OLYMPIA -- Perennial initiative activist Tim Eyman has lined up $650,000 for a possible ballot measure drive, even though he can't file the actual proposal and begin collecting signatures for at least a month.
Eyman received loans of $600,000 from Vancouver-area investment CEO Ken Fisher and another $50,000 from Yakima businessman Mark Needham for a proposal he calls "Tougher To Raise Taxes". Eyman can't file the real initiative to the people until after the first of the year, but as previously reported, he filed a practice measure as an initiative to the Legislature last month.
The proposal would require any new tax increase to expire after one year unless it was approved by two-thirds of the Legislature or a majority of voters.
That was way too late to gather the 246,000-plus signatures needed to submit a proposed law to the Legislature for the 2016 session. But filing the dummy legislative initiative allowed him to start collecting money in 2015.
That generated the loans from Fisher, who gave Eyman & Company $100,000 for this year's campaign for I-1366, and is a regular donor to Republican Party funds. Needham has also contributed to previous Eyman efforts, but generally not more than a couple hundred dollars at a time.
I-1366, which requires the Legislature to pass a constitutional amendment requiring super-majority votes on taxes or face a one-cent per $1 drop in the sales tax, passed in November. But as expected it has been challenged in court. Should the courts uphold that initiative, Eyman has said he'd drop the new one.