Posts tagged: Tim Eyman
Retired Woodinville financial advisor Mike Dunmire’s been a lifeline for initiative promoter Tim Eyman, pouring a steady cash infusion into Eyman’s signature-gathering (and income-producing) funds.
So for people who watch campaign finance reports on the Public Disclosure Commisson site, it’s become a bit of a parlor game to try to predict the waxing and waning of Dunmire’s support. Is Dunmire tiring of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars a year bankrolling Eyman?
It doesn’t seem so. Dunmire was among the diners at a dinner Friday in which Eyman — a king of self-promotion — presented bobblehead figurines of himself, awarded to the highest bidders. (Price: $1000 for two.)
Eyman asked some of the two dozen people in attendance to send an email about why they support Eyman and his efforts. Here’s Dunmire’s:
Why do I support Tim Eyman? Tim is the only individual looking out for the average citizen and the tax burden government imposes upon them. Tim’s success is derived from several factors., however, first and foremost is that he has his finger on the pulse of the electorate better than anyone else in the state and is able to identify those key pro-taxpayer, pro-freedom, limit-government-power issues that resonate most with voters. His effort to get initiatives on the ballot is relentless and his track record of success is astounding, especially considering his opposition invariably expends 10 times his resources. Tim has the average citizen’s interest at heart and taxpayers throughout the state owe him a debt of gratitude. My wife Phyllis and Mike live in Woodinville. Phyllis taught learning disabled children for 25 years and is now retired and spends her time with charities and showing horses. Mike, a retired financial advisor, spends his time involved with philanthropy, politics and poker.
Comments are welcome.
Initiative promoter Tim Eyman said today that his property tax measure, Initiative 1033, is close to having enough signatures to ensure that it’s on the November ballot.
“We’ve hit 270,000 signatures for I-1033,” Eyman emailed to supporters this morning. I-1033 would cap the growth of state, city and county general-fund taxes, with any dollars over the cap devoted to reducing property taxes.
To get a measure on the ballot, organizers need signatures from 241,153 registered voters. Since some people sign twice, or make up names, or aren’t registered to vote, etc., state election officials recommend a cushion of about 25 percent extra names.
Eyman says that his group’s validity rate is higher than average, at about 83 percent, meaning that 83 out of 100 signatures are deemed valid when the state runs a spot-check of the signatures to protect against fraud. So Eyman’s aiming for 292,000 signatures this year.
“We had an absolutely killer week last week,” he wrote. “Signatures really poured into our P.O. box in Spokane.” That’s where his colleagues, Jack and Mike Fagan, help administer the effort. Mike Fagan is also one of a crowded field of people running for Spokane City Council this year.
There hasn’t been much public opposition to the initiative yet, but opponents typically hold their fire until after a measure actually qualifies for the ballot, because most don’t.
NOTE: The description of I-1033 above was rewritten to more accurately describe it. RR
I’m sitting in the House hearing on a proposed .3 percent sales tax hike, HB 2377.
The proposal, from Rep. Eric Pettigrew, would raise just over $1 billion in three years. Much of that money would be steered into health care: mental health services, hospitals, nursing homes, public health programs and the state’s Basic Health Plan, which provides coverage for thousands of low-income folks. To offset the hit to low-income families, it would also send millions of dollars in state tax rebates back to people who qualify for the federal Earned Income Tax Credit.
The plan would only take effect if voters approve it in November.
The crowded hearing room is full of health care providers, officials and lobbyists representing nurses, hospitals, adult day health programs, public health, etc. They all support the plan as a critical lifeline.
A hospital official said that if the bill passes, hospitals will still see a state budget cut of $110 million over the next two years. Without it, that will be $350 million.
Dianse Sosne, with SEIU 1199 NW, said that proposed budget cuts would tear the state’s health safety net apart. That means mothers, babies, and elderly people ending up in emergency rooms, she said, and more mental health patients ending up in jails, prisons, under bridges and on the streets.
“And ultimately those costs will fall on taxpayers,” she said.
Among the few voices opposing the plan: anti-tax initiative promoter Tim Eyman.
Eyman blasted the proposal, saying that legislative budget writers are protecting non-essential state programs while asking voters to approve a billion-dollar tax hike to stave off cuts to people needing health care.
“Have you no shame?” he said.
“You are fooling no one,” he told lawmakers. “…The best thing you can do for the poor and the middle class is to stop taxing them to death.”
Pettigrew and many of the advocates will hold a press conference about the proposal later this morning.
Republicans blame Gov. Chris Gregoire and Democratic lawmakers for the state’s budget mess. Gregoire and Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown blame the Bush Administration.
Add another to the mix: state Sen. Adam Kline blames initiative pitchman Tim Eyman. From Kline’s Senate blog:
My last post spoke of the magnitude of our budget shortfall. I’ll talk about why we find ourselves in this terrible situation. A succession of Tim Eyman-inspired tax cutting initiatives made our cities, counties and the state extremely vulnerable to this nation-wide economic downturn.
He cites Eyman’s I-695, which — with a big assist from then-Gov. Gary Locke and state lawmakers — largely did away what Kline says was the state’s only progressive tax: the pay-more-for-an-expensive-car license tab fee. The came property tax limits (I-722 and 747).
Guess what? We’re now taking in so little revenue that we can no longer afford the services that are among the core missions of any government.
Kline writes. Now — courtesy Eyman’s I-960 and a predecessor — lawmakers wanting to increase taxes to keep key government services going have two choices. They can muster a two-thirds vote from state lawmakers — which is unlikely — or they can ask voters statewide to approve the increase. Kline continues:
We would have to go easy because most folks in Washington are experiencing their own budget crises….As the price for my vote to raise taxes, I would insist that we not just raise some existing tax, but literally overhaul our tax structure and aim the tax directly at the discretionary income of wealthy people. Under our current post-Eyman tax structure, the wealthy escape taxation to a distressing degree.
Initiative promoter Tim Eyman, who says he still owes $175,000 on a second mortgage he took out on his home to pay for last fall’s unsuccessful Initiative 985, is borrowing more.
In an email to supporters, Eyman says he’s borrowing another $50k against his home’s value to launch his latest ballot measure, which would cap growth in most state and local taxes at the rate of inflation.
The new money will pay for a fundraising letter and for the legal work drafting the measure.
Undeterred by voters’ rejection of his last ballot measure at the polls in November, initiative pitchman Tim Eyman — baby in hand — today filed his “Lower Property Taxes Initiative” for this year.
The measure caps the total revenue from taxes and fees at this year’s level, plus the rate of inflation each year. Any “excess revenues,” say from a future surge in real estate taxes or booming economy, would go into a fund to reduce property taxes the following year. As with Eyman’s earlier property-tax initiative, I-747, voters could override the cap.
“We believe a majority of citizens are going to find it reasonable that governments continue to grow, but that they grow at a rate that we can afford,” Eyman told reporters at the Secretary of State’s office this morning. “When you have 6,7,8 percent increases in our tax burden every year, that compounds every year and it gets exponential to the point that we can’t afford it anymore.”
“Government isn’t getting smaller,” he said. “Even with the initiatives that we’ve passed, government has never gotten smaller. All that we’ve really managed to do is slow down the rate of growth of government.”
The formula in Eyman’s measure, however, doesn’t seem to take into account population growth or other changes, like tough-on-crime laws keeping more people to prison at nearly $30k a year each. (Eyman’s response: that voters can always vote for more if government makes a good case for it.)
Eyman said he expects to start circulating petiitions by February. He and his signature-gatherers will need to collect about 300,000 signatures by July in order to get the measure on the November ballot.