Topic: Tim Eyman
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November 15, 2013 at 1:18 PM
Democrats are taking aim at Washington state’s tax advisory votes.
State Sen. David Frockt said at a post-election fundraiser Thursday night he plans to introduce legislation as soon as next week to eliminate the votes, which he called “confusing, out of context and downright stupid.”
The proposal may go nowhere, especially in an election year when Republicans control the state Senate. But it is a symbol of Democrats’ frustration with the votes, which are the remnants of a Tim Eyman-sponsored initiative best known for requiring a two-thirds vote in the Legislature for tax increases (that requirement was thrown out by the state Supreme Court this year).
The votes are on the ballot each November, letting voters offer a retroactive opinion on tax increases passed in Olympia earlier that year.
This year, voters said they agreed with three of five tax increases approved by the Legislature.
Republicans say the results are valuable information for lawmakers. Democrats say the results are misleading because the ballot doesn’t include the context of how the money raised from the tax is spent.
Both sides agree the votes probably don’t cause lawmakers to revisit policy, and that the votes cost money — about $130,000 this year.
Frockt, of Seattle, said he would push the Senate bill while state Rep. Sam Hunt, D-Olympia, would sponsor the House version.
November 5, 2013 at 7:01 AM
Update at 8:25 p.m.
Tim Eyman’s Initiative 517 did not pass. The measure was far behind in King County with 69 percent voting no and was losing heavily in Pierce and Snohomish counties as well.
The measure would have made signature-gathering easier.
Washington voters today will decide on a Tim Eyman initiative that would make it easier for sponsors like him to get measures on the ballot.
Initiative 517 would give initiative sponsors an additional six months to collect signatures, make it illegal for anyone to maintain “an intimidating presence” within 25 feet of a signature gatherer, and prohibit local government from blocking votes on ballot measures.
The initiative also contains language that opponents say would vastly expand where signature gatherers could go, including inside stadiums during Seahawks and Mariners games. Proponents disagree and say current restrictions would still apply.
I-517 started out as an initiative to the Legislature. At the time, Eyman said he was working on the measure along with Edward Agazarm, longtime owner of a signature-gathering firm, and Paul Jacob, who is with an initiative-advocacy group based in Virginia called Citizens in Charge.
When lawmakers did not act on the initiative this year, it was automatically placed on the Nov. 5 ballot.
October 29, 2013 at 12:24 PM
Two recent polls indicate Tim Eyman’s initiative on initiatives, I-517, is losing ground.
A poll by Moore Information, out of Portland, shows more voters opposing the measure than supporting it. And a Stuart Elway poll, out of Seattle, found a shrinking majority of voters supporting I-517.
I-517 is aimed at making like easier for initiative sponsors like Eyman. Among other things, it would give initiative sponsors an additional six months to collect signatures, make it illegal for anyone to maintain “an intimidating presence” within 25 feet of a signature gatherer, and prohibit local government from blocking votes on ballot measures.
The initiative also contains language that opponents say would vastly expand where signature gatherers could go, including inside stadiums during Seahawks and Mariners games. I-517 backers dispute that claim.
The Moore Information poll of 500 likely voters, taken Oct. 23-24, found 40 percent of the people who have already voted, or plan to, oppose the measure while 33 percent support it. Some 27 percent were undecided or would not discuss their vote. The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.
The Elway poll of 413 registered voters, taken Oct. 15-17, found 52 percent of the people surveyed support the measure, down from 58 percent in a September poll. The survey showed 25 percent opposed and 23 percent undecided. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percent.
Elway, in his report, wrote that the measure was leading in every demographic category except Seattle voters.
July 24, 2013 at 6:34 PM
An initiative to the Legislature was filed Wednesday that would apparently name the infamous Skagit River bridge — that collapsed on Interstate 5 in May – after Tim Eyman.
The measure reads: “That portion of state route number 5 from the junction with state route number 538 in Mount Vernon, thence northerly to the junction with state route 20 in Burlington is designated “the Tim Eyman Memorial Bridge”, dedicated to the efforts of Tim Eyman to reduce Washington State tax revenues and the collapse of the Skagit River Bridge on May 23, 2013.”
The initiative was filed by Nicholas Santos of Bothell. He could not be immediately reached for comment. Eyman is an anti-tax advocate who has filed many initiatives over the years aimed at reducing or controlling the growth of taxes.
Part of the Skagit River bridge collapsed May 23 when a oversize truck struck the north end of the bridge, causing one section to crumble. It has since been reopened with a temporary repair.
