Politics & Government

Eyman designing new tax handcuffs for 2012

Tim Eyman already has an initiative campaign in the works for 2011. He wants to limit the ways highway tolls can be raised – requiring the Legislature, not the Transportation Commission to do it.

But the busy initiative pitchman his sights set well past November, when voters might weigh in on his Initiative 1125.

Eyman is testing and designing a tax-control measure for 2012 – one that would reaffirm last year’s Initiative 1053, which reestablished the two-thirds vote requirement for tax hikes passed at the Capitol. I-1053 already is credited with blocking serious discussion about raising taxes or closing tax exemptions for select groups – such as banks or out-of-state shoppers.

In effect, Eyman says, another set of I-1053-styled handcuffs would ensure that lawmakers don’t suspend the two-thirds tax-vote requirement in 2013 or 2014. In Washington, an initiative can’t be altered for two years after its passage unless lawmakers muster a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate.

The Office of the Secretary of State received two more versions of Eyman’s 2012 proposal this week. It’s standard for Eyman to file measures, get them vetted by the state and then refine them closer to the launch date – typically the first day of a legislative session in January.

David Ammons, spokesman for the state elections agency, said Eyman would need 241,153 valid voter signatures by December if he wants the new tax measure to be sent to lawmakers and by July next year if he wants it to go on the November 2012 ballot. Eyman said he is getting ready for the latter.

In the meantime he is collecting signatures for I-1125 – which targets a piece of I-1053 that he discovered was not enforceable. That was his effort to force lawmakers to approve any new tolls for roads – a task lawmakers delegated this year to the Transportation Commission, which is appointed by the governor.

For a look at what else has been filed so far for 2011, go here.

The Service Employees International Union 775 Northwest has filed at least eight initiatives. SEIU represents home care workers and is seeking closure of tax exemptions for out-of-state shoppers and others to pay for health services for the elderly and disabled.