Tag Archives: Tim Eyman’s Push Polls

Backgrounder: Voters to see twelve “advisory votes” (Tim Eyman push polls) this year

Ballot Watchdogging

In less than a month, elections officials throughout Washington will mail out ballots to military and overseas voters, kicking off the November 2019 autumn general election in Washington State. This year, voters in every part of the state will see an unprecedented number of “advisory vote” measures on their ballots… three times as many as ever before.

Conceived by disgraced initiative promoter Tim Eyman, these measures masquerade as legitimate ballot measures when they are in fact a form of push poll, similar to the widely hated malicious telephone attack campaigns classified as a “DIRTY TRICK” by Safire’s Political Dictionary.

Our team at the Northwest Progressive Institute has prepared the following Q&A to provide answers to commonly asked questions about “advisory votes”.

We hope this discussion helps you make sense of this year’s ballot.


What are “advisory votes”?

Conceptually, an advisory vote is a nonbinding plebiscite… a kind of ballot measure that asks voters to weigh in and express an opinion on an issue, but which does not change public policy.

However, at the state level in Washington, “advisory votes” are actually a form of push poll concocted by disgraced initiative promoter Tim Eyman to load up Washingtonians’ ballots with anti-tax propaganda.

Why do you call the “advisory votes” push polls, and why do you put “advisory votes” in quotation marks?

We call “advisory votes” push polls because that is what they really are.

“Advisory votes” is not an accurate descriptor, so we put it in quotes.

A push poll is generally understood to be a type of campaign tactic that attempts to influence public opinion by pretending to measure it.

For example, a candidate who wants to undermine support for a rival might pay a political operative to call voters with a script that dishes dirt on the rival candidate and then asks the voter for their opinion of the rival candidate. The poll itself is meaningless; the question being asked suggests its own answer. Consider the following script:

John Doe is running for city council this year in Anytown, Washington. John Doe was recently caught speeding by our local police department and ticketed for going too fast in a school zone. John Doe’s neighbors have also complained that his animals are aggressive and a threat to kids playing in his neighborhood. The police have been called many times to John Doe’s home to deal with complaints made against him by his neighbors. Knowing these facts, are you more likely or less likely to support John Doe’s candidacy for city council?

Notice the script ends in a question, but any data resulting from question responses is totally worthless because it is preceded by information meant to bias the listener against John Doe. That’s actually not a problem for the poll’s creator, though, because the poll itself is a mechanism for the dissemination of information that could harm the prospects of John Doe.

The results are irrelevant… by design.

Eyman’s push polls work the same way. Their language and format was conceived by Eyman, and dictated by Initiative 960, which Eyman wrote.

Each push poll follows an identical format: highly misleading information is offered about a House and Senate action that raised state revenue (beginning with the words “The Legislature imposed, without a vote of the people…”), and then voters are asked to render a verdict on the tax increase by checking one of two ovals: “Repealed” or “Maintained”.

Voters are not told that regardless of how they vote, the law will not be changed. The only hint that they’re participating in a con is in the heading, which says “Advisory Vote”.

But don’t “advisory votes” still have some value, even if they’re not binding?

No. They don’t have any value whatsoever.

In fact, they have negative value: they waste tax dollars and confuse voters. Legislators can’t draw any conclusions from an “advisory vote” result, because the questions voters are being asked are not neutrally written.

Bad inputs produce bad outputs.

As a programmer working at Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Facebook, or countless other tech companies might say: garbage in, garbage out.

You wouldn’t consider a poll that contained negative information about one candidate and positive information about another as credible; it would not be deserving of a news story. Similarly, legislators cannot use any of the data produced by the “advisory votes” to inform their future decision making. The data is garbage. It simply cannot be relied upon.

Where did “advisory votes” come from? How’d we end up with them?

The RCW establishing “advisory votes” first came into being with the narrow passage of Eyman’s I-960 in 2007.

