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These push polls are required by a ten year old Eyman initiative that hasn’t been fully struck down or repealed yet: I‑960, which narrowly passed in 2007.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