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Published: Tuesday, April 3, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Eyman pushes for 'renewal' of anti-tax initiative

MUKILTEO -- Initiative impresario Tim Eyman said Monday he will once again push for a ballot measure limiting the ability of state lawmakers to create or raise taxes.
Eyman, of Mukilteo, said he's gathering signatures for Initiative 1185 which, if passed, would require new or higher taxes to be approved by a two-thirds majority of the Legislature or a vote of the people.
If this sounds familiar, it is.
Voters imposed the same rules when they passed Eyman's Initiative 1053 in 2010 by a wide margin. He's calling this measure the "Son of 1053."
"This is purely a renewal of 1053," he said.
Petitions were printed Friday, he said, and are being distributed to supporters. He must turn in 241,153 valid signatures of registered voters by July 6 to qualify for the November ballot. He said he's not hired a professional signature gathering firm and does not have a major financial backer yet for this effort.
Monday's announcement ends several months of wondering what initiative Eyman would pursue in 2012. He filed paperwork in January for several measures including one banning the installation of red-light cameras without voter approval, which he described as "insanely attractive."
But he settled on what's become his old standard. State law allows voter-approved initiatives to be amended after two years and the clock for I-1053 expires this fall.
That means Democratic lawmakers could erase the requirement come January, and that's a big worry, he said.
"You saw it this legislative session. They were almost salivating at the idea of raising taxes," he said, citing proposals for an income tax and a capital gains tax as examples. "There was one proposal after another and the only thing stopping them was the two-thirds requirement."
Without it, he predicted there would be a "mind-blowing, tax increasing orgy."
Voters imposed a two-thirds requirement in 2007 by passing Initiative 960. Then in 2010, the Democratic majority in the Legislature amended the measure in order to approve several tax bills. One of those, a levy of two cents per can of soda pop, was repealed by voters on the same ballot that approved Initiative 1053.
The benefit of this policy has been clearly illustrated the past two-years," said Jason Mercier of the Washington Policy Center, a business-oriented think tank. "Rather than the first response of policy makers to the budget impasse being tax increases, discussion of making the case to the voters and focusing first on reforms has taken hold."

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@heraldnet.com.
Story tags » State elections

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