judge Ferguson will consider each party’s arguments and rule on the cross motions for summary judgment. Whichever way he rules, his decision will almost certainly be appealed to the Washington State Supreme Court. A common adage among lawyers is that ninety percent of a case comes down to written briefs. So while today’s oral argument provides an opportunity for the judge to hear from the parties’ attorneys, the judge has already seen hundreds of pages of arguments and supporting documentation from the parties. NPI has copies of these materials and can provide them upon request.

When will the judge rule?

Judge Ferguson indicated this morning in his welcoming remarks to counsel and to the public that he plans to rule early next week, but cautioned he may choose to take more time to develop his ruling. He has set aside all of today for oral argument.

Didn’t the State Supreme Court already issue a ruling in this case?

Yes, but that ruling only concerned the injunction that Judge Ferguson ordered temporarily barring I-976 from going into effect. Attorney General Bob Ferguson requested that the Supreme Court overturn the injunction; a majority of the justices declined that request. I-976 will soon return before the Court for a final determination of its constitutionality. If the justices agree that the plaintiffs have proved I-976 unconstitutional beyond a reasonable doubt, it will not go into effect.

This isn’t the first Eyman initiative to face a legal challenge. How many Tim Eyman initiatives have previously been struck down as unconstitutional? 

Seven if you don’t count Initiative 776, which was partially neutralized in Pierce County II.

  • Initiative 695 (1999; vehicle fees)
  • Initiative 722 (2000; property taxes)
  • Initiative 747 (2001; property taxes)
  • Initiatives 960, 1053, 1185 (2007, 2010, 2012; thresholds for passage of revenue bills)
  • Initiative 1366 (2015; attempted extortion to re-implement I-960/I-1053/I-1185)

A complete accounting of all of the outcomes of the measures that Eyman has attempted is available from NPI’s Permanent Defense project.

NPI hails preliminary injunction against Tim Eyman’s I-976

Election PostmortemIn the Courts

This morning, King County Superior Court Judge Marshall Ferguson ruled that Tim Eyman’s I-976 shall be barred from being implemented until its constitutionality (or lack thereof) can be determined.

I-976 is Eyman’s most recent measure, which seeks to wipe out billions of dollars in bipartisan, voter-approved transportation investments.

“Plaintiffs have a well-grounded fear of immediate invasion of the rights afforded by the Washington Constitution due to implementation of I-976. Implementation on December 5, 2019 of an unconstitutionally misleading statewide initiative, even if approved by a majority of voters, would be an invasion per se of Plaintiffs’ rights under the Washington Constitution,” Judge Ferguson wrote in his decision.

“Put simply, enforcement of what is likely an unconstitutional law would invade Plaintiffs’ constitutional rights.”

Northwest Progressive Institute founder and Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve, who helped organize the campaign against I-976, praised the decision.

“Judge Marshall Ferguson’s order staying Tim Eyman’s I-976 is great news for Washington State,” said Villeneuve. “While this will not be the final word from our courts on I-976, it is encouraging that Judge Ferguson found that the plaintiffs were likely to prevail in their arguments against I-976.”

“I-976 is riddled with constitutional defects and was presented to voters for their consideration with a dishonest ballot title, which is unacceptable.

“No law, whether originating in the Legislature as a bill or originating from the people as an initiative, may violate our plan of government.”

“This is a bedrock principle of our democracy. After twenty years of sponsoring initiatives, you might think Tim Eyman would have learned by now how to write a constitutional initiative, but the truth is that he doesn’t seem to care whether his measures withstand constitutional scrutiny or not.”

“He certainly pretends to care, and he expresses anger when his initiatives are challenged. But someone who really did care wouldn’t throw money at an initiative until they were sure that they had dotted all of their i’s and crossed all of their t’s. Tim Eyman didn’t. Instead, he overreached, like has has so many times in the past.”

“Judge Ferguson has a duty and an obligation to defend the Constitution of Washington State and today he honored that obligation by staying I-976. As a result, our communities will not begin to suffer the grave harms of I-976’s implementation next week.”

