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Tim Eyman follows the money

Post by Kim Bradford on April 14, 2010 at 1:55 pm with 12 Comments »
April 14, 2010 1:56 pm

Tim Eyman may be as aggravating as hell, but he’s not dumb. The guy can spot a potential payday a mile away. How else to explain his rush to be first in line to oppose the raft of tax increases passed by the Legislature this week? As TNT reporter Jordan Schrader reported on Political Buzz, Eyman faxed documents to the Secretary of State just after midnight, before lawmakers had even adjourned.

You’d think Eyman would have enough work on his hands getting the restoration of Initiative 960 – which required a two-thirds vote by legislators to raise taxes – on the November ballot. But no. Now he’s filed eight new initiatives seeking to roll back the products of I-960’s suspension: higher taxes on candy, gum, beer, soda, bottled water, tobacco and service businesses. He’s even targeting a tax banks pay on the money they earn on mortgage loan fees.

Being first at the Secretary of State’s office mattered. Business interests were widely expected to fight the tax increases at the ballot box. By beating them to the punch, Eyman becomes (he hopes) the logical person in which to entrust their initiative campaign and financial support. Erik Smith at Washington Wire explains:

In a sense, Eyman is really test-marketing his product. In about a month he said he and his supporters will decide whether to combine individual measures, or drop them. Much will depend on the kind of support he gets in coming weeks. That could mean support from voters or corporate interests. Thus his filing offers a signal to potential backers that the signature-collector is willing.

Eyman may have a spotty history of getting initiatives passed, but he knows how to get them qualified for the ballot. That may be knowledge the likes of the Washington Beverage Association, which has money to spend judging from its full-page newspaper ads opposing the soda tax, needs. The association’s president told Smith:

(Tim) Martin, a Pepsi bottler from Elma, said the first step is for his association to meet and settle on a strategy. The bottlers have never drafted an initiative before, he said. “We’re young upstarts,” he said.

Who better than the initiative king himself to show them the ropes?

This certainly isn’t Eyman’s most brazen effort to follow the money. That distinction still belongs to his 2006 attempt to undo gay rights legislation passed by the Legislature. At least this time Eyman is going after his normal foe, taxes.

Leave a comment Comments → 12
  1. nwcolorist says:

    “How else to explain his rush to be first in line to oppose the raft of tax increases passed by the Legislature this week?”

    Gee, Kim, do you think it might be because he, along with a huge number of voters, are mad as hell about the way things are heading around here?

    I suggest that some of you at the TNT take a peek out from inside the alabaster fortress on State Street. Instead of continuing the low level personal attacks and innuendos on Tim Eyman, why not be grown up enough to establish a debate on the merits of the tax issue.

  2. nwcolorist: Initiatives to roll back some of the tax increases were coming no matter if Eyman filed them or not. We’re happy to have a debate on the merits of the tax issue; just this morning, we criticized the Legislature for passing so many increases.

  3. At least this garbage article is in the Opinion side of the TNT, versus being reported as fact on the front pages. Thank you Tim Eyman for your tireless work on behalf of the taxpayers of this state to force our legislators to start considering cutting costs versus just raising taxes left and right to cover the bloated and insane budget this governor and legislature has created. Tim-for every hater, there are many people who admire what you do and why you do it. You have inspired me to get involved in the political process personally.

  4. tree_guy says:

    “the guy (Eyman) can spot a potential payday a mile away” Kim Bradford

    Kim, you didn’t provide one shred of information that Eyman’s initiative filings were motivated by anything other than his desire to rectify what he feels is a political injustice.

    Governor Gregoire and the Democratic legislators receive paychecks yet no one accuses them of serving in Olympia because they “spotted a potential payday.”

    You can attempt to marginalize Mr. Eyman, but the public passes his initiatives 66% of the time. That’s an astonishing success rate.

  5. The Eyman supporters still have not answered this: Why the mad dash to the fax machine? Why couldn’t Tim wait a few hours, say when the Secretary of State’s office opened for the morning? Because he wanted to beat everyone else to the punch.

  6. Kim, Looking at your picture, I really doubt you have had to pay much in taxes in your life as yet. I really don’t believe you have a clue just how angry many taxpayers are at the Washinton State Governor, and the Dems. in Olympia, and in Washington D.C.. They just go on
    taxing and spending as fast as they can.

    I too would like to personally thank Tim Eyman for his efforts and watch dog reliability when it comes to keeping an eye (no pun intended) on our Big Spending Politicians.

  7. “why the mad dash to the fax machine?” Kim Bradford

    That’s a pretty specious complaint. However I will attempt to answer it.

    Tim Eyman is nothing if not extremely organized. You have the same right and access to file an initiative that Tim does. Don’t begrudge him for using the tools available.

  8. Roncella: I’ll be 38 in June, and I’ve been paying taxes since I was 14. I understand how angry people are. I have written several editorials on behalf of the editorial board criticizing the Legislature and governor for their budget decisions. The last one was published just this week.

    tree_guy: Yes, Eyman is organized. But you still don’t explain why he needed to be first in line. Why not let the business interests file their own initiatives? What does it matter who makes it first to the Secretary of State’s office, if the only goal is to get the job done?

  9. tree_guy says:

    Who is stopping the business interests from filing an initiative? If the timing of Tim’s filing is a concern, why don’t you contact him? I’m sure he will answer your question. I’ve exchanged ideas with him on the Seattle Times blog and he’s very eager to discuss his initiatives. Good Luck Kim.

  10. derekyoung says:

    His business savvy comes out in breaking each repeal into it’s own measure. Rather than just titling a single initiative “Repeal ESHB xxxx” he makes sure no industry group gets to freeload. Each will need to pay Eyman to run their challenge.

    It’s brilliant really. Sleezy, but brilliant.

  11. “each will need to pay Eyman to run their challenge” derekyoung

    Because Eyman is frequently successful, industries will probably be eager to pay him to run the repeals, but no one “needs’ to pay him. Anyone can file an initiative, even you Derek. The reason the Mariners pay Ichiro a lot is because he frequently hits the ball. They could probably hire the bat boy as the lead off hitter for a lot less.

  12. geeterpontiac says:

    Just smart business really. both for him, and them. He is good at it, knows the ropes, and the industries will end up saving money in the end.

    Just like hiring an expert.

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