Comparing Signature Gathering Costs on Initiatives 732 and 735

In Washington State in 2015, two different initiative campaigns are gathering signatures for initiatives to the legislature in 2016. The two campaigns are Initiative 732 by Carbon Washington for a carbon tax and Initiative 735 by WAmend to amend the US Constitution to overturn the corporate “Citizens United” decision by the US Supreme Court. Both campaigns started in 2015 collecting signatures in April and May.  The final deadline to file all signatures is December 31, 2015. This report details initial costs for getting signatures through Sept 30, 2015 and an update comparison as of Dec 1 for both campaigns. A final analysis will be done in Jan 2016.

It is important to put these two campaigns in perspective by looking at their signature count and also their cost.
CarbonWA reported as of Oct 16 that they had 270,000 signatures in hand
WAmend on Oct 16  had 172,500 signatures in hand.
The difference was 97,500 signatures.
The last fundraising and expense report with the PDC for both campaigns was for Sept. While the signature count was 2 weeks later, for comparison points we used the most recent time we had the same reporting date for expenses. As of the end of Sept:
Carbon WA income $547,968
Carbon WA expenses $ 527,211
WAmend income $215,026
WAmend expenses $ 138,949
Carbon Washington so far had paid $238,273 to  Your Choice Petitions to collect signatures.
In addition they paid out $62,241 to individual signature gatherers.
Their total cost for paid signatures was $300,514.
The difference between the two organizations in total expenses is $527,211 – $138,949 = $388,262.
Again the difference in signatures is 97,500.
So spending $388,262 dollars more dollars (including $300,514 in paid signatures) yielded them a total of 97,500 more signatures.
Averaging the total signature cost  per campaign means dividing the total expenses by the total signatures. Using the available comparable figures we have the cost per signature is
Carbon WA    $527,211/270,000 signatures equals $1.95 per signature
WAmend $138,949/172,500 signatures equals $.81 per signature.
Updated to Dec 1, 2015:
Initiative 732 raised $691,408.23 through Nov. 30,2015
Their expenditures were $656,477.69
Their signature count on Dec 2, 2015 was 334,000
Their cost per signature was 656,477.69/334,000 = $1.97/signature which was about the same as through Sept.
Initiative 735 – WAmend -raised $258,610.43 through Nov 30, 2010
Expenditures were $209,299
Signature count Nov 30, 2015 was 225,320
Cost per signature = $209,299/225,320 = $.93/signature
Fix Democracy First for I-735 – raised $91,774.48 through Nov 30, 2015
Expenditures were $36,433.38
Signature count Nov 30, 2015 was 13,439
Cost per signature  $36,433/13,439 = $2.71/signature
Note – higher cost included termination of a contract with a paid signature gathering firm, remaining costs per signature will be less $1.50/signature, $1.75 over 200 signatures, $2.00 over 400 signatures
Analysis will be updated in Jan 2016 when final costs are in for all campaigns.
 

 

Press Release – Initiative 735 Passes 254,000 Signatures, Moves Closer to Qualifying

Tuesday, December 8th, 2015

Contact Gabe Meyer
Campaign Director, WAmend
gabemeyer@wamend.org

or Steve Zemke
Field Director, WAmend
stevezemke@wamend.org

SEATTLE — WAmend, the sponsor of Initiative 735, announced today that supporters have now collected over 254,000 signatures to get on the 2016 ballot in Washington State. A minimum of 246,273 signatures are required by December 31st to file with the Secretary of State. WAmend is aiming to submit 320,000 signatures to cover duplicate and invalid signatures and assure success in qualifying.

Initiative 735 urges Congress to pass an amendment to the United States Constitution to overturn the 2010 Citizens United decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. It would declare that corporations are not people and money is not free speech under the Constitution, but that states have the right to regulate money in elections and the public has the right to know who is spending the money.

Initiative 735 is an initiative to the Washington State Legislature. If the Legislature does not enact the initiative, it would go onto the November 2016 ballot. Sixteen states so far have enacted similar legislation. In Colorado and Montana when it was on the ballot, voters passed the measures with greater than 74% of voters saying yes.

