Defeated and disgraced initiative promoter Tim Eyman reappeared in Olympia today, flanked by two buddies, to publicly appeal once again for wealthy benefactors to step forth and revive Eyman’s mothballed initiative factory in time for the 2023 long session of the Washington State Legislature.
Standing outside the Secretary of State’s Elections Annex under a covered walkway, Eyman staged a repeat performance of the event he orchestrated last autumn, in which he made a similar public plea for rich right wing funders to pony up megabucks to allow him to run a new initiative to get rid of Washington State’s new capital gains tax on the wealthy. Eyman also dispatched an email to his followers replete with grainy photos of his favorite Democratic foils to “announce” his intention to qualify Initiative 1499 to the ballot.
“We need everyone to work really hard to help us find some Mike Dunmires to make I‑1499 a reality,” said Eyman. “We need successful folks who are willing to break open their piggy banks to protect themselves and all of us from any kind of income tax now and forever.” (Emphasis is Eyman’s).
“Some of you can be a Mike Dunmire for this critical effort,” Eyman added, repeating almost word for word what he said before, a plea that did not land him the funds he was asking for. “Many of you have friends who are Mike Dunmires.”
By “Mike Dunmires,” Eyman means superrich people.
“Mike Dunmire” is Eyman’s preferred euphemism for millionaire or billionaire capable of keeping Eyman in business by shoveling cash into Eyman’s coffers.
That is what Dunmire, a former investment banker who is now deceased, did for Eyman for many years. Dunmire became Eyman’s chief benefactor in late 2004 and almost singlehandedly kept Eyman going for more than four years.
Thanks to Dunmire’s willingness to continually break open his piggy bank, Eyman was able to continue forcing statewide votes on schemes purposely intended to wreck Washington State government and sabotage majority rule.
Most of the measures that Dunmire financed for Eyman were failures. I‑917 did not qualify for the ballot, I‑960 and its clones ended up getting overturned in court, and I‑985 and I‑1033 were rejected by voters. Nevertheless, Dunmire stuck by Eyman, for which Eyman was immensely grateful. Not surprisingly, Eyman continues to sing Dunmire’s praises and hold him up as a role model.
In an email to his followers recapping his appearance in Olympia, Eyman only alluded briefly to the fact that this is his second attempt to shake loose some big money by trying to will something into existence, acknowledging: “Last year’s initiative didn’t qualify because we started late (September).”
“This year,” Eyman continued, “we’re starting much earlier (so we’ll have May, June, July, Aug, Sept, Oct, Nov, & Dec to collect signatures).”
A lack of time wasn’t what stopped Eyman’s effort last year, however. It was a lack of resources. A paid statewide signature drive can be successfully run in under a season. Eyman simply didn’t get the big money he pleaded for and thus couldn’t hire crews to circulate petitions. I‑1499 will be no more successful than his last scam unless he can part some rich fool or fools from their money.
Hilariously, at press time, Eyman was directing his followers to go to a website that didn’t work: StopIncomeTaxes.com. When I visited, I got this message:
Hmm. We’re having trouble finding that site.
We can’t connect to the server at stopincometaxes.com.
If that address is correct, here are three other things you can try:
- Try again later.
- Check your network connection.
- If you are connected but behind a firewall, check that Firefox has permission to access the Web.
Down detectors confirmed that the domain is not resolving to a host.
Eyman’s email pitch made no mention of Initiative 1929, J. Vander Stoep’s separate campaign to force a statewide vote on a measure to repeal Washington’s new state capital gains tax on the wealthy this year.
Unlike Eyman, Vander Stoep has plenty of startup capital for his operation, with more than half a million dollars raised, $300,000+ of which has already been spent on polling, legal expenses, and consulting. But with the clock ticking down to July 8th, the I‑1929 campaign has yet to enter the field with a signature drive, apparently due to lack of donor interest in proceeding to the petitioning stage.
Eyman isn’t aiming for the November ballot — he knows that window is closing. I‑1499 is thus an initiative to the Legislature, with a signature submission deadline of December 30th. Eyman would need the same number of valid signatures as Vander Stoep to force a measure before the 2023 Legislature: 324,516.
Eyman’s fantasy is that I‑1499 qualifies and then gets adopted by a Republican Legislature: “[I]f we flip the house and senate and get the Republicans a majority in both chambers, they can pass the initiative into law and Inslee can’t veto it!” Eyman exclaimed. (Emphasis is his.) Yeah.… if. A right winger can dream, but Washington hasn’t elected a two chamber Republican Legislature since the 1990s.
Washington was once a state where both parties were very competitive and where the two major parties were capable of winning both statewide and in majorities of the state’s forty-nine legislative districts.
Beginning in the 1980s, however, that began to change. Washington has not elected a Republican governor since 1980, a Republican U.S. Senator since 1994, a Republican State House majority since 1996, a Republican attorney general since 2008, or a Republican State Senate majority since 2014.
Republicans would need to flip nine State House seats to get a House majority and flip four seats for a State Senate majority. Achieving either of those goals, let alone both, will be extremely difficult — especially since Democrats aren’t planning on merely playing defense this year. (They’re hoping to pick off a few Republicans in competitive districts like the 42nd or the 10th.)
If wealthy benefactors materialize to revive Eyman’s initiative factory, our Permanent Defense project will spring into action to oppose I‑1499. But until and unless Eyman finds a source of cash, I‑1499 will be an inert threat.