Vote Maintained on Tim Eyman's push polls
Vote Maintained on Tim Eyman's push polls

Wash­ing­ton’s thir­ty-nine coun­ties have now mailed bal­lots for the Novem­ber 2017 gen­er­al elec­tion. Although there are no statewide ini­tia­tives or ref­er­en­da this year (which is unusu­al and has­n’t hap­pened since 1985) we unfor­tu­nate­ly still have Tim Eyman’s uncon­sti­tu­tion­al “advi­so­ry votes” clut­ter­ing up our ballots.

Until we can get rid of these stu­pid things, we urge you to join us in stick­ing it to Tim Eyman by vot­ing “Main­tained” on all three of them. Vot­ing “Main­tained” is the best way to protest the exis­tence of what are real­ly push polls cooked up by Eyman to stoke anti-tax sen­ti­ment from Neah Bay to Clarkston.

Vote Maintained on Tim Eyman's push polls
Vote “Main­tained” to stick it to Tim Eyman. Click on the graph­ic to see our full bal­lot guide for 2017.

These push polls are required by a ten year old Eyman ini­tia­tive that has­n’t been ful­ly struck down or repealed yet: I‑960, which nar­row­ly passed in 2007.

For the first few years after I‑960 was enact­ed, the pro­vi­sion requir­ing the push polls was not enforced, with even Eyman hav­ing admit­ted­ly for­got­ten about it.

Since 2012, elec­tions offi­cials have com­plied with the pro­vi­sion at sig­nif­i­cant cost to tax­pay­ers — even though it is prob­a­bly not con­sti­tu­tion­al. (Wash­ing­ton’s Con­sti­tu­tion only pro­vides for bind­ing ini­tia­tives and ref­er­en­da plus con­sti­tu­tion­al amend­ments; it does­n’t autho­rize any oth­er kind of bal­lot measure).

We main­tain a page over at Per­ma­nent Defense which nice­ly breaks down what the “advi­so­ry votes” are, and why they are real­ly right wing push polls sub­si­dized with tax­pay­er dol­lars. Be sure to check out this resource if you haven’t before.

As the “advi­so­ry votes” are an Eyman scheme, they are only trig­gered when the Leg­is­la­ture adopts a bill that rais­es or recov­ers rev­enue for the state trea­sury. Con­verse­ly, bills that cut tax­es or pub­lic ser­vices do not trig­ger an “advi­so­ry vote”, because cuts are to Eyman’s liking.

The three bills that the Attor­ney Gen­er­al iden­ti­fied as raising/recovering rev­enue this year are part of the state’s oper­at­ing bud­get. They are:

  • Engrossed House Bill 1597 (Increas­ing rev­enue to the state wildlife account by increas­ing com­mer­cial fish­ing license fees and stream­lin­ing whole­sale fish deal­ing, buy­ing, and sell­ing requirements)
  • Engrossed House Bill 2163 (closed tax loop­holes to help fund pub­lic services)
  • Engrossed House Bill 2242 (raised prop­er­ty tax­es to fund pub­lic schools)

Tim Eyman actu­al­ly sued the state in August to demand that pro­vi­sions with­in the afore­men­tioned bills be sub­ject­ed sep­a­rate­ly to an “advi­so­ry vote”. That would have result­ed in even more waste­ful clut­ter on our bal­lots. Thank­ful­ly, Eyman lost.

Join­ing NPI in urg­ing Wash­ing­to­ni­ans to vote “Main­tained” on all of Eyman’s lat­est batch of push polls are The Stranger, Fuse Wash­ing­ton, and The Seat­tle Times (Yes, The Seat­tle Times! Even a bro­ken clock is cor­rect twice a day.)

The Stranger’s mantra — espe­cial­ly with respect to House Bill 2242 — is “Vote Main­tained, then demand bet­ter fund­ing solu­tions from our state legislators.”

We agree. For the time being, vote “Main­tained” — the best way to stick it to Tim Eyman. In 2018, we’ll once again have oppor­tu­ni­ties to insist that the Leg­is­la­ture final­ly take steps to make our upside down, worst in the nation tax code less regres­sive. And we may end up with a Sen­ate Demo­c­ra­t­ic major­i­ty that will be far more recep­tive to the reforms we need than the Sen­ate Repub­li­can Cau­cus of No.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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