Over 200 elected officials, unions, local and national political groups, candidates, and party organizations have endorsed I-735. The organizations so far that have endorsed I-735 include the Washington Education Association, Washington State Democratic Party, Faith Action Network, Washington State Labor Council, Washington Conservation Voters, WashPIRG, and FUSE Washington.

Initiative 735 is also endorsed by US Representatives Adam Smith, Derek Kilmer and Jim McDermott, King County Executive Dow Constantine, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, thirteen state seators and twenty-eight members of the House of Representatives, and numerous city and county officials from around the state.

WAmend volunteers have collected 235,021 signatures, equaling 93% of the total collected. An additional 18,379 have been collected by Fix Democracy First for I-735.

Both Houses of Congress would need to adopt an amendment by at least a two-thirds vote. Then it would need to be adopted by three-fourths of the states. To date, twenty-seven amendments have been added to the U.S. Constitution. Arkansas and California will vote on initiatives similar to I-735 next year.

For more information, visit:

About WAmend
WAmend is a coalition of grassroots organizations and individuals who believe that unlimited and anonymous money has corrupted our political system. The mission of WAmend is to put the State of Washington on record as calling for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that will empower the people to pass laws that limit and control money in politics.

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Changing America, One Signature at a Time

Get big money out of elections! Put Washington State on record demanding an amendment to overturn Citizens United and return democracy to the people. Money is NOT speech. Corporations are NOT people.…
00:03:58
Added on 12/07/15
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Press Release – Initiative 735 Passes 239,000 Signatures 12/1/2015

For immediate release:
For more information:
Gabe Meyer – Campaign Director
GabeMeyer@WAmend.org
Steve Zemke – State Field Director
 SteveZemke@WAmend.org
Campaign phone – 206-547-9961
Initiative 735 Passes 239,000 Signatures
 
Supporters of Initiative 735 in Washington State have now collected over 239,000 signatures on Initiative 735. A minimum of 246,273 valid signatures is required to file with the Secretary of State by December 31, 2015. WAmend (Washington Coalition to Amend the Constitution), the sponsor of Initiative 735, is targeting to get 320,000 signatures to cover duplicate and invalid signatures.
WAmend volunteers as of Dec 1, 2015 have collected 226,160 signatures and an additional 13,249 were collected by Fix Democracy First for I-735. The total collected equals 239,409 signatures.
Initiative 735 urges Congress to pass an amendment to the US Constitution to overturn the corporate Citizens United decision by the US Supreme Court. It would declare that corporations are not people and money is not free speech under the Constitution but that  states and Congress have the right to regulate  money in elections and the public has the right to know who is spending the money.
Both Houses of Congress would need to adopt the amendment by a 2/3 vote. Then it would need to be adopted by  3/4 ‘s of the states. To date some 27 amendments have been added to the US Constitution.
Initiative 735 is an initiative to the Washington State Legislature. If the Legislature does not enact the initiative, it would go onto the November 2016 ballot. Sixteen states so far have enacted similar legislation. When it was on the ballot In Colorado and Montana, voters passed the measures with greater than 74% of the voters saying yes.
Numerous organizations in Washington state so far have endorsed I-735, including the Washington Education Association, Washington State Democratic Party, Faith Action Network, Washington State Labor Council, Washington Conservation Voters, WashPIRG and FUSE Washington.
Initiative 735 is also endorsed by US Representatives Adam Smith, Derek Kilmer and Jim McDermott, King County Executive Dow Constantine, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, Bellevue mayor Claudia Balducci, 12 State Senators and 28 State Representatives.
For more information check out our webpage at www.WAmend.org and our WAmend facebook page.
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Initiative 735 to Amend the Constitution to Overturn the Corporate “Citizens United” Decision Builds Momentum

Supporters of Washington State  Initiative 735 have now gathered over 179,000 signatures as of October 20, 2015. The minimum number of valid signatures needed to be filed with the Washington Secretary of State by December 31st, 2015 is 246,372.

