1. Today's Loser: Tim Eyman
Longtime initiative hawker Tim Eyman conceded today that he was not able to gather enough signatures for his latest ballot measure, an initiative which would have hamstrung the state legislature's ability to raise tax revenues.
In an email to supporters today that makes fun of “the crazies in Seattle,” Eyman wrote: "We worked really hard, but our signature drive for the 2/3-For-Taxes Constitutional Amendment fell short this year -- we're just gonna have to work even harder next time."
I-1325 would have “knock[ed] a penny off the sales tax unless the Legislature puts the 2/3 constitutional amendment on the ballot for a vote”---or, spun differently, blackmailed legislators to pass Eyman’s a constitutional amendment requiring a legislative supermajority to approve any tax increase. The sales tax decrease, which Eyman called an “escape clause,” would have cost the state an estimated $1 billion in tax revenue, on top of Washington's current budget shortfall of about $3 billion.
Readers may recall that in 2010 Eyman succeeded in passing I-1053, which similarly required a two-thirds majority for tax increases, but last year that initiative was found unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court.
The only way to best a State Supreme Court decision is by changing the law: Amending the constitution—ironically for Eyman—requires a two-thirds majority vote of the legislature. Next, voters have to approve the change by a simple majority. Eyman has been promising since April 2013 that the public would set the Court straight, back his initiatives—and put the two thirds rule back on the books.
Eyman told supporters to "look at the bright side," noting that despite their failure to place this initiative on the ballot, “just the threat of I-1325 and its' signature drive was incredibly effective at deterring the Legislature from raising taxes this year.”
We have a call in to Eyman who needed to collect about 325,000 signatures to ensure the 246,372 requirement.
2. Today's Winner: Andrew Villeneuve
Longtime Eyman watchdog Andrew Villeneuve of the Northwest Progressive Institute predicted over a week ago that I-1325 would fail to make the ballot.
"For too long we've been treating symptoms," Villeneuve told Publicola after Eyman's concession email went out. "We need permanent solutions to raise the revenue we need for state services.
"We're hoping that this is the start of an era when legislators can work on solutions instead of putting out fires," he added.
This afternoon the Secretary of State told Publicola, "This is the first ballot in eight years without an Eyman initiative"
Happy July 4.