NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate provides the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Friday, July 5th, 2019

Another Tim Eyman scam bites the dust: I‑1648 fails to qualify for the November ballot

There goes anoth­er one.

Dis­graced ini­tia­tive pro­mot­er Tim Eyman was forced to admit fail­ure yet again today as his scheme to over­turn the Leg­is­la­ture’s 2019 rev­enue reforms met its demise in Olympia at the Sec­re­tary of State’s Elec­tions Annex on Union Street.

Ini­tia­tive 1648 sought to blow up the state bud­get by repeal­ing the mod­est changes the House and Sen­ate made to bal­ance Wash­ing­ton’s tax code as part of the 2019–2021 oper­at­ing bud­get. It also sought to slap a one year expi­ra­tion date on any future rev­enue increase not sub­ject­ed to a pub­lic vote.

Although Eyman filed I‑1648 back in Jan­u­ary, he did not launch a sig­na­ture dri­ve for it until May, after the leg­isla­tive ses­sion had con­clud­ed and after he had thrown in the tow­el on Ref­er­en­dum 80, his short-lived effort to force a vote on the new salary sched­ule approved by the Wash­ing­ton Cit­i­zens’ Com­mis­sion on Salaries For Elect­ed Offi­cials for leg­is­la­tors and statewide elect­ed officials.

A frustrated Tim Eyman rubs his eyes

An unhap­py Tim Eyman was flanked by glum fol­low­ers at the Sec­re­tary of State’s Elec­tions Annex in Olympia. (Pho­to: Sher­ry Bock­winkel for NPI).

Eager to make I‑1648 more than just anoth­er for­get­table ploy for mon­ey, Eyman teamed up with the seces­sion­ist group “Lib­er­ty State” PAC (or LSPAC) to put some mus­cle behind the mea­sure instead of phon­ing it in.

(LSPAC is the mil­i­tant, Matt Shea-affil­i­at­ed group that seeks to break up Wash­ing­ton State and carve a large right wing utopia out of one of the two pieces, which would stretch from the Cas­cade Moun­tains to the Ida­ho border.)

LSPAC gid­di­ly latched on to I‑1648, dis­trib­ut­ing peti­tions to right wing activists far and wide. It orga­nized a Face­book group for I‑1648 and cre­at­ed a data­base of loca­tions where I‑1648 peti­tions could be found, delight­ing Eyman, who cranked up his hype machine as loud as it could go, enlist­ing his amen cho­rus on right wing talk radio to adver­tise I‑1648. John Carl­son, Kir­by Wilbur, Dori Mon­son, and Saul Spady all duti­ful­ly pitched in to give Eyman free airtime.

But it was­n’t enough.

Despite pre­dict­ing a “tsuna­mi” of sig­na­tures for I‑1648 on Dori Mon­son’s show ear­li­er this week, the peti­tions Eyman was count­ing on nev­er mate­ri­al­ized, demon­strat­ing once again how dif­fi­cult it is to get on the bal­lot with­out hired help.

Late in the after­noon, with the clock tick­ing on the dead­line to sub­mit sig­na­tures in sup­port of ini­tia­tives to the peo­ple for 2019, a deflat­ed Eyman final­ly con­ced­ed defeat. Because the Sec­re­tary of State will only accept peti­tions that con­tain at least the min­i­mum num­ber of sig­na­tures required to qual­i­fy, Eyman and his cohorts end­ed up hav­ing noth­ing to turn in.

Ini­tial­ly, Eyman was eva­sive with respect to offer­ing an esti­mate of how many sig­na­tures had been gath­ered. Under pres­sure to sup­ply a num­ber, Eyman even­tu­al­ly said that near­ly 200,000 had been gath­ered. He repeat­ed that fig­ure in a video record­ed in his car and post­ed to Face­book a short while later.

We have no way of know­ing if that num­ber holds any water, how­ev­er, because Tim Eyman is about the least trust­wor­thy per­son in the his­to­ry of the State of Wash­ing­ton. As not­ed above, there will not be an offi­cial count of I‑1648 sig­na­tures since no peti­tions were actu­al­ly turned in for processing.

Sec­re­tary of State Kim Wyman’s staff, how­ev­er, had assumed there would be peti­tions to process for I‑1648, because Eyman had made an appoint­ment with them to turn in sig­na­tures. Con­se­quent­ly, they had work­ers stand­ing by at tax­pay­er expense to begin the val­i­da­tion and ver­i­fi­ca­tion process.

This is not the first time an Eyman sig­na­ture dri­ve has end­ed this way.

In 2004, Eyman and his asso­ciates Jack and Mike Fagan hauled box­es of peti­tions for I‑864 into the Elec­tions Annex to use as props. They pro­ceed­ed to hold a press con­fer­ence con­grat­u­lat­ing them­selves on run­ning an amaz­ing­ly suc­cess­ful cam­paign despite not hav­ing col­lect­ed enough sig­na­tures to qual­i­fy. I‑864 — a scheme to slash prop­er­ty tax­es — dis­ap­peared into the dustbin.

Two years lat­er, Eyman linked up with the fun­da­men­tal­ist right to spear­head a ref­er­en­dum cam­paign intend­ed to over­turn Wash­ing­ton’s ground­break­ing law ban­ning dis­crim­i­na­tion on the basis of sex­u­al orientation.