The campaign target goal is to gather 320,000 signatures to cover duplicate and invalid signatures, including those who signed who are not registered voters. Two measures which made it onto the Nov 2015 ballot had invalid rates of 10% (I-1366) and 14% (I-1401). There have been other initiatives that have had as high as 20% which is why I-735 is targeting getting a minimum of 320,000 signatures.

The official ballot title and summary of I-735 as written by the Washington State Attorney General is below:

Ballot Title
Initiative Measure No. 735 concerns a proposed amendment to the federal constitution.

This measure would urge the Washington state congressional delegation to propose a federal constitutional amendment that constitutional rights belong only to individuals, not corporations, and constitutionally-protected free speech excludes the spending of money.

Should this measure be enacted into law? Yes [ ] No [ ]

Ballot Measure Summary
The measure would urge the Washington state congressional delegation to propose a federal constitutional amendment clarifying that constitutional rights belong only to individuals, not corporations; that spending money is not free speech under the First Amendment; that governments are fully empowered to regulate political contributions and expenditures to prevent undue influence; and that political contributions and expenditures must be promptly disclosed to the public. The measure would urge the legislature to ratify such an amendment.

View Complete Text PDF

Initiative 735 is an initiative to the Washington State Legislature. The Legislature according to the Secretary of State has 3 options:

“Initiatives to the Legislature, if certified, are submitted to the Legislature at its next regular session in January. Once submitted, the Legislature must take one of the following three actions:

    1. The Legislature can adopt the initiative as proposed, in which case it becomes law without a vote of the people;
    2. The Legislature can reject or refuse to act on the proposed initiative, in which case the initiative must be placed on the ballot at the next state general election; or
    3. The Legislature can approve an alternative to the proposed initiative, in which case both the original proposal and the Legislature’s alternative must be placed on the ballot at the next state general election.”

Supporters of I-735 expect that I-735 will not be passed by the Legislature but will go onto the November 2016  ballot. The states of Montana and Colorado have both had similar measures on the ballot which passed by 74% of the voters. Fourteen other states have passed measures by their Legislatures.

Washington is trying to be the 17th State to urge Congress to put a constitutional amendment back to the states to vote on that would overturn the corporate Citizens United decision. It takes a 2/3 vote of Congress and a 3/4 vote by the states to pass a US Constitutional amendment. It is not  easy to pass a constitutional amendment but so far there have been 27 added to the Constitution.

You can read more about the campaign and volunteer to help get signatures or make a contribution to support I-735 by going to www.WAmend.org. The initiative is using volunteer signatures gatherers and needs more help. If you want to help overturn the corporate Citizens United decision this is how you can help.

 

Should 12% of our State Legislator’s Have Veto Power over the State Budget?

On July 2, 2015 Libertarian anti-tax advocate Tim Eyman snuck quietly into the Washington Secretary of State’s Election Office and filed petitions for Initiative 1366 that he claimed had some 334,000 signatures collected by paid signature gatherers. If validated I-1366 will be on the Nov 2015 ballot.

Eyman’s Initiative 1366 is a Senator Ted Cruz Style Extortion Measure to prevent any new revenue being adopted by the Washington State Legislature. It would cut $1 billion a year from the Washington State Budget unless Legislator’s do Eyman’s bidding.

 Eyman’s I-1366 wants Legislators to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot to allow a super minority of only 12 % of our elected State Legislators ( 17 Senators out of 147 Legislators) to have the power to prevent any new revenue being raised for any reason. It would also allow those same 12% of elected State Legislators to prevent any tax reform, even if revenue neutral if it raised revenue from a new source, like a capital gains tax, a pollution tax on carbon or closed any tax loopholes.

Signature gatherers were paid with funds collected by Eyman from a few wealthy taxpayers that like their current low taxes while the rest of our state taxpayers pay a much higher proportion of their income in taxes.