Initiative 960 was a measure that principally attempted to reinstate an unconstitutional scheme to require a two-thirds vote to raise revenue, in violation of Article II, Section 22 of the Washington State Constitution, which says that bills shall pass by majority vote.

“Advisory votes” are not a form of ballot measure provided for by the Washington State Constitution, so we believe they are likely unconstitutional, like that two-thirds vote requirement was.

The Constitution spells out three kinds of measures: initiatives, referenda, and constitutional amendments, all of which are binding.

  • Initiatives (see Article II, Section 1) are laws proposed by citizens. An initiative can either go to the people or to the Legislature for consideration. All initiatives originate from citizen petitions. Petitions must contain signatures bearing the marks of a number of voters equivalent to eight percent of the total who turned out in the last election for governor.
  • Referenda (see Article II, Section 1) are votes on actions taken by the Legislature or by the Washington Citizens’ Commission on Salaries for Elected Officials. Usually, the action is a bill, but it could also be a salary schedule or an initiative passed by the Legislature. A referendum can be triggered in one of two ways: by majority vote of the Legislature, or by citizen petition. Petitions must contain signatures bearing the marks of a number of voters equivalent to four percent of the total who turned out in the last election for governor.
  • Constitutional amendments (see Article XXIII) are proposed changes to the state’s plan of government. To pass, a constitutional amendment must first earn the support of two-thirds of the members of the Washington State House and Senate, then a majority vote of the people at a general election.

The first “advisory votes” appeared on ballots seven years ago, at the 2012 general election. Although Eyman’s push polls date back to December of 2007, when I-960 initially went into effect (part of it would later be struck down as unconstitutional in League of Education Voters v. State of Washington), no one remembered that they existed until several years later… not even their creator Tim Eyman.

How many “advisory votes” have appeared on Washingtonians’ ballots to date?

There have been a total of nineteen, from 2012 through 2018.

And how many will voters see this year?

Twelve. That’s three times as many as voters have seen at once before.

There are so many Eyman push polls in 2019 that important local races for county, city, port, and school board positions will be pushed to the back of the ballot.

Why are there so many this year?

Because Eyman set up his push polls to be automatically triggered any time the Legislature takes an action that raises state revenue, and the Legislature this year did more to reform our tax code than in any other recent session.

The Legislature could have nixed this year’s crop of push polls by passing Senator Patty Kuderer’s SB 5224, as The Herald’s Jerry Cornfield recently explained.

The bill cleared the Senate, but it did not get out of the House due to opposition from former Speaker Frank Chopp.

The bill remains alive and we are working to pass it in the 2020 legislative session.

As part of its efforts to create a budget that could meet the state’s needs, the Legislature adopted a slew of bills that increased state revenue. For example, the Legislature adopted a more progressive real estate excise tax (REET) which replaces the old flat REET. The new REET is graduated, so will result in some Washingtonians paying less tax, but the passage of the bill nevertheless triggers an “advisory vote” because the new REET increases state revenue overall.

The twelve bills that are fodder for this year’s push polls are:

This list is available on the Secretary of State’s website. Each link goes to the text of the bill the Legislature approved.

Despite what Tim Eyman has claimed, these revenue reforms are pretty modest.

The taxpayers most affected by the Legislature’s actions are large corporations that can easily afford to pay more to support Washington’s public services, like the Wall Street banks that lost a lucrative tax break.

What else is on the statewide ballot this year?

There are three legitimate statewide measures that are binding (meaning, their outcomes will influence public policy).

  • Tim Eyman has an initiative to gut transportation funding at the state, regional, and local levels, impairing Washingtonians’ mobility (I-976).
  • There is also a referendum that would reinstate Tim Eyman’s I-200 (R-88) and prohibit state agencies from undertaking affirmative action projects.
  • Finally, there is a constitutional amendment, Senate Joint Resolution 8200, concerning the purposes for which the state’s emergency powers can be invoked.

Because fourteen of the fifteen measures appearing on the 2019 ballot are Eyman-related (SJR 8200 is the only one that isn’t), we’re calling it “the Eymallot”.

