Eyman gets early GOP support on I-807

By Scott Morris, Everett Herald Writer


MUKILTEO, WA-- The state Republican Party often has been an easy ally for anti-tax guru Tim Eyman.

The relationship is even cozier now.

Usually, the Republicans wait until Eyman's citizen initiatives receive enough signatures to get on the state ballot before endorsing them.

This year, the Republicans jumped on board early.

Saturday at a state GOP meeting in SeaTac, Republicans endorsed Eyman's Initiative 807 even before it had gained its first signature.

I-807 would restore changes made to Eyman's Initiative 601, which voters passed in 1993. I-601 limited state spending increases to inflation plus the rate of population growth, and also required a two-thirds majority vote of the Legislature to raise any tax. [NOTE: Initiative 601 was actually Linda Smith's brainchild - the same Linda Smith who later won with a write-in vote and became a U.S. Representative].

"Our initiative (807) simply re-establishes those policies," Eyman said in a telephone interview.

While the state Republican Party often has endorsed Eyman's past initiatives, the Mukilteo watch salesman said this is the first time it has done so this early on.

"This is a really big deal for us," Eyman said.

In fact, newly re-elected state GOP chairman Chris Vance became the first person to sign Initiative 807.

Eyman and the other initiative sponsors have until July to collect the necessary 200,000 valid voter signatures to ensure a statewide vote in November.

Mary Lane, communications director for the state Republican Party, said the party was "absolutely opposed" to Democrats overturning parts of I-601.

"Ever since then, we have supported reinstating 601," Lane said Saturday. "And that is our purpose in endorsing I-807."

Eyman said I-601 has been undermined in recent years. For example, the Legislature changed the two-thirds supermajority requirement for new tax measures to a simple majority.

"They called it temporarily suspending 601's requirement," Eyman said.

He also was miffed that the Legislature allowed itself to start moving some expenditures off the budget without adjusting the I-601 spending cap. Another change allowed legislators to spend the interest accrued by the emergency reserve fund on buses.

"Interest that's accruing should be retained in the emergency fund," Eyman said.

Eyman blamed current budget deficits on not staying true to the spirit of I-601.

"Spending would have been more restrained and we would have an emergency reserve fund," Eyman said. "We want to avoid roller-coaster spending in boom years."

The Associated Press contributed to this report. You can call Herald Writer Scott Morris at 425-339-3292 or send e-mail to smorris@heraldnet.com.

-- END --

Eyman released the following statement:

"This is huge for us -- we've never gotten the Party to back us before
we started! Early, enthusiastic support like this is absolutely
critical to the I-807 campaign. We only have a few short months to
gather 200,000 signatures to put I-807 on the ballot. That's about 4000
signatures PER DAY, an extraordinary challenge. We know our opponents
realize the widespread enthusiasm and acceptance of I-601's policies, so
we are certain they will conduct the dirtiest, nastiest opposition
campaign this state has ever seen. We must have an early, aggressive
start to fight against their vicious, anti-First Amendment tactics."

Voters Want More Choices is the new grassroots taxpayer-protection
organization promoting I-807. It has over 30,000 people on its list of
supporters and donors. I-807 petitions will be mailed out to all 30,000
this coming week.

Voters Want More Choices
PO Box 18250
Spokane, WA 99228


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