Tag Archives: Steve Zemke

Testimony in support of SB 5224 to end Eyman’s Anti-Tax Push Polls

Testimony in support of SB 5224 – concerning advisory votes 

 Eliminating Eyman’s push poll tax advisory votes from the ballot

Washington State House Committee on State Government & Tribal Relations

Steve Zemke – Tax Sanity           March 11, 2019

The Washington State Ballot for the last ten years has been cluttered with nonbinding push poll questions on tax measures passed by the Legislature.

These so called “tax advisory” questions” were put there as part of Tim Eyman’s Initiative 960 as an attempt to increase public resentment to any “tax” measures despite their benefit to  the larger public. The ballot title for each is basically written as an anti-tax push poll based on Eyman’s ballot title language in Initiative 960 that stipulated the polling question wording.

They carry no Legislative weight as they only record voters’ opinions. They are like a public opinion poll paid for by taxpayers. But Eyman tries to use them to build public opposition to funding public services by wording them such that voters will be inclined to respond negatively to any tax increase. Under Eyman’s definition of tax increases he also includes any efforts by the Legislature to repeal any tax exemptions or tax expenditures even if they are no longer needed or are no longer meeting the state priorities of government.

Deciphering Eyman’s ballot title language is very tricky and confusing to voters. They seem purposely written to try to get voters to vote to repeal any tax increase passed by the Legislature.   And unlike initiatives, the write-up on these so-called tax advisory votes in the voter’s pamphlet contain no explanatory statement, no pro and con statements, and no fiscal impact statement.

In fact, the State Attorney General has no real ability to even try to fairly explain the issue in the ballot title since Eyman’s initiative 960 required that the ballot title be worded as he wrote it:

The legislature imposed, without a vote of the people, (identification of tax and description of increase), costing (most up-to-date ten-year cost projection, expressed in dollars and rounded to the nearest million) in its first ten years, for government spending. This tax increase should be:
Repealed . . .[ ]
Maintained . . .[ ]

Please end this waste of taxpayer dollars to promote Tim Eyman’s anti-tax propaganda and misuse of the public ballot to further his self-serving anti-tax initiative promotion business. Vote to move SB 5224 out of committee to Rules and to the House floor for passage by the full House. Push polls to promote a private business deserve no place on Washington State’s ballot.

Update Information SB 5224 was prime sponsored by Senator Patty Kudder and Senators Hunt, Takko, Keiser, Nguyen, Darneille, Das, Wellman, Saldana, McCoy, Hasegawa, and Pedersen. The bill has been heard in the House Committee on State Government & Tribal Relations. Please contact your Representatives and urge they vote for this bill by clicking on this link  SB 5224 and then clicking on “comment on this bill.”  Thanks.

Majority Rules Blog Files Public Dislosure Commission Complaint Against Groen Supporters

Press Release:

For Immediate Release:
Sept. 13, 2006
Majority Rules Blog
Contact Steve Zemke
stevezemke at msn.com

Majority Rules Blog Files PDC Complaint Against “Americans Tired of Lawsuit Abuse”

A complaint today has been filed today with the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission against an out of state PAC supporting the election of John Groen in his race to oust Chief Justice Gerry Alexander from the Washington State Supreme Court.

Steve Zemke of Majority Rules Blog filed the complaint. In his two most recent posts on the Alexander/Groen race for Washington State Supreme Court, Zemke noted that spending by Groen and Groen supporters has exceeded $1.35 million, making it the most expensive Supreme Court race in Washington’s history. And over $400,000 has now been raised and $350,000 spent by a mysterious out of state PAC calling itself Americans Tired of Lawsuit Abuse.

See: Groen Supporters Violate Public Disclosure in their Intent to Deceive and Hide who they are.

Record $1.3 million Spent so far to Elect Groen to Washington State Supreme Court http://www.majorityrules.org/blog/2006/09/record-13-million-spent-so-far-to.html

Zemke’s complaint is based on violation of RCW 42.17.020 (43) which states that the “Sponsor of an electioneering communications, independent expenditures, or political advertising” means the person paying for the electioneering communication, independent expenditure, or political advertising. If a person acts as an agent for another or is reimbursed by another for the payment, the original source of the payment is the sponsor.”

The sponsor not the agent needs to be identified under Washington law. Americans Against Frivolous Lawsuits is obviously just a phony name to hide the true identity of the funds.

Because this election will be decided in the Sept 19, 2006 primary Zemke asks that the PDC tell Americans Tired of Lawsuit Abuse to immediately identify to the public the source of their funding.

The US Chamber of Commerce two years ago tried to avoid identifying themselves as the sponsors of a $1.5 million spending campaign against Deborah Senn when she ran for Attorney General against Rob McKenna. The PDC ruled that they had to tell the public.

