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Eyman has no plans to run anything but initiatives

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Eyman vs. Gregoire
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Roach vs. Gregoire

Washington’s most active initiative sponsor dismissed a suggestion that he run for office rather than run initiative campaigns.

Tim Eyman also rejected Gov. Chris Gregoire’s suggestion that Washington could go the way of California and be “initiatived to death.”

“One or two initiatives a year, tops, ever qualify for the ballot,” Eyman said as he and others filed an initiative to return a requirement that the state needs a two-thirds majority to raise taxes.

The state has such a law now, enacted by voters in 2007 with another Eyman initiative, I-960. But Democrats say they will try to modify or repeal that law before any discussion of raising taxes. Anticipating such a move, Eyman and company filed to give voters a change to reinstate it in November if they can gather enough signatures.

David Horsey jousts with Tim Eyman…

Good evening, Netizens…


David Horsey has taken on Tim Eyman, and frankly, I am uncertain if Eyman is quite the glinty-eyed ogre that David Horsey would make him out to be.


On the other hand, I am no fuzzy and warm fan of Tim Eyman, although I have a certain degree of sympathy for many of the Initiatives he has either successfully put or attempted to put on the ballot. I admit freely and openly a great deal of misgivings about one of his most-current efforts, I-1033.


However, in case you haven’t read the entire document, I recommend you read http://www.secstate.wa.gov/elections/initiatives/text/i1033.pdf the complete initiative. On second thought, at least speaking for myself, read it through twice. There is a lot of bureaucratic double-talk present, which is nearly always true of our beloved State Government, and by association, Tim Eyman.


If I were to summarize I-1033 in a simple sentence, I would probably say that, at the expense of various state government programs that are dependent upon property tax levies for their source(s) of funding, what this initiative does is put a spending cap or limitation on the amount of additional property taxes that can be added each year. It is true that, if I-1033 passes, there are a lot of state programs that will need to find additional source(s) of funding, and pretty quickly at that.


This does not prohibit any additional new property taxes. What it states plainly is that if additional property taxes are needed or wanted above the reasonable limits it sets forth, the voters can approve the additional funding as it becomes necessary. I may not have the precise terminology down pat, but at least from what I understand of I-1033, at least now I can see why schools and other tax-dependent organizations have been flooding the airwaves in opposition to I-1033.


Dave

Nonprofits recruiting against I-1033

Non-profit agencies that work on housing and children’s issues are putting out a call for volunteers to work against a state initiative to limit government spending.

Recent polls that show Initiative 1033 with a comfortable lead has groups concerned about a loss of grant funding for programs, said Mary Ann Murphy, executive director of Partners with Families and Children: Spokane, who forwarded the request for help with a phone bank:. “I did get alarmed that perhaps people didn’t know all the implications of how this will play out.”

The sponsor of the initiative questioned whether the agencies should be campaigning for or against any ballot measure, but doubted they’d have much impact.

“If we thought it was going to be really effective, we’d be more upset,” Tim Eyman said.

Another Green Monday

Whether you are for or against Proposition 4, there has to be a reasonable debate amid the current hysteria. What we predicted became true: There’s a witch hunt for those associated with Envision Spokane, and it’s spilling over into the city council race. Case in point: At the Riverside neighborhood forum this week, candidate Mike Fagan (Tim Eyman’s svengali) lied and said The Lands Council supported Envision Spokane. “Don’t believe her when she says she opposes it,” he added. Amber Waldref, the Lands Council development director and city council candidate, who does not support the charter, just shook her head in confusion. (Remember when Eyman called her a “crazy-wacko-Seattle-greenie, Envision-Spokane-supporter?”) His strategy worked in her favor as he played the taunting bully, her the victim. Perhaps it’s because she wants to grow the green-job sector in her downtrodden district and cites what Greater Spokane, Inc. and Avista are doing to promote clean energy. But elsewhere, we’ve been witness to similar examples. The Spokane Homebuilders and blog commentators labeled District 2 hopeful Jon Snyder, “the Envision Spokane candidate” and one can only speculate why. Are his pro-environment ideas all it takes to associate with the bills “rights by nature?” Councilman Richard Rush said he was against it but lauded their principles and people are asking why he doesn’t show up at “No on Prop. 4” rallies. Enough is enough. (Furthermore, to address a few misconceptions about the bill itself, it isn’t the “work of outsiders”, or “thrown together hastily”—- it’s a locally grown project two and a half years in the making, only propelled by one outsider who became a resident.)

“Why doesn’t the Spokesman or any other paper in this city do an expose on this bill of rights, Envision Spokane, and the trail leading all the way up to the UN?” said Fagan. The crazy-wacko-California-liar, 1033 supporter is in good company with Eyman, another incurious mind. An elected official saying this sort of tripe would mean we live in a city less serious and funny than the one we thought we were living in. But as Proposition 4 gets closer to its inevitable and most-likely dismal outcome, the opponents are embarrassing themselves each day.

News flash: Eyman backs Fagan

Tim Eyman, the state’s premier initiative entrepreneur, endorsed Spokane City Council Candidate Mike Fagan this week.

This should come as no huge surprise to anyone with the remotest knowledge of state politics, considering Fagan is Eyman’s longtime cohort in a dozen or so years of initiative pushes, including I-1033, which will share a few lines on the ballot with Spokane’s 1st District Council race in November. Fagan faces Amber Waldref for the seat being vacated by Al French; there’s only two of them, so there’s no primary in August.

But Eyman’s announcement is noteworthy in several respects.

It’s the first candidate Eyman has ever endorsed, he said. Not that other candidates haven’t asked, but up to this point, the standard response was “we do initiatives.”

It’s also a sign that the race could get pointed after the primary. Or as he puts it “raising the discourse level.”

