Pushing Back Against Eyman’s Latest Initiative Attacks on the People’s Legislature

Libertarian Tim Eyman supposedly filed his 51st initiative this year with the Washington Secretary of State. In a press conference held in the morning at the Washington State Secretary of State’s Office he claimed that this is the “one” he is going to collect signatures on. Then  in afternoon the Secretary of State’s Office actually recorded that he filed a second version, his initiative version #52 at 3:36 PM, one minute after he officially filed the test for version #51. Version #52 had different language, including provisions relating to beer taxes.

Because time is short before the July deadline for filing the actual signatures of an initiative to the people to get on the fall ballot, I suspect that he is still trying to entice the Beer Industry, which last year heavily funded Initiative 1185, to pony up money to underwrite his signature gathering efforts. Including language relating to beer taxes means he probably does not have funding for the version he told the press and media he was putting out to get signatures.

Below is a collection of news articles on the proposed measure he allegedly filed with the intent to collect signatures on. Tax Sanity and the Northwest Progressive Institute both were at Eyman’s  morning filing and spoke against his alleged latest measure to undercut our functioning state government by severely restricting the state’s ability to raise revenue or repeal tax loopholes that are not benefiting the public good.

Eyman’s main thrust in publicly  proposed measure is to set up a statewide push poll paid for by taxpayers on passing a constitutional amendment to allow a 1/3 minority of legislators in one house of the legislature to trump any vote by a majority of Legislators in both houses when it comes to passing revenue to meet state needs like funding our schools.  It is of course phrased in the reverse language of requiring a 2/3 vote of both Houses to pass a revenue measure. But the result would be setting up an undemocratic process that the framers of both the US Constitution and the Washington State Constitution looked at and rejected.

As noted in a New  York Times article on the filibuster issue entitled Tyranny of the minority where 41 votes trump the will of 59 votes:

The Framers wrote a Constitution that protected minorities in many ways, but they insisted on majority rule in Congress. As Alexander Hamilton explained in “The Federalist”: “If the majority, in order that something may be done, must conform to the views of the minority, the smaller number will overrule the greater. Hence, tedious delays; continual negotiation and intrigue; contemptible compromises of the public good.”

Unfortunately this rule by the minority corrupts the democratic process. Under the 2/3 vote requirement for example a tax expenditure aka loophole can be enacted by a majority vote but it would take a 2/3 vote to repeal it. The proposed 2/3 voting amendment is actually a tax loophole protection amendment.

Here are some of the press articles on Eyman’s filing.

New Eyman initiative could make transportation projects grind to a halt, kirotv.com, April 24, 2013

New Eyman initiative would amend state constitution, KING5.com, April 24, 2013

Progressives meet Eyman push with their own initiative, John Stang, Crosscut, April 25, 2013

Tim Eyman files a ‘Superbowl’ anti-tax initiative, Jonathan Kaminsky, April 24, 2013

Thursday’s Jolt: Challenging Eyman, Josh Feit, Pubicola, April 25, 2013


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