Are there costs associated with the presence of Eyman’s push polls on the ballot?

Yes. As The Herald of Everett recently reported:

In previous elections, each measure soaked up two pages in the voter pamphlet and the cost per page ranged between $12,000 and $15,000 depending on what else was in the pamphlet.

Final figures for this year won’t be known until September. If they’re in line with the past, these measures will require 24 pages at a cost of up to a half-million taxpayer dollars.

The costs associated with Eyman’s push polls go far beyond pages in the voter’s pamphlet statement, however. The push polls also increase the cost to Washington’s thirty-nine counties to print, send, and tabulate ballots. Quantifying these additional costs is neither simple nor easy, because the counties do not typically break down elections costs by jurisdiction and category.

However, in odd-numbered years, the counties do bill the State of Washington for state-level items, under an arrangement that dates back several decades. And in 2017, in most counties, the only state level items on the ballot were “advisory votes”, because there were no initiatives, referenda, or constitutional amendments on the ballot that year. That gives us a better idea of how much the “advisory votes” cost on their own.

As we explained to the editors and fellow readers of the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, our research at the Northwest Progressive Institute found that Walla Walla County billed the state of Washington $11,438.52 for costs associated with the “advisory votes.” That was the bill for just one of the state’s thirty-nine counties in one year!

We have compiled a spreadsheet that documents the cost to the counties of the 2017 crop of “advisory votes”. It can be downloaded from Permanent Defense’s website.

Where can I find additional information about the “advisory votes”?

Statement on Senate passage of legislation to repeal Tim Eyman’s push polls

Legislation & TestimonyStatements & Advisories

This morning, the Washington State Senate adopted NPI-backed legislation to permanently abolish Tim Eyman’s push polls, which Eyman falsely calls advisory votes.

Senate Bill 5224, prime sponsored by Patty Kuderer, passed out of the Senate with bipartisan support.

Northwest Progressive Institute Founder and Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve issued the following statement following the vote.

“Congratulations to the Washington State Senate on the passage of Senate Bill 5224! For over half a decade, Washingtonians’ ballots have been burdened with the clutter of Tim Eyman’s push polls… anti-tax, anti-government propaganda falsely dressed up as plebiscites. Thankfully, we are now on the verge of getting rid of what has become an annual exercise in trickery and confusion. ‘Advisory votes’ are wasteful and deceptive. They are intended to shape public opinion, not measure it. Their very naming is dishonest. To ascertain where the public is on any issue, it’s vital to ask neutrally-worded questions. A question that suggests its own answer will not yield any useful data.”

In a presentation to the Senate State Government, Tribal Relations & Elections Committee one month ago, Villeneuve demonstrated how similar the advisory votes are to traditional telephone push polls, which are listed in the most recent version of Safire’s Political Dictionary under the entry DIRTY TRICKS. Not long after that hearing, the Committee voted unanimously to advance Senate Bill 5224, with all three Republicans voting aye.

Those same three Republicans joined most of the Senate’s Democratic members in voting for Senate Bill 5224, and were essential to the bill’s final passage.

“NPI is extremely grateful to Senators Hans Zeiger, Barbara Bailey, and Brad Hawkins for their votes in support of SB 5224,” said Villeneuve.

“These three Republican Senators listened to what we had to say in committee and then took a courageous vote twice to repeal Tim Eyman’s push polls, knowing full well that they were voting against Eyman’s wishes. They did the right thing instead of bowing to Eyman’s self-serving demands. This is what public service is supposed to be about: listening with an open mind and then voting for what’s in the best interest of our state.”

“We also want to thank Senator Patty Kuderer, who represents the Northwest Progressive Institute’s home legislative district, the 48th. Without Senator Kuderer’s leadership, this bill wouldn’t have been introduced, wouldn’t have earned a do pass recommendation, and wouldn’t have passed out of the State Senate today. NPI is honored to be represented by Senator Kuderer, and looks forward to continuing to work with her to raise Washington’s quality of life.”