I-1033: counting sigs

Don’t know if this is going to generate any controversy or not, but a funny thing happened on the way to Initiative 1033’s ballot placement Wednesday.

Initiative entrepeneur and chief sponsor Tim Eyman sent out an embargoed e-mail saying that the petitions turned in were “the cleanest ever” and had a rejection rate of less than 10 percent.

About 30 minutes later, the Secretary of State’s office announced that I-1033 was cleared for the ballot with “an unusually high” validation rate. But it was about 12 percent. No superlatives reported.

In truth, all of this is an estimate, because the Secretary of State’s office does not check every signature on every petition unless it absolutely has to. The requirement right now is 241,153 valid signatures from individual registered voters (that is, you gotta be registered, and if you sign more than once, it don’t count.)

If a group turns in 241,152, or less, the office doesn’t count, period.

If it turns 241,154 or a few thousand more, it starts counting, and keeping track of rejections. When it passes the number in the cushion — the difference between the total needed and the total submitted — it stops counting and the initiative doesn’t make it.

If a group turns in about 20 percent or more than the total needed, the office does a random sample, determines how many of the random sample were valid, then applies a formula to determine whether the total number is likely to be above the threshhold.

It’s a complicated formula, and those interested in math can read the formula used and applied to I-1033 here. Warning: for math-o-phobes, this could result in nightmares where you square a root, carry the one, move a decimal and have your integer lopped off

I-1033 qualifies for ballot

Initiative 1033 will be on the November ballot.

The Secretary of State’s office announced this afternoon that it’s way over the minimum for signatures required to make the grade.

It turned in so many signatures that the office does a random sample check. In the check, they had a rejection rate of about 12 percent, which is unusually low, the state elections office noted.

If approved by voters, the initiative would limit the growth in state, county and city government revenues based on a formula that’s adjusted for inflation and population growth, unless voters approve increases. You can read more about it here.

In other signature gathering news, supporters of Referendum 71, which would repeal the state’s latest domestic partnership law, said over the weekend they had about 75,000 signatures. They’ll need a minimum of 120,000 by July 25, which could be a real scramble.

I-1033 signature count update

Tim Eyman and other promoters of Initiative 1033 turned in 315,444 signatures on their petitions last week, the Secretary of State’s office reported today.

That’s significantly more than the 241,153 needed (if they are valid signatures from registered state voters) to get the proposal on the ballot.

At least one Spin Control reader was skeptical of Eyman’s estimate last week of “more than 314,000” sigs. Turns out he was low-balling, ever so slightly.

Dunmire on Eyman: Still a big fan…

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.

Eyman getting close to getting Initiative 1033 on the ballot…

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

 

Eyman back to old fave: Car tabs

Initiative entrepreneur Tim Eyman must have a bit of time on his hands. He’s filed yet another initiative with the Secretary of State’s office.

This one attempts to cast in even harder concrete a Washington car owner’s God-given right to cheap car tabs. Anything over $30 would require a public vote.

Secretary of State Sam Reed’s office reports Eyman filed it today, which means it was sent to the code reviser for a check of the language. The reviser has seven days, and has a total of 15 days to advise the state of any changes before it can get a number and petitiions can be printed.

So let’s see. Eyman could begin gathering signatures no sooner than June 13, which would give him 21 days to gather the 241,153 valid signatures needed to get on the ballot. Or about 15,000 a day.

Yeah, that’ll happen. What do you wanna bet Eyman’s just trying to get a little free legal help writing an initiative he can trot out next year?

Or is that being too cynical.

Gregoire gets shirt, Eyman gets pen

Initiative entrepreneur Tim Eyman is loathe to pass up an opportunity to get publicity for whatever ballot measure he’s hawking, so it was no surprise he showed up Tuesday at the signing and vetoing of the last bills from the late, great legislative session.

Gov. Chris Gregoire was signing the overall budget, but vetoing a provision that cut funding from the state’s performance audits, required by one of Eyman’s past crusades, I-900.

Eyman arrived with the wide array of interested folk who attend signing ceremonies for bills they supported, but didn’t get to stand behind the gov for the official autographing. Colleague Rich Roesler, who covered the ceremony, said it appeared Eyman was told by staff he couldn’t be in the offiical photo op but could make a presentation to Gregoire afterwards.

At the appointed time, Eyman peeled off his I-900 T-shirt and gave it to the governor as a sign of his gratitude. (His e-mail today is careful to note he had another T-shirt underneath.)

The gov was somewhat taken aback by a seemingly stripping Eyman, who folded the shirt and placed on the desk in front of her, Roesler said. No cameras were available to capture the Kodak moment on film or electrons.

As the event broke up, Eyman grabbed a signing pen from the tray. 

Question: Who got the better souvenir?

Hearing on sales-tax proposal…

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.




A surprising Tea Party tidbit

A crumpet, if you will, on Wednesday’s Tea Parties on the West Side.

Initiative entrepreneur Tim Eyman is urging supporters to attend the Tea Parties to gather signatures for Initiative 1033, his latest attempt to rein in property taxes.

That’s not surprising; that’s just good strategy.

But what is surprising in a missive he sent to “Our thousands of supporters throughout the state (cc’d to the media, house & senate members, and Governor)” are his plans for the day. He’s speaking at the Tea Party in Olympia and Seattle. He’s got five minutes at the microphone at each event.

Tim Eyman speaking for only five minutes? Now that’s shocking.

Want the schedule for the Inland Northwest Tea Party nearest you. Click here to see the list blogged earlier today.

Republicans blame Democrats for ramping up spending, Seattle senator blames Tim Eyman for starving government…

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.

Eyman, still owing money from last initiative, borrows more…

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. 

Eyman’s new offering: a cap on all state and local taxes…

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.