With min­utes to go before the dead­line, Eyman poured him­self some sparkling cider and pro­ceed­ed to announce the cam­paign had come up short, to the great dis­may of mul­ti­ple right wing church pas­tors and their polit­i­cal oper­a­tives, who pro­ceed­ed to point fin­gers at each oth­er in quick fashion.

As with I‑864, no peti­tions were ulti­mate­ly submitted.

In our state­ment react­ing to the demise of I‑1648, I explained that the mea­sure rep­re­sent­ed a sig­nif­i­cant and grave threat to count­less pub­lic ser­vices that ben­e­fit Wash­ing­to­ni­ans, from edu­ca­tion and behav­ioral health to fire­fight­ing and fish pas­sage mod­ern­iza­tion. Pas­sage of the mea­sure would have blown up the bud­get, endan­ger­ing our com­mu­ni­ties and jeop­ar­diz­ing good pay­ing jobs.

The demise of I‑1648 is espe­cial­ly wel­come con­sid­er­ing that Eyman has already got­ten some­thing destruc­tive onto this year’s bal­lot. That would be I‑976, a scheme to wipe out bil­lions in bipar­ti­san trans­porta­tion invest­ments at the state, region­al, and local lev­els. We’re work­ing to defeat I‑976, and we invite you to join us. If we can send I‑976 to the grave­yard where it belongs, then Tim Eyman will be zero for sev­en since 2015 — a tru­ly unprece­dent­ed los­ing streak.

We know from expe­ri­ence that the only way to stop Eyman’s destruc­tive ini­tia­tive fac­to­ry is to take him on and beat him. Let’s make it happen!

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  1. East of the Cas­cades the media is controlled. 

    Most peo­ple are to noth­ing as the rap­ture-nazis try to main­tain con­trol. All you have to do is look at who spon­sored Nigel Farage to come to the Inland Empire’s cap­i­tal, Spokane, and how the media told the pub­lic nothing. 

    The main pro­gram is to show old black and white tele­vi­sion pro­grams of cow­boy shows. Not the old black and white of shows of Rat Patrol, Com­bat, 12 O’Clock High and oth­er pro­grams that present killing Nazis. They nor­mal­ized Nazism east of the Cascades.

    # by Biff Michael Appia :: July 6th, 2019 at 8:21 AM
  2. Great news, thanks for posting

    # by Frances Titus :: July 6th, 2019 at 6:25 PM
  3. Ini­tia­tive 1648 sought to blow up the state bud­get by repeal­ing the mod­est changes the House and Sen­ate made to bal­ance Washington’s tax code as part of the 2019–2021 oper­at­ing bud­get. It also sought to slap a one year expi­ra­tion date on any future rev­enue increase not sub­ject­ed to a pub­lic vote.

    A ques­tion: Mod­est changes to the House/Senate to bal­ance Wash­ing­ton’s tax code? We had a sur­plus of tax­es, why did we need mil­lions more added? This does not add up. Can you explain the “mod­est” as need­ed with a surplus? 

    Thank you!

    # by Lora Upton :: July 8th, 2019 at 9:03 AM
  4. Lora, there was no surplus.

    Some­times, the rev­enue gen­er­at­ed by the state in a cer­tain peri­od exceeds what the state had been expect­ing. (The Wash­ing­ton State Eco­nom­ic and Rev­enue Fore­cast Coun­cil reg­u­lar­ly pub­lish­es esti­mates of how much rev­enue is antic­i­pat­ed to flow into the state trea­sury.) But this does not mean that there is actu­al­ly a sur­plus of tax rev­enue. Sur­plus is com­mon­ly under­stood to mean “more than what is needed”. 

    Wash­ing­ton has been under­fund­ing pub­lic ser­vices for a long time, so when the Leg­is­la­ture gets a bet­ter than expect­ed rev­enue fore­cast, all it means is leg­is­la­tors have a bet­ter start­ing point to work with when they are writ­ing a budget. 

    Bud­gets are moral doc­u­ments, so it makes no sense to write a bud­get based sole­ly on what is present­ly com­ing in through exist­ing tax rev­enue sources. The Leg­is­la­ture’s job isn’t sim­ply to spend the mon­ey that the state is gen­er­at­ing; it’s to deter­mine what the peo­ple’s needs are and meet those needs as effec­tive­ly as pos­si­ble. Leg­is­la­tors knew our state need­ed invest­ments in behav­ioral health, fire­fight­ing, access to col­lege, and human ser­vices. So they wrote a bud­get that begins to put more mon­ey into those priorities. 

    Leg­is­la­tors chose to recov­er rev­enue the state was giv­ing up by rescind­ing unnec­es­sary tax exemp­tions that don’t serve the pub­lic inter­est. They also raised the haz­ardous sub­stances tax paid by the petro­le­um indus­try and replaced the old flat real estate excise tax (REET) with a grad­u­at­ed REET that is fair­er and equi­table. Wash­ing­to­ni­ans sell­ing prop­er­ty that’s val­ued at less than $1.5 mil­lion will actu­al­ly pay less tax than under the old system. 

    It’s impor­tant to under­stand these details when apprais­ing the work the Leg­is­la­ture did this ses­sion. Don’t put any stock in what Tim Eyman says — he can­not be trust­ed to tell the truth about any­thing. Do your own research.

    # by Andrew Villeneuve :: July 8th, 2019 at 3:08 PM

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  1. […] Los­er again: Anoth­er Tim Eyman anti-tax ini­tia­tive has bit the dust. […]

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