Washington State has been ranked as the most regressive tax system in the country for many years now.  As Jon Talton noted this year in the Seattle Times:

“In the latest Who Pays? report by the non-partisan Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, Washington state has “by far” the most regressive tax system in the nation. Poor residents here pay 16.8 percent of family income in state and local taxes while the wealthiest 1 percent pay only 2.4 percent.”

Tim Eyman’s latest initiative I-1366 is a quagmire of problems for Washington State.

I-1366 Problems:

  1. Is this proposal constitutional? Voters are not empowered to pass a Constitutional amendment unless first Legislators by a 2//3 vote place it on the ballot. Voters cannot force Legislators by initiative to vote a certain way.
  2. Are extortion tactics legal? Removing $1 billion/year from the state budget unless the Legislature votes a certain way is not the normal way representative government work. Extortion and bullying should be rejected. Essential state services like educating our kids would be directly impacted next year and  into the future as the Legislature resists Eyman’s Ted Cruz shut down the government tactics  to try to get his way..

The problems with passing a 2/3 Constitutional amendment.

  1. A 2/3 vote requirement in both Houses would  empower a super minority of 12% of  our State Legislators to overrule a majority of legislators. It would only take 17 Senators out of 147 Legislators to prevent any revenue increase or repeal any tax loophole. That means that 12% of all the Legislators could over rule a majority up to 65% of all the  legislators in both the House and Senate and prevent action. This is not what the founders of our State and our Constitution envisioned and should be rejected. It would give special powers to a minority of Legislators by allowing them to trump any action by a majority of legislators voting in both Houses.
  2. It would require a 2/3 vote of both Houses of the Legislature to repeal tax exemptions and loopholes even if they are no longer working or no longer a priority of state government. Only a majority vote is required to pass a tax exemption. Currently according to the Washington State Department of Revenue in their latest 2012 Tax Exemption Study, Washington state exempts as much in tax revenue as it collects. For example In that report it noted that in the previous biennium the state  collected some $6.5 billion in B&O taxes but exempted some $7.6 billion from collection.
  3. It would lock in our existing regressive tax system from any reform by the Legislature. A 2/3 vote in both Houses would be required to pass any new revenue source, even if the overall result was revenue neutral.

Vote NO on I-1366. Extortion style tactics that will take critical funding away from schools and educating our children have no place in our state. Pushing an absurd constitutional amendment through extortion tactics to give 12% of our state legislators veto power over majority votes for raising revenue for needed public services, repealing tax exemptions that are not working and preventing reform of our regressive tax system needs a resounding NO vote.

see also www.No1366.org

Volunteer Signature Gatherers are Collecting Signature for Initiative 735

A grassroots volunteer signature gathering effort is underway in Washington State for Initiative 735. Initiative 735 is sponsored by WAmend – a coalition of citizen groups working for a US constitutional to overturn Citizens United and other US Supreme Court decisions that have unleashed a flood of money by large donors and special interest groups and corporations.

WAmend is pushing tor an amendment that would declare that corporations are not people and money is not free speech under the US constitution. It wants all political donors to be disclosed and not kept secret and wants the US and states to have the power to regulate money donated in political campaigns.

Volunteers are collecting signatures in 2015 to place Initiative 735 before the Washington State Legislature next year. Valid voter signatures from  8% of those who voted in the last Governor’s race are required to qualify an initiative. That is 246,372 for this cycle.  I-735 is targeting to collect 330,000 signatures by the end of the year to cover invalid signatures, including those who sign more than once or who are not registered voters.

If the Washington State Legislature does not enact I-735 it will be placed on the Nov 2016 General Election Ballot. The Legislature can place an alternative on the ballot and voters would vote first to pass an initiative and then pick one of the two versions.

If you would like to sign the initiative you can go to the I-735 website at www.WAmend.org and request a petition be sent to you if there is not a location nearby where you can sign. You can also volunteer to join the campaign and help collect signatures. Volunteers are critical to the success of this effort and are greatly appreciated.

The official ballot title, summary and a link to the actual initiative is below:

Ballot Title
Initiative Measure No. 735 concerns a proposed amendment to the federal constitution.

