Well-funded regressive initiatives on the ballot again in November

Tim Eyman is at it again. His I-1185 would re-instate the 2/3 super-majority requirement for the legislature for raising taxes (and eliminating tax exemptions), like its predecessor, I-1053.

Another initiative, I-1240, would establish charter schools in Washington State.

Both initiatives are well funded by corporations and are hardly the populist proposals their supporters would like to make them out to be.

On Eyman’s anti-tax initiative I-1185, the Seattle P-I reports:

Major oil companies fueled the signature campaign with $400,000 in contributions. The Beer Institute bellied up with another $400,000. … Big Oil (BP, ConocoPhillips, Tesoro, Shell) is making an astute investment. The Legislature, in 2010, came within an eyelash of enacting a small per-barrel tax on oil that was designed to pay for spill prevention and measures to curb stormwater pollution into Puget Sound.

On the charter schools initiative, the News Tribune reports:

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has donated more than $1 million to support the initiative campaign pushing for charter schools in Washington state…

The campaign has attracted a number of other large donations, including almost half a million dollars from Mike and Jackie Bezos, the parents of Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos. The campaign also has received donations of $100,000 from Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, and Katherine Binder, chairwoman of EMFCO Holdings.

Voters have rejected charter schools three times in the last 16 years (source), but they have several times approved Eyman anti-tax initiatives.  See The State Constitution and other reasons to oppose charter schools and Ross Hunter on education for information on why charter schools are undesirable.

There will also be initiatives on the ballot concerning marriage equality and marijuana legalization. But on economic issues the Left always seems to be playing defense.

If, as seems likely, the State Supreme Court upholds the lower court ruling that I-1053’s super-majority requirement is unconstitutional, what effect will that have on Eyman’s new initiative I-1185?  And would the legislators dare to defy the voters’ will?

Perhaps it’s premature to submit an initiative to the voters to establish a progressive income tax;  voters did reject I-1098 by nearly 2-1 ratio in 2010. But why is there no initiative to eliminate tax exemptions that plague the WA State tax code?

And what sort of campaign will Democrats, progressives, and advocacy groups play this year to fight I-1185 and raise awareness of economic justice and fair taxation?  This being a presidential election year, resources will be spread thin.


Flow chart to help Washington State voters decide whether to support Tim Eyman Initiatives

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