Fresh off his most recent defeat at the polls in November, professional initiative promoter Tim Eyman, a former Mukilteo mail-order watch salesman, is coming forward with another ballot measure proposal this year.
You’ll have to take his word for what his proposal actually will do because he isn’t sharing it until Monday at 11 a.m., when he’ll be filing the measure with the Secretary of State’s office.
(Eyman apparently has taken a page out the legislative handbook: when legislators unveil their budget, they hold a news conference at which they characterize, but won’t let reporters actually see or read their budget proposals until the budget-writers leave the room.)
Legislators do it so they can “spin” their budgets the way they want without being asked any knowledgeable questions from reporters who have actually had the benefit of reading their budgets.
Eyman does it largely because he wants two bites at the apple. That is, he wants free publicity today and more free publicity on Monday.
Here’s what Eyman sent us via e-mail, minus the plea for money from his supporters.
Media folks: we’re filing the initiative at 11 am on Monday at the Secretary of State’s office in the Capitol building. A couple of surprises are left that’ll be included in Monday’s announcement — hope you can attend.
January 2, 2009
To: Our thousands of supporters throughout the state (cc’d to all media outlets — reporters, columnists, editorial writers, and others in newspapers, radio, and TV — House & Senate members, and the Governor)
From: Tim Eyman, Jack Fagan, & Mike Fagan, Lower Property Taxes Initiative co-sponsors, ph: 425-493-9127, email: email@example.com
RE: Lower Property Taxes Initiative in 2009
We have a proposal for 2009 that aggressively tackles our state’s property tax crisis. It’s called the Lower Property Taxes Initiative. Our tax burden keeps growing faster and faster and government keeps getting bigger and bigger — the people are losing control. The Lower Property Taxes Initiative is our last, best chance to gain control of our government. Here’s an excerpt from its intent section:
This act is intended to protect taxpayers by reducing our state’s obscene and unsustainable property tax burden by controlling the growth of government to an affordable level. It is long overdue. This measure would limit the growth of state, county, and city general fund revenue, not including new voter-approved revenue, to the annual rate of inflation. Revenue above this limit would be used to reduce property taxes. This measure permits the growth of Washington’s tax burden to increase at an affordable, sustainable rate, allows citizens to vote for higher taxes where they see a need, and uses excess revenues above this limit to reduce property taxes.
During these tough economic times, struggling working families and fixed-income senior citizens desperately need and deserve meaningful property tax relief. Property taxes have skyrocketed for decades and politicians have done nothing to address this very real problem. This measure also provides a much-needed economic stimulus to our state’s struggling economy by keeping our tax burden at an affordable, sustainable level and by reducing our state’s crushing property tax burden. So, this measure ensures meaningful tax relief, a big boost to our state’s economy, and long-overdue reform of government. It is a smart, balanced, reasonable solution to our state’s property tax problem.
This will be the first real reduction in property tax bills in our state’s history.
How much will our initiative lower your property tax bill? Some years, it’ll knock 40% off your property tax bill. Other years, it’ll cut it by 1/3. Other years, it’ll lower it by 25%. Other years, it’ll reduce it 10%. The amount of reduction will be different every year. The greater the excess revenue collected by the government, the larger the property tax reduction that year.
As you know, state government, all 39 county governments, and all 281 city governments each have a main account called the General Fund. Each government’s general fund receives revenue from a combination of various taxes and fees. The Lower Property Taxes Initiative requires that each government receive the same total amount of money they collected the previous year – plus the rate of inflation. If during a year any government receives money in excess of this revenue cap, THAT EXTRA REVENUE WILL NOT GO TOWARD MAKING THAT GOVERNMENT BIGGER, IT’LL GO TOWARD MAKING OUR PROPERTY TAX BILLS SMALLER.
The Lower Property Taxes Initiative doesn’t reduce the size of government; it ensures that government grows at an affordable, sustainable, voter-controlled rate and dedicates excess revenue toward lowering our state’s crushing property tax burden.
We’re filing it on Monday, January 5th as a statewide initiative to the people. With processing and filing time, we anticipate the petitions to be printed and ready to send to everyone by mid-February. We have until early July to raise the funds necessary to gather a total of 300,000 voter signatures, a tremendous challenge. But we’ve had 10 years of invaluable experience learning what works and what doesn’t. We have a winning track record of success. With your help, we can do this.
Please help us lower property taxes for everyone with this critically important initiative.
Regards, Tim Eyman, Jack Fagan, & Mike Fagan, Lower Property Taxes Initiative co-sponsors, ph: 425-493-9127