“Our team at NPI is incredibly grateful to Judge Ferguson for acting swiftly and thoughtfully to protect our Constitution and our commonwealth from the threat of I-976. We will certainly be giving thanks today and tomorrow for the good sense, judgment, and wisdom that he has shown in reaching this decision.”

I-776 and I-976 are very different, contrary to what Tim Eyman claims

In the Courts

Tim Eyman’s Election Night euphoria has predictably dissolved into whining and complaining over the reality that local governments aren’t going to allow his incredibly destructive I-976 to take effect next month without a constitutional challenge. With the court case now underway, Eyman is anxiously trying to spin I-976 as constitutional.

Eyman argues that since I-776 was partially upheld by the Supreme Court in Pierce County v. State in 2003, I-976 must be constitutional, too.

(I-776 was Eyman’s 2002 initiative that was aimed at slashing vehicle fees. It narrowly passed.)

But this is yet another bogus Eyman argument. It comes from someone with a long track record of losing in the courts.

Every Tim Eyman initiative since 1999 that has gotten past the voters has been challenged successfully on constitutional grounds except for I-900 (2005).

The list of challenged Eyman initiatives is as follows:

If you compare I-776 to I-976, you can see they are very different. I-976 targets fees that didn’t even exist around the turn of the century.

A total of seventeen years elapsed between voters’ consideration of I-776 and I-976.

In that time, the Legislature modified a significant number of RCWs pertaining to transportation funding.

For example, working together with three different governors, the Legislature passed:

  • the nickel transportation package (in 2003);
  • the 2005 Transportation package (in 2005);
  • legislation giving local governments more revenue authority for transportation (in 2020);
  • the Connecting Washington transportation package (in 2015).

The 2005 package authorized vehicle weight fees as a funding source for multimodal transportation projects at the state level, while the 2015 package gave Sound Transit the authority to seek voter approval for a higher motor vehicle excise tax and empowered transportation benefit districts to raise more money from vehicle fees.

In 2015, the Legislature also authorized counties and cities to assume transportation benefit districts; see Chapter 36.74 RCW.

We have created an online comparison between I-776 and I-976 using the original text of each measure as provided by the Secretary of State’s website.

Take a look and examine the source texts.

The plaintiffs in Garfield County et al v. State allege that I-976 has constitutional defects. We agree. Tim Eyman can claim we’re wrong till he’s red in the face, but history is not on his side. The courts will decide who’s right, not Eyman or his new attorney Richard Sanders, who voters decided to remove from the Supreme Court several years ago.

It is essential to remember that the schemes that Eyman has come up with have consistently been found to be unconstitutional.

If Eyman were interested in writing measures that did not have constitutional defects, he would take much greater care when drafting measures like I-976. But he doesn’t.

And others active in right wing politics in Washington State have noticed.

“We feel that we need to have a product that has the best chance of surviving the inevitable court challenge that will follow,” said “Liberty State” organizers Mike McKee and Cary Condotta in a July 2019 message to their fans explaining why their group was choosing not to continue working with Tim Eyman. (For background, see this post.)

For Eyman, there is a big upside to seeing one of his measures get struck down in court: he can go back to his followers and argue that he needs more money for another initiative that does the same thing, or a similar thing. Eyman profits regardless of whether his measures are successful. He knows how to run a good scam.

But Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office is working tirelessly to hold him accountable for violating our public disclosure laws. That could ruin Eyman’s future plans to continue launching attacks on Washington’s communities. Is it any wonder, then, that Eyman furiously denounces the Attorney General as “Fascist Fergie”?

NPI applauds legal challenge to Tim Eyman’s I-976

In the Courts

Today, a coalition of local governments plus the Amalgamated Transit Union and a resident of Thurston County jointly filed suit in King County Superior Court alleging that Tim Eyman’s Initiative 976 is unconstitutional on multiple grounds. The plaintiffs seek an injunction barring I-976 from being implemented following the certification of the November 2019 general election and an order declaring I-976 unconstitutional.

Northwest Progressive Institute founder and Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve welcomed the filing of the legal challenge and wished the plaintiffs well.

“The fight against I-976 continues in a different arena with the filing of this necessary, timely legal challenge,” said Villeneuve.

