I-800 will be the 800 pound gorilla in 2003, says Eyman
Olympia, WA - Tim Eyman, Jack Fagan, & Mike Fagan filed their 2003 taxpayer-protection initiative in Olympia today at 11:00 am. Initiative 800 protects taxpayers by requiring legislative supermajorities to raise taxes or fees. Following on the heels of voter-approved I-695, I-722, I-747, and I-776, I-800 promises to be the boldest effort yet to protect taxpayers from reckless tax increases in Washington state. Co-sponsor Tim Eyman released the following statement:
"I-800 will be the 800 pound gorilla in 2003. Washington has the highest unemployment rate in the nation. We are in the midst of a recession. But politicians throughout the state believe they can tax us into prosperity. Taxpayers must protect themselves from a state income tax and massive tax and fee increases."
"On election day, we filed our initiative for 2003 and its language required legislative supermajorities for state government to raise revenues through taxes and fees beginning January 1, 2003. Various governments and government agencies have since announced that they refuse to implement voter-approved Initiative 776. In fact, politicians plan to sue the voters because they don't like the voters' decision on election day. It is despicable. Politicians must know that the message from November 5th was clear and unambiguous: you have lost the public's trust. Vindictively refusing to implement voters' election day instructions and maliciously suing the voters only throws gasoline on the fire of distrust. Apparently, politicians' lust for our tax dollars knows no bounds."
"There must be serious consequences to this kind of corruption. Our response will be forceful yet peaceful and accomplished by exercising our constitutionally-protected, guaranteed political free speech rights. We are announcing today the following improvements to Initiative 800:
· The 75% legislative supermajority requirements for tax and fee increases have been extended to towns, cities, and counties (previously, I-800 applied only to state government) · The effective date and emergency clause have been revised so that the initiative takes effect retroactively to November 1, 2002 (previously, it took effect January 1, 2003).
"Politicians are employees of the people. Politicians need to start acting like representatives, not dictators. Politicians' malicious refusal to implement the clear policies, purposes, and intent of I-776 and their vindictive lawsuits funded by OUR tax dollars, have resulted in these improvements to I-800. Sound Transit & its board members, Ron Sims, Gary Locke, and the Dept. of Licensing are responsible for these improvements to I-800. Voters will hold you all accountable with I-800."
Voters Want More Choices I-800 · PO Box 18250 · Spokane
· WA · 99228
We must have an early, aggressive start. Send your check -- made payable to "I-800" -- to:
Following is a news item from King 5 News in Seattle, WA:
`800-pound gorilla' would attack tax hikes "Taxpayers must
protect themselves from a state income tax and massive tax and fee
increases," says Eyman
Eyman's Initiative 800 would require state legislators, city councils and county commissioners and councils to muster a 75 percent vote to approve any new taxes and fees. School districts which already have a 60 percent standard wouldn't be included, nor would gas tax increases.
"I-800 will be the 800-pound gorilla in 2003," Eyman told
a capital news conference Tuesday. "We are in the midst of a
recession, but politicians throughout the state believe they can tax
us into prosperity.
Originally, Eyman had planned to also clamp down on state spending limits, eliminating all of the loopholes and changes that have been enacted by the Legislature since voters passed Initiative 601 in 1993. That measure generally limits state spending increases to the inflation rate plus population increases about 3 percent a year.
Eyman told reporters he wants to zero in on taxes "like a laser beam."
His plan won't be on the ballot until next November, but he's attempting to make the provisions retroactive so they would apply to the upcoming legislative session and to county and city tax decisions over the next 12 months.
The Legislature faces a $2 billion budget gap and many lawmakers already are talking about taxes as a part of the solution.
"Clearly, we want to make it tougher to raise taxes," Eyman said. "We don't want it to be their first Pavlovian instinct."
Likely Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Talmadge, a former Supreme Court justice, said Eyman's plan is "blatantly unconstitutional on its face."
Under the state Constitution, legislation needs only a simple majority vote in both houses to pass, or a 60 percent vote in the case of bonds or expansion of gambling, Talmadge said. Raising the standard to require a supermajority would take a constitutional amendment, he said.
I-601 imposed a two-thirds vote requirement for tax increases a feature never challenged in court. Earlier this year, the Democratic-controlled Legislature reduced that to a simple majority for 2002 and 2003.
"Apparently politicians' lust for our tax dollars knows no bounds," even with the state's struggling through recession and deep unemployment, Eyman told reporters after filing his latest initiative with the secretary of state.
A tax study panel has recommended that lawmakers consider a state income tax, but legislative leaders say that's dead on arrival in the Legislature, especially with Republicans apparently in control of the Senate.
A graduated net income tax would require a constitutional amendment, which takes a two-thirds vote in both houses plus voter approval. A 1 percent income tax can be imposed by lawmakers.
As he previously disclosed to The Associated Press, Eyman and his co-chairmen, Mike and Jack Fagan of Spokane, plan to take unspecified salaries next year if they secure a ballot spot for I-800.
Eyman got in trouble with the state earlier this year when he acknowledged that he took more than $200,000 in previous campaign contributions as a salary fund. He had steadfastly described himself as an unpaid taxpayer advocate.
"Nothing until July," he said Tuesday.
Every dime of contributions between now and then will go toward qualifying for the ballot, possibly including paid signature-gathering, he said. After that, his 29,000 donors will be asked to help finance fall campaign costs, including salaries.
His biggest critic, Democratic campaign consultant Christian Sinderman, said Eyman is back with more "profiteering lies." Eyman has run five initiative campaigns in the past four years and won four, including I-776 last week.
"His ego is so big, he might be all Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse," Sinderman said. "Clearly, we have reached the point where Tim Eyman doesn't care if his initiatives are legal, if they make sense or if they are good for Washington's future.
"All he cares about is that they make him money. As long as he has something that sounds good, people will send him money to promote it, to the detriment of all of us. The only problem he is fixing is his own bank balance. We need real long-term solutions and Eyman's for-profit initiatives aren't helping us solve any of our problems."
Charles Hasse, president of the Washington Education Association, said Eyman's latest measure is absurd and flies in the face of something teachers discuss in civics class majority rule.
Eyman will have until next July to gather about 200,000 valid voter
signatures to secure I-800 a place on the November 2003 ballot.
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