Tim Eyman’s tax increase figures don’t belong in anyone’s reporting

Rethinking and ReframingStatements & Advisories

This morning, Tim Eyman sent out an email which claims that the Washington State Legislature has “recently imposed $24 billion in higher taxes”.

Don’t be fooled: These and other figures Eyman included in his email are misleading numbers that do not belong in anyone’s reporting.

The statistics Eyman sent are derived from the ten year projections that a Tim Eyman written law requires the Office of Financial Management to produce.

When Eyman says the numbers came from OFM, what he’s not telling you is that OFM only publishes these ten year revenue projections because they’re required to by self-serving language that Tim Eyman repeatedly put in his initiatives.

Here’s the provision that requires them (RCW 43.135.031):

For any bill introduced in either the house of representatives or the senate that raises taxes as defined by RCW 43.135.034 or increases fees, the office of financial management must expeditiously determine its cost to the taxpayers in its first ten years of imposition, must promptly and without delay report the results of its analysis by public press release via email to each member of the house of representatives, each member of the senate, the news media, and the public, and must post and maintain these releases on its web site. Any ten-year cost projection must include a year-by-year breakdown. For any bill containing more than one revenue source, a ten-year cost projection for each revenue source will be included along with the bill’s total ten-year cost projection. The press release shall include the names of the legislators, and their contact information, who are sponsors and cosponsors of the bill so they can provide information to, and answer questions from, the public.

And here is the page OFM maintains in compliance with that RCW.

According to OFM, there were three hundred and eight bills passed in the 2018 session. Just seventeen were classified as tax or fee bills. See OFM’s session summary page.

Eyman simply loves ten year projections because they have lots of zeroes in them. They’re big numbers. Take Eyman’s number for 2018… $13,384,000. That is the amount of revenue that Senate Bill 6269 (see text) was projected to generate over a ten year time period. In 2018, the amount of revenue generated was only $280,000. For 2019, the oil spill response tax authorized by Senate Bill 6269 is forecast to generate $1.37 million.

Anyone can play the game Eyman is playing here. It’s easy. Any amount sounds more impressive when you take it out over ten years.

For example, how much money will you make in the next ten years? Probably a lot more than you’ll make this year or the next two years. How much will your retirement account grow over the next ten years? Probably a lot more than the next one or two years (unless something really bad happens to the markets over the long term).

Budgets, however, are written for one or two years as opposed to ten years. Taxes are collected at the time of sale, or monthly, or quarterly, or annually, or bi-annually… not in ten year increments. Attempting to look ahead ten years (or further) can be useful as a planning or thought exercise, but that is not what Eyman is doing here. Instead, he is trying to deceive the public and press with misleading statistics.

Eyman has no interest in sound governance or long range planning. His objective has always been to wreck government so it can’t work the way it’s supposed to. He is a destroyer, not a builder.

There has never been a Tim Eyman initiative to address homelessness, clean up Puget Sound, spur economic development development in rural communities, or anything else worth doing to improve our state… and there probably never will be, because Tim Eyman is just not interested in strengthening our communities.

Eyman ascribes to the philosophy of Grover Norquist, who told NPR in 2001: “I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.”


From Tim Eyman’s email this morning:

In early 2013, the state supreme court reversed 20 years of judicial precedent and overturned the voters repeated decision to require the Legislature to pass another tax increase with a 2/3 vote.

What’s happened since then?

  • In 2013, they did 5 tax increases costing us $ 877,500,000.
  • In 2014, they did 2 tax increases costing us $ 26,201,000.
  • In 2015, they did 4 tax increases costing us $ 5,173,000,000.
  • In 2016, they did 2 tax increases costing us $ 2,000,000.
  • In 2017, they did 3 tax increases costing us $17,600,000,000.
  • In 2018, they did 1 tax increase costing us $ 13,384,000.

So WITHOUT the 2/3 rule, those 6 legislative sessions cost the taxpayers $23.692 billion (as calculated by OFM, the state’s budget office).