“Tim Eyman intended for Initiative 976 to be a wrecking ball aimed at our multimodal transportation investments, which he ideologically opposes. If I-976 is ever implemented, that is certainly what it would be. But there’s a good chance it will never go into effect, because the measure itself is a blazing dumpster fire.”

“Like previous Eyman initiatives, I-976 is loaded with constitutional defects. For instance, it violates the single subject rule as well as the subject in title rule. The NPI team agrees with the plaintiffs that I-976 simply cannot withstand constitutional scrutiny. The courts should protect our plan of government and toss I-976 in the scrap heap of Washington State electoral history where it belongs. Then, our Legislature should promptly act to address the concerns that many Washingtonians have about our reliance on a needlessly complicated, multi-layered system of vehicle fees to fund the essential transportation improvements our communities need.”

“The Legislature must also make an initiative reform a top priority. Ridiculous abuses that open the door to deception, like ballot title shopping, need to be ended. A more robust process adopted for developing ballot titles that seeks and utilizes community input must be instituted as well. The title is the only language voters see on their ballots, so its content is of vital importance.”

“It’s irresponsible and immoral to ask voters to decide the fate of a proposed law using dishonest, poorly phrased, one-sided language. If voters are to pass an informed judgment on an initiative, the question they are asked must accurately represent what is being proposed and summarize the potential impacts. That was not the case with I-976. Loaded questions will always yield loaded answers.”

A few thoughts on the November 5th, 2019 initial election results

Election Postmortem

Initial results in the November 2019 general election suggest that the outcome of many races, including the two statewide initiatives, will probably be decided by late ballots. Northwest Progressive Institute founder and Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve issued the following statement on the initial results.

“Tonight, three weeks of voting in the November 2019 general election came to an end. But this election is not over. Until all the ballots are counted and the results certified, this remains an election in progress. There are many, many ballots left to count, and it looks like many people may have voted late. So tonight is not an appropriate juncture to start drawing conclusions about everything that’s on the ballot.”

“One thing we do know: Tim Eyman’s prediction that 65% of voters in every county would back Initiative 976 was wrong. I-976 is failing in several counties and passing only modestly in others. Eyman will not achieve the result that he boasted that he would get. Regardless of the voters’ final verdict on I-976, our efforts to defend Washington’s freedom of mobility and multimodal transportation infrastructure will go on. We must survive Initiative 976. Our state’s future depends on it.”

“We are pleased to see that Gig Harbor and Duvall voters are passing their transportation levies, and pleased to see that Federal Way voters are passing the Stable Homes initiative. We’re happy the King County Medic One levy is passing with a big margin. We’re also tracking parks levies, fire levies, and school levy/bond measures around the state, and we’re seeing positive results for a significant number of those local propositions. These levies would not be passing if people weren’t willing to invest in each other to build better communities. Some of the levies are passing by enormous margins, and that’s very significant to us.”

“We’ll have more analysis of this election in the hours and days to come. Tonight, we’re grateful to have had the opportunity to work with so many people and organizations to defend the values that Washington State was founded upon. Tomorrow our important work continues.”

It’s a clean sweep! Washington newspapers are united against I-976

From the Campaign Trail

As the campaign against Tim Eyman’s incredibly destructive I-976 draws to a close, our team at the Northwest Progressive Institute is feeling grateful.

Grateful to have had the opportunity to work with so many people and organizations against this grave threat to Washington’s mobility, from the Mainstream Republicans of Washington State to All Aboard Washington to the Sierra Club’s Cascade Chapter… all organizations that answered NPI’s call to join forces against a measure that would roll back bipartisan, voter-approved transportation investments that our state needs.

Grateful to the business community and the labor movement for providing Keep Washington Rolling (the coalition against I-976) with the majority of the resources needed to wage a proper and effective NO campaign.

And grateful to all of the newspaper publishers and editorial boards that have weighed in urging a NO vote on this measure.

As of yesterday, NPI had tallied fourteen editorial boards in opposition to I-976 and zero in favor on our Editorial Scoreboard.

Special kudos goes to The Seattle Times, which has editorialized against I-976 not just once, but repeatedly… and every single editorial published on the subject has been a gem. Thank you, Seattle Times!