This measure would urge the Washington state congressional delegation to propose a federal constitutional amendment that constitutional rights belong only to individuals, not corporations, and constitutionally-protected free speech excludes the spending of money.

Should this measure be enacted into law? Yes [ ] No [ ]

Ballot Measure Summary
The measure would urge the Washington state congressional delegation to propose a federal constitutional amendment clarifying that constitutional rights belong only to individuals, not corporations; that spending money is not free speech under the First Amendment; that governments are fully empowered to regulate political contributions and expenditures to prevent undue influence; and that political contributions and expenditures must be promptly disclosed to the public. The measure would urge the legislature to ratify such an amendment.

View Complete Text PDF

Initiative 735 is in response to the big money in our election process. Big corporations, wealthy individuals and other special interest groups through the sheer impact of possessing lots of money have the ability to dominate the electoral process in our country . Initiative 735 asks that Congress help end this dominance of the electoral process by big money by passing a resolution to the states for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and other court decisions. Three quarters of the States would need to ratify a constitutional amendment for it to be valid.

Washington State Democrats Oppose Eyman’s Initiative 1366

The Washington State Democrats at their April 18, 2015 quarterly meeting in Pasco, Washington passed a resolution opposing Tim Eyman’s Initiative 1366. Initiative 1366 is expected to be on the Nov 2015 ballot.

Initiative 1366 is a Senator Ted Cruz Tea Party style measure, trying extortion tactics to impose minority rule over Washington State’s budget and revenue policy. In what is probably an unconstitutional move, it intends to slash a billion dollars a year from the Washington State budget unless Legislators put a constitutional amendment for 2/3 votes to raise revenue or repeal tax exemptions on the ballot.

The Washington State Constitution says only Legislators have the power to place a constitutional measure on the ballot by a 2/3 vote of both houses. Eyman is ironically unable to convince legislators to do what he wants them to do and so is resorting to extortion tactics. He could just as easy have said Legislators would not be paid unless they vote for a constitutional amendment, or they would lose their driver’s license or they would be sent to jail until they vote for what he wants. That is extortion and not legal.

Here is the official ballot title and summary from the Washington State Secretary of State’s website:

Ballot Title
Initiative Measure No. 1366 concerns state taxes and fees.

This measure would decrease the sales tax rate unless the legislature refers to voters a constitutional amendment requiring two-thirds legislative approval or voter approval to raise taxes, and legislative approval for fee increases.

Should this measure be enacted into law? Yes [ ] No [ ]

Ballot Measure Summary
This measure would decrease the state retail sales tax rate on April 15, 2016, from 6.5 percent to 5.5 percent. The sales tax rate would not be decreased if, by April 15, 2016, two-thirds of both legislative houses refer to the ballot a vote on a constitutional amendment that requires two-thirds legislative approval or voter approval to raise taxes, and majority legislative approval to set the amount of a fee increase.

View Complete Text PDF

 

Below is the text of the resolution passed by the Washington State Democrats:

Resolution Opposing Initiative Measure 1366

WHEREAS Tim Eyman, Mike Fagan, and Jack Fagan have sponsored and are circulating petitions for Initiative 1366, filed on January 5th, 2015 as an initiative to the people for 2015; 

WHEREAS I-1366 would reduce the sales tax, and therefore approximately $1 billion in state revenue every year, thereby preventing the increased spending on K-12 education  required by the McCleary decision, while jeopardizing higher education, transportation  and the social safety net, unless the State Legislature follows the dictates of the initiative  and sends to the voters a constitutional amendment undemocratically requiring a two- thirds vote in each House of the Legislature to raise revenue or repeal any tax loophole; 

WHEREAS the Washington State Supreme Court in February 2013, in League of  Education Voters v. State of Washington, struck down as unconstitutional a  requirement of a supermajority vote to raise revenue, and Eyman’s I-1366 comprises a  devious attempt to evade that ruling by coercing lawmakers into colluding in his  underhanded scheme to overturn it by holding all state funding hostage; 