One final note: the State Supreme Court did not break with precedent when it struck down Eyman’s two-thirds scheme for revenue in 2013. Quite the opposite… the Court’s decision was entirely in keeping with its prior rulings, like the Gerberding decision. The Washington State Constitution is clear: bills pass the House and Senate by majority vote. Majority means greater than fifty percent: no more, and no less.

A supermajority is not a majority, just as a submajority is not a majority, because in either case, the outcome is in the hands of a few as opposed to the many.

Our Founders understood this, and that’s why they created Article II, Section 22.

Voters across Washington saying yes to revenue for essential public services in 2017 local elections

Election Postmortem

This morning, serial public disclosure law violator and disgraced initiative promoter Tim Eyman sent out an email claiming that the outcomes of this year’s crop of I-960 mandated advisory votes push polls show that Washington voters are in an anti-tax mood.

“Voters last night had the right to vote on this year’s crop of tax increases. And they rejected all of them,” Eyman wrote.

Actually, they didn’t reject any of them — because none of Eyman’s push polls are legally binding. The outcomes of the push polls are completely meaningless and lawmakers are free to ignore them as they have in the past. The questions voters saw on their ballots were designed by Eyman to prompt voters to vote a certain way, which makes the results totally worthless for the purposes of measuring public opinion.

What is legally binding, though, are the results in the 45th Legislative District, where Democratic Senator-elect Manka Dhingra has about a ten point lead over her Republican rival Jinyoung Lee Englund.

Dhingra is winning having been attacked by Republicans as a tax and spend librul for months. Dhingra’s victory will put an end to Republican management of the state Senate and open the door for consideration of sorely needed progressive ideas.

Republicans — including Eyman — tried to set the stage for a Jinyoung Englund win by launching a “Manka Means Taxes” campaign that encompassed mailers, robocalls, and even yard signs. Tim Eyman soft-launched the campaign in a series of late spring emails in which he harshly denounced the Democratic candidate.

“Manka Dhingra, is just another income-tax-loving, car-tab-gouging, Sound Transit Seattle Democrat,” sneered Eyman in one of the emails, sent on May 31st, previewing what would become a common refrain in forthcoming Republican-financed ads.

But the ads backfired spectacularly. Dhingra went on to win easily in the August Top Two election. Leading up to the general election, Republicans proceeded to spend millions of dollars more attacking her, but Dhingra once again has a comfortable lead over Englund.

Also legally binding are the results of dozens of local propositions in communities across Washington State. Returns for these ballot measures show voters want to invest in Washington’s future.

In community after community, voters are saying yes to proposals to increase revenue, sustain revenue, or authorize bonds to pay for essential public services.

For example:

  • In King County, a proposal to renew and expand the Veterans, Seniors, and Human Services Levy is overwhelmingly passing, with a yes vote of 66.06%, despite a call by KVI talk show hosts John Carlson and Kirby Wilbur for its rejection.
  • In Kitsap County, a proposal to raise funds for maintenance and operations of the Kitsap Regional Library system (which includes nine locations) has the support of 62.64% of voters participating so far. In a press release issued back in July, library trustees explained they submitted the property tax levy request to voters because Tim Eyman’s I-747 has been slowly starving the library system of money.
  • In Clallam County, voters are approving (59.69% yes vote) a proposal to raise the sales tax to fund juvenile justice services. “Juvenile Justice’s responsibilities have expanded in recent years beyond simply managing truancy and incarceration for juveniles,” noted proponents in their voter’s pamphlet statement. “Its staff treats mental health, drug and alcohol problems; arranges for employment training and education; manages a teen court, Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), Child in Need of Services and community-service diversion projects.”
  • In Mukilteo, where Tim Eyman lives, voters are currently saying yes (52.68%) to a proposal to increase the sales tax to invest in street, sidewalk, trails and bicycle improvement projects identified in the City of Mukilteo Transportation Improvement Program. “We can’t afford to delay because investing now in our streets, sidewalks, and bike lanes will prevent big bills later,” proponents argued. Eyman was the sole author of the opposition statement in the voter’s pamphlet, but his arguments are being rejected by a majority of his neighbors who have weighed in so far.
  • In nearby Mountlake Terrace, voters are backing a proposal to authorize bonds pledged to property tax revenue to construct a new city hall and expand the police station by a two-to-one margin (67.07% in favor).