Initiatives to the Legislature require 246,372 signatures of registered Washington voters by Jan. 3. Measures that qualify are sent to the Legislature, where lawmakers can enact them, or let them go to the ballot in 2014. Or the Legislature could place the measure and an alternative on the ballot.
April 22, 2013 at 12:43 PM
Tim Eyman says he plans to file an initiative this year that would limit the duration of all new tax increases to one year.
The measure would be his response to a recent state Supreme Court ruling overturning an earlier Eyman initiative that required a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate, or voter approval, to increase taxes.
“Because the 2/3 law is no more, they (lawmakers) can raise taxes with a simple majority vote. But under our initiative, such tax increases will expire one year later,” Eyman said in a statement. “The only way a tax increase can continue is for them to pass it the next year too.”
Eyman says he plans to file the measure this week, although he won’t say whether he’s aiming for the 2013 or 2014 fall ballot.
In addition to limiting tax increases to one year, he said it also would require yearly advisory votes asking voters if they support a constitutional amendment requiring a two-thirds vote in the Legislature to increase taxes.
March 6, 2013 at 6:11 PM
OLYMPIA — Struggling to respond to a state Supreme Court order to put more money into education, some state Senate Republicans on Wednesday came up with a way to save a bit of money: reduce the size of the court.
Senate Bill 5867, introduced Wednesday morning, would reduce the court from nine members to five (the minimum allowed in the state constitution).
And how would the four out-of-luck justices be chosen?
“On June 30, 2013, all existing judges of the state supreme court, shall meet in public to cast lots by drawing straws,” the bill says. “Effective July 1,2013, the positions of the four judges casting losing lots by drawing the shortest straws shall be terminated.”
The bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Michael Baumgartner, said the job cuts could save about $1.5 million in salary and administrative costs.
Baumgartner, R-Spokane Valley, used two of the court’s recent decisions — both of which went against conservatives — to argue in favor of the bill.
Last year, the court decided in the McCleary case that the state was not fulfilling its constitutional duty to fully fund basic education. And last week, the court declared unconstitutional an initiative-imposed two-thirds requirement for lawmakers to raise taxes.
“Every dollar we save by eliminating these four positions would be automatically funneled to K-12 education to help meet the guidelines the Supreme Court laid out in the McCleary decision,” Baumgartner said in a news release.
He added that, “based on their recent rulings on McCleary and their rationale behind the decision to throw out the will of the people regarding the two-thirds tax rule, I expect that the court will support this approach.”
The bill hasn’t been scheduled for a hearing.
February 28, 2013 at 5:07 PM
OLYMPIA — Hours after the state Supreme Court declared a supermajority requirement for tax increases unconstitutional, Republicans have started a quest to revive the threshold — by amending the constitution.
The GOP-run Senate budget-writing committee voted 13-10 Thursday afternoon to enshrine the requirement in the constitution.
The proposed constitutional amendment, like the initiative-imposed state law that was struck down earlier Thursday, would require legislation to increase taxes to obtain support from two-thirds of lawmakers or a majority vote of the people.
That standard has been approved by votes five times since 1993. But in a 6-3 ruling, the justices found it violates the constitution.
The constitutional amendment path is unlikely to succeed. Ironically, the proposed amendment would need to obtain its own supermajority — two-thirds support in the full state Senate and state House — and then get a majority of voters.
Democrats, who control the House, say they won’t even give it a vote there. The Senate is almost evenly split.
But if nothing else, the debate in the Senate Ways and Means Committee gave supporters of the two-thirds requirement an opportunity to make a symbolic statement against the court ruling.
“The people of Washington state did not send us down to Olympia to raise taxes,” said Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom, a Medina Democrat who caucuses with 23 Republicans and one other Democrat in the majority coalition caucus.
Tom noted that 19 of the committee’s 23 members come from legislative districts where voters approved the supermajority requirement last fall.
Tom’s counterpart, Senate Minority Leader Ed Murray, D-Seattle, said the requirement allows for a “tyranny of the minority.”
Before the final vote, state Sen. Brian Hatfield unsuccessfully proposed a constitutional amendment of his own: a two-thirds requirement for all votes in the Legislature.
“This is, in some ways, kind of a put up or shut up,” said Hatfield, D-Raymond.
The final vote on the taxes-only requirement went along caucus lines, with all members of the mostly-GOP majority coalition voting yes and all members of the Democratic caucus voting no.