WHEREAS either the loss of a billion dollars per annum to our common wealth or the  undemocratic modification of our Constitution to require two-thirds votes to raise and  recover revenue would result in serious long-term damage to the communities of  Washington State; 

WHEREAS our state’s founders understood that democracy requires majority rules  with minority rights, and, after much debate and deliberation, they wrote a  Constitution for Washington specifying that bills in the Legislature are passed by a  majority vote, defined as greater than fifty percent – no more, and no less; 

WHEREAS any higher threshold for the passage of legislation would result in power  being concentrated in the hands of a few (rather than the many), such as one-third of  one house of the Legislature – as when I-601 and its clones I-960, I-1053, and I-1185 were  illegitimately in effect; 

WHEREAS allowing tax exemptions to be created by a majority vote, but repealed only  with a vote of two-thirds or greater, represents an unfair double standard that would  make it nearly impossible to reform our outdated and regressive tax system; and 

WHEREAS I-1366 would further violate Article IX of the Washington State Constitution  by making it impossible for the state to fulfill its paramount duty of educating  Washington’s youth; 

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Washington State Democrats urge all  Washingtonians to refuse to sign Tim Eyman’s Initiative 1366 and, if it is placed on the  ballot, to oppose the measure; 

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we encourage every activist and  citizen who supports the values that Washington was founded upon to join the  coalition opposing I-1366.

 

Does Hillary Get It?

As Michael Brenner recently wrote, the challenge for progressive Democrats in the upcoming 2016 Presidential election is determining whether or not there is a new Hillary that both gets it and is willing to act on it.  What is it? It is the need to understand that the economy and economic inequality is distorting everything else in this coming election cycle and that strong leadership for change is needed to motivate Democrats to work hard and elect a Democrat as President. Others have written about this.  I am not the first.  But I agree.

After the 2012 Democratic debacle where Republicans took over the Senate and extended their domination over State Houses and Legislatures across the country  it was clear that the Democratic leadership had been out maneuvered and had fallen into a trap saying “we are not as bad as the other guys”, instead of challenging the GOP on their jaded view of government being for the corporations and the wealthy instead of the people.
As Michael Brenner wrote for the Huffington Post right after the Nov 2014 election:

“At a time when Americans feel more discontent and view their prospects more darkly than on any occasion since the depths of the Great Depression, the Democrats have defaulted. They offer no interpretation that conforms to their bedrock principles; they offer no narrative that fits the pieces into a comprehensible whole; they offer no vision for the future. Instead, they have adapted themselves to the Republican narrative and Republican motifs. They present no robust defense of government as the people’s instrument for meeting communal needs and wants. Rather, they incline toward the assumption that government and public programs should be viewed skeptically.”`

Forward to April 2015.  Hillary Clinton has announced she is running for President. No surprise.  So where does this leave us. An incessant critique from the left right now seems to be that Clinton is just more of the same and is no different that what has resulted in the Democratic decline in voting and the loss of Democrats at all levels in the past.

Others offer a more positive voice. Robert Borosage in a post on Nation of Change entitled Hillary’s In: Challenges for the New Populism  writes that there are five simple propositions about Hillary’s candidacy we need to consider:

1. The central question is the economy.

2. Hillary’s challenge is to rouse the democratic Coalition

3 People are looking for a champion but that isn’t an honorary post.

4. Populist movements offer an answer, not a threat.

6. Hillary’s candidacy will test the New Populism.

Borosage sums up the situation and challenge nicely:

“The wealthiest 1 percent% is capturing 95 percent of the income growth coming out of the Great Recession. This doesn’t happen by accident. It happens only because the rules have been rigged to benefit the few. It can only be altered with fundamental changes in policy and direction. Despite the worst economic calamity since the Great Depression and the worst military debacle since Vietnam, the elites and institutions that dominate our economic and national security policy remain largely in place.
As Frederick Douglass taught us, “power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has and it never will.” The lesson of the Obama administration is clear. Those movements that continued to mobilize, drive the debate and challenge the administration made progress. Those that folded into the White House operations got lost.
After a quarter century at the apex of American government, Hillary Clinton is an unlikely champion of the fundamental changes we need. But she is brilliant and resilient. It’s clear that the argument posed by Elizabeth Warren has already concentrated her mind. She’ll lead the charge only if populist movements and upheavals make her do it. This isn’t a time to stand down in the name of party unity. This is a time to turn up the heat.”