In addition, a large plethora of levies and levy lid lifts to fund public safety are doing well, with only few exceptions.

The threshold for passage for some of these propositions is a 60% yes vote and a minimum turnout of 40% of the jurisdiction’s electorate.

Below is a list of public safety levy propositions currently receiving at least a majority vote of support in key counties throughout Washington State. To pass, a levy must meet any supermajority or minimum turnout requirements applicable to it upon certification of the election, which will take place on November 28th for this cycle. Note that most levies on this list are currently receiving a YES vote well in excess of 60%.

In King County:

  • YES vote for Vashon Island Fire And Rescue Proposition No. 1 Authorizing Restoration of Previous Property Tax Levy Rate: 64.87%
  • YES vote for King County Fire Protection District 20 Proposition No. 1 Levy of General Tax for Maintenance and Operations: 68.88%
  • YES vote for King County Fire Protection District 43 Proposition No. 1 Authorizing Restoration of Previous Property Tax Levy Rate of $1.50 per $1,000 of Assessed Valuation: 57.16%

In Pierce County:

  • YES vote for DuPont Proposition No. 1 Renewal of Six-Year Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Levy: 83.53%
  • YES vote for South Prairie Proposition No. 1 Property Tax Levy Proposition for Emergency Medical Services (Reauthorizing the Previously Existing Levy): 76.60%
  • YES vote for Pierce Fire Protection District No. 5 Proposition No. 1 Six-Year Levy Lid Lift: 61.64%
  • YES vote for Fire Protection District No. 18 Proposition No. 1 Excess Property Tax Levy for Maintenance and Operation Expenses: 65.42%
  • YES vote for Fire Protection District No. 21 Proposition No. 1 Six-Year Levy Lid Lift: 55.13%

In Snohomish County:

  • YES vote for Snohomish Fire District 10 Proposition No. 1 – Emergency Medical Services Property Tax Levy: 70.26%
  • YES vote for Fire District 17 Proposition No. 1 – Lid Lift Restoring EMS Property Tax Levy: 66.49%
  • YES vote for Fire District 25 Proposition No. 1 – Re-Authorizing of Regular Property Tax Levy: 70.80%
  • YES vote for Lake Stevens Fire Proposition No. 1 – Lid Lift Restoring EMS Property Tax Levy: 63.81%
  • YES vote for Bothell Urban Emergency Medical Services District Proposition No. 1 – Emergency Medical Services Tax Equalization Levy: 66.99%

In Spokane County:

  • YES vote for Town of Spangle Proposition No. 1 Fire Protection Service Excess Levy: 85.37%
  • YES vote for Town of Spangle Proposition No. 2 Police Protection Service Excess Levy: 82.50%

In Clark County:

  • YES vote for Washougal Proposition No. 7 Emergency Medical Services Regular Property Tax Levy: 66.90%
  • YES vote for Clark Fire Protection District No. 3 Proposition No. 2 Proposition Authorizing the Restoration of Existing Property Tax Levies: 61.54%

In Yakima County:

  • YES vote for Yakima Fire District #6 Proposition No. 1 Property Tax Levy for Fire Protection and Emergency Medical Services: 72.02%

“Not every revenue request submitted to voters in this election is passing,” noted Northwest Progressive Institute founder and Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve. “But most of the levies we tallied are presently enjoying strong support.”

“The initial results of this election underscore that Washingtonians of all political stripes agree with the idea that we are stronger when we pool our resources… an idea that has served us well since statehood. By working together as taxpayers, we can afford infrastructure and services that enhance our communities’ quality of life.”