February 27, 2013 at 3:25 PM
OLYMPIA — The Washington State Supreme Court is expected to rule Thursday whether requiring a two-thirds majority for lawmakers to raise taxes is constitutional.
One way or another, the ruling could affect lawmakers who are now trying to close a roughly $1 billion budget shortfall and deal with the court’s last major decision — last year’s order to significantly increase funding for public schools.
In general, Democrats are looking toward new taxes while Republicans do not favor tax increases. A ruling that the two-thirds requirement is constitutional, then, would boost the GOP. A ruling the other way would allow taxes to be increased with a simple majority vote.
But it’s not a given the Legislature would approve new taxes even if the court overturns the two-thirds requirement. Republicans control the state Senate and oppose any tax increase. And Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee has said he would not approve new taxes, although he’s indicated he’s open to extending existing taxes.
The court’s ruling is in response to a lawsuit filed by the League of Education Voters and other groups against Initiative 1053, a 2010 initiative sponsored by Tim Eyman that reinstated the two-thirds requirement. The two-thirds restriction was first authorized by voters in 1993. It was reimposed in 1998, 2007 and 2010, at least in part because of lawmakers’ penchant for suspending the requirement to raise more revenue.
The court has been asked to rule on the constitutionality in the past, and each time has avoided a direct decision.
February 21, 2013 at 4:34 PM
Andrew Villeneuve of the Northwest Progressive Institute, urged the media today to censor itself and not write about a Tim Eyman email that referred to Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee as a “lying whore.”
Eyman has made a living sponsoring initiatives, including a measure repeatedly approved by voters that requires a two-thirds vote of the Legislature, or voter approval, to increase taxes. Villeneuve has long opposed Eyman initiatives.
I debated whether to blog about Eyman’s email and Villeneuve’s plea tipped the balance.
Eyman, who frequently sends me emails and rarely sees them printed, sent a blast today regarding Inslee, saying in part:
Candidate Inslee repeatedly promised to veto any tax increase. He said no way to higher transportation taxes in 2013. Inslee said he’d grow jobs to generate more tax revenue. What a lying whore he turned out to be. In recent weeks, he’s made it clear he’ll sign any tax increase the Legislature unilaterally imposes.
For the record, Inslee during his campaign never ruled out increasing taxes for transportation and did say he supports sending a tax measure to the ballot to raise money for transportation. He also has opposed new taxes, although he’s been open to extending existing taxes.
And you know what they say about people who live in glass houses. Eyman admitted long ago that he lied about taking $45,000 in campaign contributions as salary.
Villeneuve wrote (but probably didn’t want us to?): “Our assessment of this message is that Eyman is being deliberately prevocative (sic) in order to get his name and viewpoint into blog posts and stories on the transportation package.”
He urged reporters “not to take the bait. This isn’t news. Let the only response to this despicable commentary be from his opposition. Eyman deserves to be called out for his inappropriate and disparaging remarks, but he does not deserve more headlines and on-air mentions by the traditional press.”
February 13, 2013 at 6:16 PM
Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman’s office says it has found fraud by three paid signature gatherers for two initiative campaigns.
An elections-division probe turned up thousands of apparently bogus signatures on petitions for Tim Eyman’s latest initiative, I-517, which deals with the initiative process, and for I-522, which seeks to label genetically engineered food, according to a news release from Wyman’s office.
Evidence of the fraud will be turned over to the Washington State Patrol for investigation and referral for possible prosecution, Wyman’s office said. Petition fraud is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
The alleged fraud won’t stop the initiatives from being voted on. Both campaigns turned in far more than the 241,153 signatures required.
The three signature gatherers, who were not identified by Wyman’s office, turned in more than 8,000 signatures on petitions for the two initiatives. But routine checks by elections officials found many names, signatures and addresses on the petitions did not match voter records.
Wyman called the case the worst instance of initiative fraud elections officials could remember and suggested better regulation of paid-signature gatherers may be needed.
“This kind of disrespect of the voters and our cherished initiative process cannot be tolerated, and I want these cases fully investigated, and if, appropriate, as it certainly appears, I want these people prosecuted,” Wyman said in the news release. “I’m sure that sponsors of ballot measures demand that their solicitors be accurate and honest, but we’ve always feared that use of pay-per-signature encourages bad behavior.”
Eyman rejected the idea that paid signature gathering is a problem and said initiative sponsors have no motive to pay for bogus or invalid signatures.
“We’re all happy these three people got caught and that they are going to be prosecuted,” Eyman said.
The campaign for I-522 did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
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