Eyman and his nemesis file dueling initiatives
Flanked by Mike and Jack Fagan, Tim Eyman files his latest anti-tax initiative. Andrew Villeneuve, an Eyman opponent who also filed an initiative Wednesday, stands in the background.
Initiative king Tim Eyman visited our Capitol office to file his statewide initiative to the 2016 Legislature that would limit the duration of tax increases to one year if not approved by either a supermajority of the Legislature, or by voters.
But minutes before Eyman’s arrival, his liberal nemesis, Northwest Progressive Institute’s Andrew Villeneuve, filed his own initiative that would require a majority of Washington’s registered voters to vote on an initiative or referendum or else the governor would have to declare the measure to have failed. Under Villeneuve’s measure, initiatives like Eyman’s that call for more than a simple majority of the Legislature on tax votes could pass only if approved by a likewise supermajority of the voters.
Under Eyman’s proposal, tax hikes approved by a simple majority of lawmakers would expire after one year and an annual renewal vote would be needed to keep them in effect. Only those taxes passed by a two-thirds majority or by the voters could remain active longer than a year. Eyman calls this a followup, or backup, to his I-1366, recently approved by the voters. That measure, which foes intend to challenge in court, would reduce the state sales tax from 6.5% to 5.5% next April 15 unless lawmakers place a constitutional amendment on the 2016 ballot to require future tax hikes to have a two-thirds vote in both chambers.
After filing his initiative, Eyman and the Fagans go to the Governor’s Office to “offer” a bowl of ice cream to Gov. Inslee, who, in recently talking about the Eyman-sponsored I-1366 on KCTS-TV, said, “If we were all offered a bowl of ice cream for nothing, we’d take it.”
Signatures for initiatives to the 2016 Legislature are due Dec. 31, so Eyman plans to refile his measure as an initiative to the people early next year. The first day to file 2016 initiatives to the people is Jan. 8 Signatures for those initiatives are due July 8.
Initiative sponsors have to submit at least 246,372 valid signatures to our state Elections Division for the measure to qualify for the ballot. We recommend a buffer of at least 325,000 signatures in case there are duplicate or invalid signatures.