Tim Eyman rips state budget he previously called a “mega victory for taxpayers”

Rethinking and ReframingStatements & Advisories

This week, disgraced initiative promoter and serial public disclosure violator Tim Eyman appeared in front of the Snohomish County Council to assail Executive Dave Somers for proposing a modest property tax increase that would ensure the fast-growing county can meet its public safety needs. (The additional revenue Somers is seeking would avert cuts to law enforcement while also allowing five more sheriff’s deputies to be hired.)

During his remarks — a portion of which were aired on KIRO’s evening newscast — Eyman harshly denounced the Washington State Legislature for having raised property taxes on Snohomish County homeowners like him, telling the Council:

Taxpayers have been ravaged by Sound Transit and ST3. Skyrocketing car tab taxes, highest in the nation sales taxes, plus a massive new property tax. All of you have been hearing about the sticker shock from ST3. And then, just a few months later, just as taxpayers were trying to catch their breath, those taxpayers got ravaged by this year’s Legislature that compounded ST3’s burden by dramatically raising property taxes THROUGH THE ROOF.

Eyman has been railing all year against ST3, even though it was handily approved by voters in last November’s presidential election. But it wasn’t so long ago that Eyman was describing the agreement reached by legislators to keep state government open and steer more revenue into Washington’s public schools as “a mega victory for taxpayers”.

Here’s a longer excerpt from Eyman’s June 29th email:

The final budget deal is a mega-victory for taxpayers.

With tax-obsessed Jay Inslee as Governor and tax-salivating Democrats in charge of the House, our legislative successes aren’t measured by what proposals are passed but are instead measured by what proposals are blocked.  In this case, in the face of non-stop pressure by Inslee and the Dems to impose an income tax, capital gains tax, carbon tax, and business taxes, we worked really hard over the past six months and our efforts paid off: the GOP stopped them all.

Later on in the email, Eyman gave a nod of approval to the property tax increase that Senate Republicans insisted on as the budget’s revenue mechanism, saying: “The final watered-down levy swap lowers property taxes for most property owners.”

At no point in his email did Eyman criticize the Senate Republicans for having struck a deal with Democrats that resulted in higher property taxes for urban and suburban Washingtonians — even though he had harshly warned them not to pursue such a course of action just two years prior, during the 2015 legislative session.

In fact, at the end of his June 29th commentary, Eyman called the budget a victory for taxpayers a second time: “So don’t just look at what’s included, look at what’s excluded to recognize the tremendous victory that taxpayers scored with this final budget deal.”

That was then. Summer has now given way to autumn, and Tim Eyman has a new position to go with the new season. What was previously a “mega victory for taxpayers” and a “tremendous victory that taxpayers scored” has somehow, inexplicably, morphed into a defeat… of the worst kind. Taxpayers “got ravaged by this year’s Legislature”, Eyman now says, declaring that property taxes have gone “through the roof”.

Apparently the levy swap wasn’t “watered down” after all.

And apparently it doesn’t matter that some Washingtonians are getting their property taxes cut because others will be seeing an increase… including Eyman, who resides in Mukilteo in the safely Democratic 21st Legislative District.

In addition to blasting the Legislature’s budget in front of the Snohomish County Council, Eyman is urging his followers and anyone who will listen to him to participate in his push polls (the “advisory votes”) by voting “Repealed” to signify their displeasure with the budget.

“Tell next year’s Legislature that you’re against them raising taxes by voting ‘REJECT’ on Tax Advisory Votes 16, 17, and 18 on the November statewide ballot,” Eyman wrote in an October 27th email, forgetting that his Initiative 960 actually dictates that the wording of the two choices in the push polls be “REPEALED” and “MAINTAINED” — as opposed to the more neutral and widely used dichotomy of APPROVED/REJECTED.

Unlike Tim Eyman, state lawmakers and local leaders like Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers have a responsibility to govern. Most of them understand a truth Eyman consistently refuses to acknowledge: Our state and its many vibrant communities could not function or even exist without taxes.

