Last night, as we were holding our seventh Spring Fundraising Gala on Mercer Island, Tim Eyman’s treasurer was filing his campaign committee’s monthly reports with the Public Disclosure Commission, as required by law.
The new reports show that Eyman has raised nearly a million dollars for his latest and most destructive initiative, I‑1366, which would wipe out $1 billion a year from schools and other vital public services by slashing the sales tax… unless, by April of 2016, the Legislature approves a constitutional amendment overturning the League of Education Voters decision, in which the Supreme Court struck down the two-thirds vote requirement for raising or recovering revenue.
Blackmail, coercive, and diabolical are all words that seem fitting to describe I‑1366, a mean-spirited measure that is politics at its worst. I‑1366 is a retread of last year’s I‑1325, which Eyman couldn’t get on the ballot due to lack of resources.
For this attempt, Eyman has found a wealthy benefactor to bankroll this year’s effort. His name is Clyde Holland, and he’s a developer operating out of Vancouver. We profiled him last month, after PDC reports showed he was the biggest donor to I‑1366, with a $150,000 contribution, and after Eyman announced that a “successful businessman” was prepared to double any donation made to his I‑1366 campaign committee during the month of March:
Assuming Eyman is not lying to his supporters (something he’s done plenty of times) and assuming Holland is the “successful businessman” Eyman’s talking about, then it seems he’s prepared to open his checkbook again to keep the gears of Eyman’s initiative factory lubricated with money.
Eyman will need more of Holland’s money. History has shown that when he doesn’t have a wealthy benefactor, he doesn’t get on the ballot. He needs rich people like Freeman and Holland to write him multiple six figure checks every year so that he can stay relevant. Otherwise his factory sputters to a halt.
Sure enough, Holland has given again to Eyman. The March C3s show that another $150,000 check from Holland was received on March 6th.
That wasn’t the only big money that rolled in during the month of March.
Data: Public Disclosure Commission | Chart: Northwest Progressive Institute
Eyman also received $25,000 checks from Kenneth Fisher of Camas and Robert Rotella of Bellevue. They describe themselves as self-employed investors.
Sheryl Creedon, Oliver Hidden, and Mark Engleman Enterprises (all based in Vancouver) contributed $10,000 apiece, as did Jon Monson of Gig Harbor.
Is it just a coincidence that the vast majority of Eyman’s money is coming out of Clark County (with Bellevue’s Kemper Freeman and Robert Rotella playing a supporting role)? We don’t think so.
State Senator Don Benton, who is Eyman’s best friend in the statehouse aside from Pam Roach, is well connected in Clark County — so well-connected, in fact, that he got himself a second government job thanks to the Republican-dominated Clark County Commission. And Clyde Holland undoubtedly knows the county’s other rich and rabidly conservative denizens. They could both be helping Eyman score money.
In the span of two months, Eyman has raised $623,174.66 in cash contributions (with half of that coming from Clyde Holland) and taken out two loans totaling $250,000. He’s transferred nearly three quarters of a million dollars to his associates at Citizen Solutions to pay petitioners to collect for I‑1366.
Eyman has only taken out loans in the past when he’s had some plan for getting the money repaid. Likely he has a commitment from Holland to pay back this year’s loans, too. With over half a million dollars raised in February and March, Eyman is on track to have a million dollars in cash by the time signatures are due in July.
It’s a safe bet that I‑1366 will be on the ballot in November, which is why we’ve started working to put together a broad and diverse coalition to fight I‑1366.
Many local Democratic organizations have already joined us in taking positions against this madness, as have Fuse Washington and TaxSanity.
The Washington State Democratic Party, meanwhile, will consider a resolution a week from today opposing I‑1366 that is certain to be adopted.
If you’re part of an organization that believes in the values Washington was founded on and wants to protect our cherished tradition of majority rule as well as our schools and universities, we invite you to join us in taking a position opposing I‑1366. We’ve got a model resolution you can use or tweak to your liking. Once your board or governing body has acted, please let us know.
Quit whining. When Jeff Bezos put his millions to support gay marriage you were on board. when bill gates put his millions for background check on guns you were on board.
Actually, Tom, we don’t like the influence of big money in elections, period. It doesn’t matter whether it’s being spent to advance progressive causes or conservative causes.
That said, marriage equality and background checks on gun sales aren’t policy changes that hurt anyone’s quality of life. What Tim Eyman is proposing would have a devastating impact on everyone’s quality of life, and we’re not going to stop sounding the alarm about it.
Democracy is about the will of the people. I respect the will of the people. If people want marijuana, gay marriage and background checks on guns so be it. they won the argument and the laws were enacted. If people want Eyman’s proposals then so be it and let the law be enacted. My quality of life is better when I have more money in my pocket and not have the government redistribute my wealth. And I will sound the alarm to say Taxed Enough Already.
You may respect the will of the people, Tom, but Tim Eyman doesn’t, unless the voters have elected a candidate or passed a measure he agrees with.
It matters not to him that voters have repeatedly voted to support the construction of Sound Transit’s Link light rail system, for instance. He’s still against that, and has — with Kemper Freeman Jr. — actively attempted to prevent the system from being built.
Eyman is also very disrespectful towards the statewide elected officials chosen by the voters.
I‑1366 is very different than Eyman’s I‑601 clones. It is not a revote on the idea of having a two-thirds vote requirement for raising revenue: that’s unconstitutional. It’s actually an attempt to slash the sales tax by a substantial margin, resulting in the loss of $2 billion per biennium. Since about two-thirds of every state sales tax dollar goes to schools, colleges, and universities, this initiative is really a radical, rabidly right wing attempt to gut school funding in the event the Legislature doesn’t pass the constitutional amendment Eyman is demanding. It’s extortion. And we will be waging a very vigorous campaign against it.
Taxes in Washington State are relatively low compared to other states. We rank thirty-fifth in the country according to analysis by the Department of Revenue. But unfortunately, our tax system is horribly regressive. Those with the least pay the most. That’s wrong. We need to substantially reform our tax system.
Tim Eyman and his wealthy benefactors don’t want real tax reform — they want to lock in the disastrous tax code we have for all time, because it will give them fodder for future initiatives to wreck government.
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