Tag Archives: I 1053

Big Oil Loves Tim Eyman

Big Oil loves Tim Eyman.  They love him so much they’re have given him $200,000 this year to protect their corporate profits and tax loopholes from the Washington State Legislature. They love it that he helped them two years ago prevent the Legislature from asking them to help clean up oil polluted stormwater in our state. They love it that voters said the Legislature needed a 2/3 vote to tax corporations and end profitable tax loopholes they have.

Eyman is busy carrying their water as he scurries to pay his minions to get signatures on I-1185 his “son” of 1053. I-1053 was passed by voters in 2010 and said the Legislature needed to get a 2/3 vote in both houses to raise new revenue or close any tax loopholes. For 2 years after an initiative passes it takes a 2/3 vote of the Legislature to amend an initiative. After that it takes a simple majority.

So Eyman is trying to put I-1185 before the voters to reset the clock for another 2 years.

The 2/3 vote requirement initially was in I-601 and then in I-960.  Both these measures barely passed 51% to 49%. Two years ago in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression and with high unemployment the measure passed with a 64% vote after opponents waited until the last few weeks to try to oppose it but it was too late.

Now voters can see the consequences of a no new taxes proposal which is what I-1185 is and what I-1053 is.  Austerity so to speak is another w0rd for protecting corporate profits while cutting services to the elderly, the sick and young kids.  Corporate interests like BP and Conoco Phillips continue to rack up huge profits and contribute to the increased concentration  of wealth in the hands of the few.

On April 4, 2012 BP Oil out of Chicago gave Eyman $100,000. Eyman immediately passed it on to his buddy Roy Ruffino at Citizen Solutions out of Olympia.  Citizen Solutions is paying signature gatherers $1.00 per signature and pocketing a fee for itself of course.

BP last year reported a net profit of $23.9 billion. $ 100,000 is peanuts to BP.

On April 20, 2012 Conoco Phillips added another $100,000,  Small peanuts to them also that they  can write off as a business expense. After expenses Conoco Phillips reported a 1st quarter Jan – March 2012 profit of $2.94 billion.

Isn’t it great that if you are a big corporation and you can buy yourself a place on the ballot and you can have friends like Tim Eyman to help you fool the public into supporting your corporate profits at the expense of diminishing public services that benefit the public.

Don’t sign I-1185!  Don’t support Big Oil’s power grab of the Washington State Legislature. Big Oil is not concerned about the well being of Washington State or its citizens. They are only concerned about increasing the bottom line of their business and their shareholders.




Initiative 1053 is a Corporate Power Grab to Control the Legislature

BP Corporation North America, Conoco Phillips, Wells Fargo Bank, Bank of America, Alaska Airlines, Liberty Mutual, US Bank. What do all these corporations and banks and insurance companies have in common? They helped bankroll I-1053 along with Tim Eyman.  They are doing a power grab trying to take away majority votes in our State Legislature and vest power in a minority of Legislators that would comprise only 1/3 of the Legislators in either House of the Legislature.

Why are they doing this? Because they can more easily convince 17 out of 49 Senators  to support their corporate no tax agenda than convince 25 Senators to do so.  It is a blatant power grab. Under I-1053, only 17 Senators (a 1/3 minority) out of 49 would be needed to oppose  repealing special interest tax exemptions like some out of state banks now get or opposing legislation to make polluters like the oil industry pay for cleaning up toxic waste caused by use of the products they sell.

Corporations and banks and insurance companies put their profits as their bottom line, not the public good.  Our elected  State Legislature helps to provide a balance between corporate profits and the public good. Framers of our Washington State Constitution understood that making decisions by a majority vote was the fairest way to make decisions. They wrote it into the Washington State Constitution in Article II, Section 22, which states the Legislature shall act by majority votes.

Trying to require a 2/3 vote for some decisions like taxes,  will specifically benefit corporations and their profits over the public health and welfare. Such a proposal is unconstitutional.  One could just as easily argue that because tax exemptions for businesses and corporations remove revenue from the State budget, that a 2/3 vote should be required to continue existing tax exemptions and create any new tax exemptions. Exemptions should not be given lightly because they place more of a burden on other taxpayers to make up for the revenue lost.

Of course the same corporations supporting I-1053 would oppose this. Yet it is just as logical as their proposal. The unfairness here is also that the current tax exemptions in state law were passed by a simple majority but under I-1053 a 2/3 vote would be required to repeal any exemption because it is defined as increasing taxes. It doesn’t matter whether the exemption has outlived its usefulness or no longer provides any benefit to the state or the public.

I-1053 is the height or arrogance.  The two previous times it was passed by voters (I-601 and I-960), it squeaked by with a scant 51% to 49% vote.  It could nowhere near muster the vote numbers it is now trying to impose on the Legislature.  Voters should reject I-1053 for what it is – a backdoor approach to gain more power and profits for corporate interests at the expense of the rest of the state.