Taxes pay for police and fire departments, emergency medical response, schools, colleges, and universities, parks, pools, hospitals, roads, bridges, mass transit, water and sewer infrastructure, ports, courts, and countless other public services.

As our state’s population grows and as new neighborhoods are developed, the cost of public services goes up. And because we have an upside down tax code, state revenue isn’t keeping pace with the economic growth we’re experiencing. That’s hurting the ability of local governments and state agencies to meet the needs of the people.

Executive Somers recognizes that a growing county like Snohomish can’t afford to ignore the people’s needs. It’s why he’s proposed a modest property tax increase as part of his budget. But what Snohomish County and every jurisdiction across Washington really need is for the Legislature to pass legislation implementing progressive tax reform.

Local governments only have the options that state government gives them. If we start taking serious, meaningful steps to fix our upside down tax code, everyone will benefit.

Everyone, that is, except Tim Eyman. Tim needs our tax code to stay broken so that there will always be an appetite for his initiative factory’s destructive anti-tax initiatives. If lawmakers begin taking steps to make our tax code more equitable and just, that might just put the kibosh on Eyman’s already flailing business.

Tim Eyman’s “advisory votes” are really costly, deceptive, and unconstitutional push polls

Rethinking and ReframingStatements & AdvisoriesThreat Analysis

NPI’s Permanent Defense today released a new critical analysis of the “advisory votes” required by Tim Eyman’s Initiative 960.

Titled “Tim Eyman’s “advisory votes” are really costly, deceptive, and unconstitutional push polls“, it explains that the five “advisory votes” on this year’s ballot are an expensive sham intended to maliciously influence voters, not provide our state’s elected leaders with any useful feedback about the state budget.

“We have begun calling these advisory votes push polls, because that is what they really are,” said Northwest Progressive Institute founder Andrew Villeneuve, who has been organizing opposition to Tim Eyman’s initiatives for nearly twelve years.

“Like all push polls, Eyman’s advisory votes consist of loaded questions that suggest their own responses. Regardless of what the outcome of these five votes are, Eyman has already won, because he has succeeded in cluttering up the front side of every Washingtonian’s ballot with his false ‘government is oppressing you and overtaxing you’ message. Where is the counterpoint? Where is the context?”

“It’s not there. It’s not even in the voter’s pamphlet; I-960 forbids it. The taxpayers of this state are unknowingly paying for Tim Eyman’s propaganda to be marketed to them. It’s ridiculous.”

“In computing, there’s a saying I like: Garbage in, garbage out. What this means is, if you put bad data into a computer program, it will spit bad results out. The computer will unquestioningly process what you give it, even if the data is invalid or makes no sense. That’s analogous to what’s going on here. Some voters may skip the advisory vote questions because they find them confusing or rigged, but most will try to answer them because they want to vote a complete ballot, as every good citizen should. But since the advisory vote questions are no good, the results will also be no good. We are advising all state lawmakers – Democrats and Republicans alike – to draw no conclusions whatsoever from the results of these push polls, except that our tax dollars are being wasted yet again by a Tim Eyman initiative.”

The analysis – which looks at what voters see and what they don’t see when they come across the “advisory votes” – concludes that Eyman’s push polls are costly, deceptive, and unconstitutional. It notes that recent news stories about the advisory votes have failed to discuss the true extent of the cost of the push polls. The approximately $130,000 that was spent to put the push polls into the voter’s pamphlet (which Eyman has ironically called “chump change”) is just the beginning. In any election, there are costs associated with printing, mailing, and tallying ballots. Those costs will be higher in 2013 as a result of the inclusion of Eyman’s five push polls.

Recent news stories have also neglected to discuss the constitutionality of Eyman’s push polls; the analysis explains why NPI believes them to be unconstitutional.

Read the full analysis: Tim Eyman’s “advisory votes” are really costly, deceptive, and unconstitutional push polls

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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.

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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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