The editorials excerpted below against I-976 remind us how important newspapers are to our civic health and well-being.

Even in this digital media age, characterized by fragmentation, concentration of ownership, and the decay of once dependable business models, newspapers are still essential.

Newspaper op-ed pages provide a place for the issues of the day to be discussed and debated civilly, with effective moderation.

Newspapers also provide a space for deep dives written by journalists who can help people understand an issue from many angles.

What is published in a newspaper is far more likely to be accessible to a researcher decades from now than a blog post or social media screed. It is essential that we figure out as a society how to sustain the newspapers that we have left. They are just too valuable to lose.

Washington State newspapers are united against Tim Eyman’s I-976


The Seattle Times
Nothing about I-976 is a good idea, in terms of responsible governance or prudent money management. Eyman asks voters to buy a falsity that there’s some miraculous way to fund our state’s backlog of bridge, road and transit needs. Because the courts cannot end this toxic nonsense quickly enough, voters must reject I-976 themselves.

The News Tribune of Tacoma
There’s no question that reliable roads, bridges and public transit are essential to Washington’s economy and quality of life. So there’s no question that voters should reject I-976 in the November 5th election.

The Kitsap Sun
Hastily cutting out $4 billion over the next decade, which is what I-976 is estimated to do, would have a serious effect on that progress for state-managed corridors like Highways 305 and 16, but also for municipalities.

The Yakima Herald-Republic
Eyman’s measure undermines three tenets of conservative governance: local control, designating funds for specific purposes, and user fees in which those who use a service pay for it… With transportation a top-of-mind issue in the state, Initiative 976 is exactly what we don’t need.

The Tri-City Herald
If you care about safe roads and bridges, a strong Washington State Patrol, public transportation services for the elderly and disabled, and a reliable way to get goods from Eastern Washington to shipping ports in Western Washington, then you should oppose I-976.

The Stranger
Basically, this measure is the script for an asteroid-hitting-the-planet movie, except we’d be voting for this asteroid to hit us. And it would be a handout to the 1 percent, making the car tabs on a $300,000 Ferrari cost the same as those on a $3,000 Honda.

Walla Walla Union Bulletin
A dramatic cut in transportation funding statewide and locally is simply not acceptable. We urge voters to reject I-976.

The Columbian of Vancouver
Passage of I-976 would short the statewide transportation budget, including highway construction and the Washington State Patrol, by an estimated $4 billion over the next decade. In Vancouver alone, the city would lose more than half the $9 million it spends annually to carry out its street funding strategy; it also would miss out on transportation grants that require local matching funds.

The Herald of Everett
 I-976 will add to the package of regressive taxes in this state that demand more as a percentage of income from lower- and moderate-income families than from those with higher incomes, in effect a tax break for those who can afford luxury vehicles in the Puget Sound region.

The Spokesman-Review of Spokane
Washington’s vehicle registration fees provide a large portion of the funding for repairing roads and bridges as well as public transportation. Initiative 976 would slash those fees, costing state and local governments more than $4 billion over the next six years.

The Islands’ Sounder
Don’t fall for the shiny $30 tabs and the promise of “saving money” at the expense of yourself, your neighbors, your ferries and the safety of your roads. Vote no on I-976.

Lewiston Morning Tribune
As you drive on those banged up highways, your meager savings from reduced car tabs will evaporate quickly to pay for realignments, new struts or even tires. Passing I-976 may reinvigorate Eyman’s sagging political fortunes, but it’s a loser for you. Vote no.

Ritzville Adams County Journal
Ensuring that our bridges and roads are safe and that the trains and buses run on time is crucial to keeping Washington’s economy on the right track. And for one of the most export-reliant states in the country, it is critical that the goods and supplies from Washington’s farms and businesses can move as quickly and efficiently as possible.

The University of Washington Daily
The Daily Editorial Staff believes that voting no on I-976 is of the utmost importance during this election to keep improving our statewide public transportation. 