 Voters may think they are limiting their taxes but it is the corporations that are laughing all the way to the bank as they rake in more profits and pass the cost of their doing business in the state onto the public.  I-1053 will decrease the power of the average voter in the Legislative process and increase power in the hands of the self selected corporate elite that can more easily control a minority of 1/3 of the Legislators to further their special interest agenda and pad their bottom line.

Check out the list of big corporate interests and banks and oil companies and think to yourself why they want the public to vote for I-1053. Do you  think it is about the public welfare and health of our state and its voters or is it about their profits?  Do you think it is about educating our children and caring for the needy and seniors or salaries for corporate executives and bankers ?

Here’s a list of the largest donors, many who are based out of state,  that paid to put I-1053 on the Nov. 2, 2010 ballot.  All told some $1,023,115 was raised by corporate and business interests and Eyman.

BP Corporation North America, Warrenville, IL  $65,000

Tesoro Industries Inc, San Antonio, TX $65,000

Washington Restaurant Association $59,000

Conoco Phillips, Huston, TX $50,000

Equilon, Huston, TX $50,000

Washington State Farm Bureau $50,000

Washington State Association of Realtors $25,000

Washington Bankers Association $25,000

Northwest Grocery Association Washington PAC, Wilsonville, OR $15,000

Kemper Holdings LLC $20,000

Community Bankers of Washington $10,000

Sierra Pacific Industries, Redding CA $10,000

Schnitzer Steel Ind, Portland, OR $10,000

Simpson, Tacoma, WA $10,000

Wells Fargo Bank, Minneapolis, MN $10,000

Port Blakeley Tree Farms, Tumwater, WA $8000

WA Aggregates and Concrete, Des Moines, WA $7,500
Martin Selig $5000

Alaska Airlines, $5000

Boise, Boise, ID $5000

Cowles Company, Spokane, WA $5000

Darigold, Seattle, WA $5000

Liberty Mutual, Dover, NH $5000

Plum Creek, Columbia Falls, MT $5000

Sherman Bakery, Shoreline, WA $5000

Simplot, Boise, ID $5000

US Bank, Robbinville, MN $5000

Washington Food Industry, $5000

Washington Food PAC, Portland, OR $5000

Washington Lodging Association PAC, $5000

Washington Oil Marketers Ass.,Port Orchard, WA $5000

Weyerhauser, Federal Way, WA $5000

Yakima Valley Growers-Shippers Association $5000

Children’s Alliance Urges No Vote on Eyman’s Initiative 1053

Initiative 1053 is a recycled Eyman initiative that wants to give a minority of 1/3 of the Legislators of either House veto power over revenue issues. Even if 60 or 65% of the Legislators supported a measure, 17 members of the 49 member Washington State Senate,e.g., could veto passage of the bill. This is a recipe for disaster in trying to fund critical state services like educating our children or providing basic health care.

Here is what the Children’s Alliance has posted on their website about I-1053:

NO on Initiative 1053

I-1053: 2/3-majority vote to raise revenue in the state Legislature (sponsored by Tim Eyman)

Status: On the November 2, 2010 statewide ballot

Opponents: Children’s Alliance and coalition partners who opposed I-960.

No on 1053 campaign: Sandeep Kaushik skaushik100@gmail.com

Details: This initiative is modeled after I-960 and would require an onerous 2/3-majority vote to pass a bill with any new revenue in the state Legislature. This supermajority requirement would effectively prevent our state from raising revenue in times of budget crisis – even when a majority of state lawmakers deem it necessary. It would give a handful of lawmakers veto power over important fiscal decisions.

Impact on children and families: I-1053 would severely restrict the government’s ability to raise new revenue needed to support vital services for children and families, such as Apple Health for Kids, early childhood education, and programs aimed at ending childhood hunger. I-1053 would limit our state’s ability to respond to the needs of kids and families and could force cuts to support systems the Children’s Alliance and our allies have fought hard to protect.

The Childrens Alliance has taken positions on other ballot measures. You can read about more about their positions by going to  “Ballot Measures Affecting Kids and their Families“.

The Children’s Alliance urges you to support I-1098 which cuts taxes and raises money for education and healthcare and Referendum 52 to rehab schools for health and energy efficiency reasons.  In addition to opposing I-1053, they urge you vote No on 1100 and 1105 to deregulate the liquor industry in our state and NO on 1107 sponsored by the Beverage Industry.

