Eyman admits funds lag, says I-807 'not there yet'

DAVID AMMONS; The Associated Press
The News Tribune


Tim Eyman's fund-raising for his spending-limit initiative is well off the pace from last year, and the tax rebel acknowledged Tuesday that "it's a nail-biter" whether the movement's latest measure will qualify for the ballot.

Eyman, best known for initiatives lowering car tabs and limiting property taxes, has gathered about $219,000 in cash and in-kind contributions for Initiative 807, compared with about $331,000 for last year's I-776.

Once in-kind funds are subtracted, mostly Eyman's donated consulting work on organizing and fund-raising, the I-807 contribution total to date is $178,718, or about $114,000 below the level for I-776 a year ago.

I-776, rolling back some local car-tab taxes and attempting to derail Sound Transit's light rail program, was approved by voters but thrown out in court. An appeal will be heard by the state Supreme Court next week.

Eyman conceded that he's worried about qualifying his latest initiative, which would stiffen state government spending limits and make it tougher to raise taxes. He and his Voters Want More Choices political action committee need about 200,000 valid voter signatures by July 3.

He declined to say how many signatures are in hand.

"We're making good progress, but we're not there yet," he said. "It all boils down to what happens in the next few weeks."

He rejected critics who say his support is waning. The spending-caps initiative hasn't generated the same level of interest as previous proposals, but internal polls show it passing handily if it makes the ballot, he said.

"Each idea (for an initiative) has to stand on its own," he said.

The campaign can get by on less than last year because it isn't relying very much on paid signature gathering, Eyman said. Last year's campaign spent about $150,000 for paid solicitors, but this year's effort seems to be doing OK with volunteers, he said.

"We printed 200,000 petitions ... and now we're emphasizing 'fill 'em up, send 'em in,'" he said.

Eyman and his co-chairmen intend to seek a salary if the measure qualifies for the ballot.


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