Permanent Defense goes up on Spanish language radio to oppose I-976 and support I-1000

From the Campaign Trail

As part of our final push to defeat this year’s crop of right wing ballot measures, NPI’s Permanent Defense PAC is pleased to announce the launch of two ads on Spanish language radio outlets that urge a NO vote on Tim Eyman’s Initiative 976 and an APPROVED vote on Initiative 1000, the Washington Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Act.

Although not all voters speak English or use it as their first language, very few campaigns make any effort to create materials in languages other than English.

At NPI, inclusion is one of our core values. So is practicing what we preach. That’s why we’ve created these ads. We want to make sure everybody understands the importance of voting “NO” on I-976 and “Approved” on I-1000 — even if they don’t speak English.

Here’s our I-976 ad (M Radio Live version):

If you’d prefer to read it, here’s the copy:

NW Como americanos juntos tomamos decisiones sobre nuestro futuro a través de elecciones. En ocasiones tenemos la oportunidad de votar en propuestas de leyes nuevas. Este año una propuesta de Ley llamada Iniciativa 976 amenaza nuestro futuro. Esta ley recorta el financiamiento para arreglar puentes inseguros, crear nuevas vías de tren a lugares como Federal Way, y provee servicio de transporte publico del que dependen nuestras comunidades. La Iniciativa 976 agravara la vialidad, dejándonos un tráfico paralizado y alejados de nuestra familia. Aprende más sobre los altos costos de la Iniciativa 976 en www.No976.org. Vota NO en la Iniciativa 976 antes del 5 de noviembre. Este anuncio es pagado por Permanent Defense PAC: PO Box 2921 en Redmond.

If you don’t understand Spanish, here’s an English language translation:

As Americans, we make decisions together about our future through elections. Sometimes we even get to vote on proposed new laws ourselves. This year, a proposed law called Initiative 976 threatens our future. It cuts funding to fix unsafe bridges, build new train lines to places like Federal Way, and provide bus service our communities rely on. 976 would make traffic worse, stranding us in bumper to bumper gridlock and keeping us apart from our families. Learn more about the heavy costs of 976 by going to www.no976.org. Then, vote NO on Initiative 976 by November 5th. This ad was paid for by Permanent Defense PAC: PO Box 2921, Redmond, WA 98073.

Here’s our I-1000 ad (M Radio Live version)::

If you’d prefer to read it, here’s the copy:

Como americanos juntos tomamos decisiones sobre nuestro futuro a través de elecciones. En ocaciones tenemos la oportunidad de votar en propuestas de leyes nuevas. Este año debemos decidir entre aprobar o rechazar una propuesta de ley llamada Iniciativa 1000. Esta ley permite a las agencias publicas dirigirse a las comunidades como la nuestra para darnos información de oportunidades de trabajo en gobierno y contratos gubernamentales. Si pasa la Ley 1000 estaremos mas cerca de la equidad de pago para las mujeres y ayudará a los veteranos a encontrar trabajo cuando regresen a casa a nuestro estado. Aprende más sobre la Iniciativa 1000 antes del 5 de noviembre. Este anuncio es pagado por Permanent Defense PAC: PO Box 2921 en Redmond.

If you don’t understand Spanish, here’s an English language translation:

As Americans, we make decisions together about our future through elections. Sometimes we even get to vote on proposed new laws ourselves. This year, we must decide whether to approve or reject a proposed law called Initiative 1000. 1000 allows public agencies to reach out to communities like ours to tell us about opportunities to apply for jobs and government contracts. Passage of 1000 will get us closer to equal pay for women and help veterans find jobs after they return home to our state. Learn more about 1000 helps all of us by going to www.wafairness.org. Then, vote APPROVED on Initiative 1000 by November 5th. This ad was paid for by Permanent Defense PAC: PO Box 2921, Redmond, WA 98073.

These ads will be on the air through Election Day on terrestrial and online stations.

You are here:

View our I-976 Impact Map

Permanent Defense has created a tool for visualizing projects and services that could be lost if Tim Eyman’s I-976  is implemented. Take a look:

NO on I-976 Impact Map

We’ve also published a guide to the map which you can read here.

What we do

Permanent Defense works to protect Washington by building a first line of defense against threats to the common wealth and Constitution of the Evergreen State — like Tim Eyman's initiative factory. Learn more.

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