Supermajority Vote Requirement for Washington State Legislators as Proposed by I-1053 is Unconstitutional

This issue should have been decided long ago by the Washington State Supreme Court. Any attempt to limit the Washington State Legislature from enacting revenue bills or repealing non-performing tax exemptions by requiring a supermajority vote is unconstitutional. Initiative 1053 is unconstitutional and should be rejected by voters this November.

The Washington State Constitution is very clear on this issue.

Article II, Section 22 states:

“PASSAGE OF BILLS. No bill shall become a law unless on its final passage the vote be taken by yeas and nays, the names of the members voting for and against the same be entered on the journal of each house, and a majority of the members elected to each house be recorded thereon as voting in its favor.

It does not state that more than a majority vote can be required. Initiative 1053 tries to change that by requiring Legislators to act by a 2/3 supermajority vote in both Houses to enact revenue measures or repeal tax exemptions. It happens to be revenue in this case but it could just as easy be environmental protections or labor issues or race issues or women’s issues or any other issue.

The fact of the matter is that anything more than 50% to pass a bill would give Legislators on one side of the issue more power than the other side in determining the outcome of a vote.  Requiring a 2/3 vote to pass a measure means that the vote of 1/3 of the Legislators can prevail over the vote of 2/3 of the Legislators.

A majority vote gives both sides on a issue equal voting power  to pass or reject legislation. Everyone’s vote has equal weight. It’s the basic concept of one person/one vote. But a 2/3 vote requirement for Legislators to pass something means that 1/3 of the Legislators can prevent passage;  in essence giving the vote of those opposed to a measure  twice the weight of someone voting for the measure.

This sets up a two tiered system of weighted votes, something that is not in the State Constitution for passing legislation.  It distorts the process of representational government. Initiative 1053 tries to change the Washington State Constitution by saying that in some cases your elected Senator or Representative will represent you with one full vote to decide an issue but in cases involving raising revenue or repealing non-performing tax exemptions, they will essentially only have the equivalent of half a vote to decide the issue if they vote yes. If they vote no their vote will represent a full vote.

This is the flaw in supermajority votes. Under a 2/3 majority vote requirement to pass some issues, it sets up a system that essentially assigns Legislators the equivalent of half a vote if they vote yes or a full vote if they vote no on certain issues.

While I-1053 would require supermajority votes for deciding to raise revenue or repeal non-performing tax exemptions, it only requires a simple majority to pass itself. It does not require a 2/3 vote.

Washington voters are certainly not overwhelmed by this proposal based on past voting. In the one instance in which it was mentioned specifically in the ballot title, it just barely passed. That was Initiative 960 in 2007. It only received a 51.24% yes vote. That is nowhere near the 2/3 voting requirement it is asking the State Legislature to operate under.

In 1993, the 2/3 vote requirement was an issue in Initiative 601, even though it was not specifically mentioned in the ballot title.  It also just barely passed with a 51.21 % yes vote.

Eyman mentions this measure passing 3 times which is misrepresenting the issue. In 1998 voters passed Referendum 49. It’s subject dealt with motor vehicle excise taxes, bonds for highways and spending limits. Nowhere was a 2/3 vote requirement mentioned in the ballot title or official arguments for the voters pamphlet by supporters and opponents as referenced by the League of Women Voters.

These attempts to negate the concept of 1 person/1 vote for Legislators voting are unconstitutional. They are attempts to assign different voting powers to different Legislators depending on whether they vote for or against a particular measure. The Washington State Constitution does not allow the ability to weight votes for bills depending on the subject.

Article I, Section 29 states:

CONSTITUTION MANDATORY. The provisions of this Constitution are mandatory, unless by express words they are declared to be otherwise.

The State Constitution does not set up the power to weight votes depending on a Legislator’s position on a bill.

The issue of revenue/taxes is specifically addressed in another part of the Washington State Constitution.

Article VII, Section 1 states:

TAXATION. The power of taxation shall never be suspended, surrendered or contracted away.

Initiative 1053 is obviously an attempt to take away the Legislator’s authority to raise revenue or taxes to support public services. The only way this can be altered is by a constitutional amendment.

An initiative or legislative bill can not amend the state constitution. That requires a constitutional amendment. Because constitutional amendments affect the basic framework of how our government works, it is a specific instance where the state constitution spells out a requirement for a 2/3 vote by the Legislature and a majority vote of the people to pass. Two other instances spelled out for 2/3 votes by the Legislature are to expel a member of the house and a 2/3 vote in the first 2 years to amend an initiative.

No where does the Washington State Constitution say that voters can by a simple majority vote on an initiative, limit the power of Legislators to pass revenue legislation or repeal under-performing tax exemptions  by requiring supermajority votes. Under Article I, Section 29 to do so would require express words and no such words exist in the Constitution.

Initiative 1053 should be rejected by voters this November. It is unconstitutional. Uphold our Constitution by voting No on 1053 this November 2nd!