Ann Werner on Liberal United in an article entitled “The Warren /Sanders Effect on the Clinton Campaign” adds further to the impact that Senator Elizabeth Warren and also Senator Bernie Sanders is having on Hillary Clinton:

“The truth is, even without a Democratic opponent in the race, Hillary Clinton is being moved to the left. Every time another petition urging Elizabeth Warren to run circulates, every time Bernie Sanders is interviewed about a possible run and people get fired up and say YES! we want a progressive who will stand up for us, she sees the writing on the wall. The mere presence of those two on the planet, and the fact that they are not afraid to speak up and speak out, is moving candidate Clinton to take positions one would expect from either of them.
President Hillary Clinton won’t make the same mistakes President Obama made. She is fully aware that the far right Republicans will never cooperate, no matter what she does. She’s been there, done that and knows it’s a fool’s errand to think that will change.
So I say this: Keep on holding her feet to the fire. Keep on letting her know that we’ll have her back as long as she has ours.”

Many on the left question who Hillary will represent. These are legitimate questions. But we need to be careful while advocating for Clinton to address the issues Democrats have failed to take on in recent years. Constant incessant negativity against Clinton is not going to help move a progressive agenda. The challenge is to put pressure on Clinton to move left and address issues of concern to progressives, including promoting more progressive candidates. The last thing we want to do is turn Democrats off from voting altogether. The Republicans taking over the White House and continuing to expand their advocacy for the wealthy and corporations and special interests running our country for their further concentration of wealth is the last thing we want. Promoting a progressive agenda and not a negative diatribe against Clinton, makes sense in trying to move forward.

Eyman’s I-1366 is a Con Job on Most Washington State Taxpayers

Washington State has a tax problem but it is not one Eyman’s Initiative 1366 will help. Requiring a 2/3 vote by Legislators to raise taxes would make Washington’s tax situation worse and would put special interests, the wealthy and corporations in charge of  running Washington State by giving them the ability to dictate our tax structure by having to only control the votes from 1/3 of the members of either the House or the Senate.

No longer would a majority or even up to 66% of Washington Legislators be able to decide how we would fund state services like educating our children. Seventeen State Senators out of 49 or 33 House Member out of 98 would  be able to overrule a majority in both Houses.

The problem is that requiring a 2/3 vote to raise taxes is a con job by those benefiting most – corporations and the very wealthy. Those less well off are paying the greatest proportion of their income in taxes – the rich pay much less -that’s why we are labeled the most regressive tax state in the nation.

From Mother Jones

“The nation’s most regressive tax code belongs to Washington, a state that was ranked by The Hill last year as the bluest in the country based on its voting patterns and Democratic dominance. The poorest 20 percent of Washingtonians pay an effective state tax rate of 16.8 percent, while the wealthiest 1 percent effectively pay just 2.4 percent of their income in taxes.

There’s a clear explanation for that: Washington has no income tax and thus heavily relies on a sales tax that disproportionately affects the poor. What’s harder to grasp is why Washington’s liberals put up with it.”

The 2/3 vote prevents repealing tax loopholes that are giveaways to special interests like oil companies. It prevents even revenue neutral tax reform to make our taxes less regressive because any increase in a tax, even if revenue neutral, requires a 2/3 vote.

And ever since I-601 in 1993 the Legislature has, except for a few years, had the 2/3 requirement as state law. When it was ruled unconstitutional in 2013 by the Washington State Supreme Court, Republicans controlled the Senate preventing even a majority vote to make changes.