Americans Against Frivolous Lawsuits are running TV attack ads against Chief Justice Gerry Alexander and supporting John Groen.

One possible source of the funds is the American Tort Reform Coalition based in Washington DC. Zemke raises the questions of where the money against Alexander is coming from because a local Coalition calling itself the Liability Reform Coalition actually is affiliated with the American Tort Reform Coalition. And the Building Industry Association of Washington, which is itself spending hundreds of thousands of dollars is a member.

You can read more at the two blog links above.

McCranium.org to the Rescue – My Honor is Saved!

Seems Tri-City Herald reporter and blogger Chris Mulick last Friday lumped me in the same category as Tim Eyman when I pointed out in a recent blog on Referendum 65 how the news media is in bed with Tim Eyman. Referendum 65 is an attempt to repeal recently passed legislation in Washington state banning discrimination based on sexual orientation. Mulick touted back in his blog that I’m the one in bed with Tim Eyman. Now isn’t this getting interesting?

Jim McCabe over at McCranium caught Chris Mulick’s blog, entitled “Eyman, Zemke agree on one thing, maybe” He responded with an excellent rebuttal entitled “Chris Mulick, Ya Gotta be kidding me…” Jim does an excellent job of clarifying what the issue is really about. It’s not that the media is the enemy, its that they help Eyman by giving him coverage many other issues and campaigns never get.

Now I’ve been in a few beds but not Tim’s. See I’m old fashioned and I believe in love before going to bed and Tim and I have no love for each other. I like to at least think that the other person I’m in bed with is sincere and honest and won’t lie before we crawl under the sheets, while we’re under the sheets or afterwards.

Now the news media, that’s a different story. The thing is I’m not calling the news media liars. You’ve probably heard the phrase of “putting the paper to bed”. It’s newspaper vernacular such as used in this interesting aside if you really want to get diverted from this story at this point. See The Morning News “Talking Dirty with the Gray Lady

Anyway, on my blog post last week entitled, “Evangelical Churches and News Media Aid Eyman on Referendum 65″ my point was that there is a narrow line between reporting news and making up news or believing something is news because a press release is put out. And this is the case with Referendum 65. By writing about Eyman’s reaching out to the churches to save his bacon and keep his initiative business going, trhe media winds up promoting his efforts. They have got another story “to put to bed” hoping that it will grab their readers tomorrow when they open their morning paper.

There have been many other initiatives that have struggled to get signatures but because Eyman is such a mediagenic guy, he becomes a story for some of the media in this state just because he said something. Frequently its an easy story because they quote verbatim from an Eyman press release and don’t even bother to check whether what he is saying is true or not. Opposing vierwpoiunts get short shift. He may get contact information while the other side isn’t even mentioned.

Others reporters have, over time, taken a different position, realizing that writing about any of Eyman’s campaign struggles or stunts before he has gotten his signatures would be helping him get his signatures by giving him increased exposure and credibility.

I can remember in the past numerous comments from reporters in the press and media that an initiative wasn’t a story until you turned in your signatures. They basically had a hands off policy on an initiative only being a major story when the initiative campaign actually secured enough valid signatures. It didn’t matter how many endorsements you released or testimonials and studies you supplied supporting your campaign. If you didn’t have the signatures to show then you hadn’t reached the required threshold level of public support to get media attention. These days it seems some reporters ignore that distinction regarding Eyman’s campaigns and give him coverage no matter what, while at the same time ignoring other initiative campaigns that are worthy and could use media attention.

They do this partly because Eyman can be obnoxious and taunting to the media and he captures their attention. But he doesn’t hate the media as Chris Mulick seems to suggest. In fact he loves the media because they are an integral part of his initiative business. He has worked them enough so they know him. In fact I’m sure some like him because he is irreverent to them. Meanwhile Eyman loves the attention he gets and it works to get him the exposure he needs to keep his for profit initiative mill going.

He knows that by being respectful and matter of fact, he isn’t going to get coverage. But his “in your face” showmanship sound bites fit just what the media wants. It helps them to sell papers. It also makes for 30 second sound bites. One could call it media grabbing theatre.

All I said in my blog, and this is what Jim at McCraniyum.org responded to, is that the media is really doing Eyman’s work for him. How many other campaigns are also struggling to get signatures? Do they get a front page headline in the Seattle PI or a large story in the Yakima Herald? No. They aren’t showman Tim Eyman. Some in the media seem to need Eyman as much as he needs them it seems.

To connect to those who oppose Eyman’s effort to place Referendum 65 on the Washington ballot this November go to Washington Won’t Discriminate.