Big oil companies like BP and Conoco Phillips gave Eyman money to support the 2/3 vote in the past – not to help low income folks with their taxes but to prevent the legislature increasing a tax on cleaning up toxic substances like oil spills. The 2/3 vote requirement would allow 1/3 of the Legislators in one House to block any tax increase. That is why it is a con game. It would transfer the cleanup costs to taxpayers.

Do not sign I-1366.  If it gets on the ballot because Eyman is using paid signature gathers paid for by a few wealthy contributors like developer Clyde Holland and Kemper Freeman who owns Bellevue Square, vote NO!

Eyman’s 2015 I-1366 is a Repeat of Eyman’s 2014 I-1325

Initiative 1366, sponsored by Tim Eyman, is a citizen’s initiative for the Nov 2015 Election. It is a refiling of Initiative 1325 from 2014 which Eyman failed to get enough signatures on to qualify. Here are a couple of comments from last year  about this proposal.

Spokesman Review – Jan. 10, 2014 Editorial – “Eyman’s Tax Initiative Looking for a Problem”

Tim Eyman has a new idea, his worst ever, and that’s saying something.
The watch salesman turned initiative promoter submitted a proposal to the Washington Secretary of State on Monday that would compel the Legislature to enact and pass along to voters a constitutional amendment requiring a two-thirds vote by state lawmakers or voters on any tax increase.
How compel?
Initiative 1325 would cut the state sales tax rate to 5.5 percent from 6.5 percent. The change would reduce annual revenues by about $1 billion. But the reduction would not occur if the Legislature endorses the amendment by April 15, 2015.
In other words, the initiative puts a $1 billion gun to the head of legislators.
Eyman calls the incentive “oomph.” Blackmail is more like it.

This is not about protecting taxpayers. I-1325 is about keeping Eyman in business.

Crosscut, Feb 6, 2014 – “A 2/3 vote for tax bumps?  Tim Eyman will rise again” – article on a vote by the Legislature for a constitutional amendment for a  2/3 vote for revenue to be placed on the ballot. It received a vote of 25 to 21, far short of the 2/3 needed to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot.

“Minority Democrats countered that the Legislature struggled to meet financial requirements when the two-thirds requirement was in effect. They unsuccessfully tried to remove the two-thirds requirements to close tax breaks and to allow majority approval of some fund transfers covered by the supermajority requirement in Roach’s bill. The Democratic attempts failed.
Also, Democrats pointed to the need to comply with a 2012 Supreme Court ruling to upgrade education and to restore a frequently suppressed voters initiative to provide cost-of-living increases to teachers.
Democratic Senate budget chief James Hargrove of Hoquiam noted that it took two extra special sessions in 2013 to close two tax breaks to balance the state budget — with a simple majority rule in place. He said 17 senators — 12 percent of the entire Legislature  — could hold the budget hostage in order to get their pet bills passed. “It’s called the rule of 17, a super-minority,” said Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Kent.

From the Washington State Secretary of State’s website:

Ballot Title
Initiative Measure No. 1366 concerns state taxes and fees.

This measure would decrease the sales tax rate unless the legislature refers to voters a constitutional amendment requiring two-thirds legislative approval or voter approval to raise taxes, and legislative approval for fee increases.

Should this measure be enacted into law? Yes [ ] No [ ]

Ballot Measure Summary
This measure would decrease the state retail sales tax rate on April 15, 2016, from 6.5 percent to 5.5 percent. The sales tax rate would not be decreased if, by April 15, 2016, two-thirds of both legislative houses refer to the ballot a vote on a constitutional amendment that requires two-thirds legislative approval or voter approval to raise taxes, and majority legislative approval to set the amount of a fee increase.

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Initiative 1366 is an Ted Cruz style of coercion measure, threatening to remove $1 billion a year in revenue from the state budget. It would severely cripple funding for education in this state.  It is a libertarian ant- government, anti-tax initiative intended  to lock in tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy and severely limit funding of public services by requiring a 2/3 vote to raise revenue or repeal tax loopholes.

Do not sign or support or vote for Initiative 1366!