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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Live from “The Eyman Rim Job.”

posted by on November 29 at 10:38 AM


That’s what Savage called it yesterday when I told him I’d be down in Olympia this morning covering the special legislative session. Gov. Gregoire has asked the Democrats to put Tim Eyman’s government revenue cap (a 1 percent annual cap on the amount of revenues the government can collect from property taxes) into law after the Washington State Supreme Court threw out the public vote.

Progressive activists are pissed at Governor Gregoire (I hitched a ride down with one this morning) because they see her capitulation to Eyman as a lack of leadership.

Certainly, progressives acknowledge that property taxes are screwed up—lower income people pay about 6 percent of their income in property taxes while richer people pay half as much, 2.8 percent.

But they’re smart enough to see that Eyman’s cap on revenues—1 percent doesn’t even keep pace with inflation so how are governments supposed to provide basic services—hasn’t eased people’s legit complaints about the property tax system. Eyman’s 1 percent cap has been in place for five years now, for example, and people are still bitching about property taxes. So, obviously keeping the cap in place (a cap that is killing rural communities who are lacking in services) isn’t working. It’s like keeping those stretch waist pants in your wardrobe to make you feel like your waist line’s okay, rather than actually going on a diet.

In this instance, the diet, or the real fix that progressives are talking about is called a circuit breaker. It works like this: When property-tax bills reach a certain percentage of a homeowner’s income (say five percent), they get a tax credit.

A circuit breaker proposal developed by the Washington State Budget and Policy Center is, the Center claims, revenue neutral. And tt would give the poorest 20 percent of homeowners a 14.9 percent tax cut; the next 20 percent would get about a 12 percent cut, the middle 20 percent would get a 1.9 percent cut, and the top 40 percent would see a 2 percent increase.

The second person I ran into when I got here this morning was Washington State Budget and Policy Director Remy Trupin who says he’ll be testifying about the circuit breaker proposal in front of the Senate committee at 10:45.

He also said “the biggest misunderstanding” about Eyman’s 1 percent cap is this: It’s not a cap on your property tax payment. Eyman’s cap is a cap on government general fund revenues raised by property taxes. So, no wonder Eyman’s cap isn’t doing much to make the property tax issue (inequitable payments between rich and working class) go away.

The Supermajority Democrats should take advantage of the fact that Eyman’s fake fix was tossed by the Supreme Court, show some leadership, and use this opportunity to enact a real fix.

There is reportedly more support on the Senate side than the House side for the progressive circuit breaker idea. It will be interesting to see how Trupin’s testimony is received there.

Oh, and the first person I ran into when I got here this morning, was Eyman. He was standing outside the House hearing room, where there had already been testimony, smiling broadly. “This is exciting!” he said.

RSS icon Comments


Eyman is an ass. Period.

Posted by Will in Seattle | November 29, 2007 11:00 AM

What a cock. Yeah, be excited about sticking it to poor people and getting away with it. You fucking douche.

Posted by Greg | November 29, 2007 11:15 AM

Dan Savage see's everything in alagory to his own ass.

He is in love with his anus, fixated on it, loves it. It dominates his life and his thinking. He can't go 1 minute without thinking about his own dirt chute. Even someone as repulsive as Tim Eymen is cause enough to for him to again rumenate on asslicking, poop play, sodomy, etc...

Get a life Dan. Your naughty bits aren't that special. Are you teaching your kid about how great rim jobs are yet? Start 'em early, right?

Posted by ecce homo | November 29, 2007 11:28 AM

Gosh, ecce, we missed you.

Oh, and Tim Eyman should be caned 100 times for every initiative he either attempts to collect signatures but fails, or that gets voted down, or gets overturned by the courts.

What. A. Douche.

Posted by SDA in SEA | November 29, 2007 12:55 PM

SDA, Timmy boy would probably like that ... unfortunately.

Posted by Will in Seattle | November 29, 2007 1:28 PM

From: Tim Eyman, I-747 co-sponsor

All credit for what happened in Olympia yesterday goes to the citizens.

Voter pressure put on legislators over the past three weeks (and frankly over the past 10 years) made the difference. Nothing like having 5 state supreme justices calling the people stupid to motivate and galvinize the support of the 58% of the people who approved I-747 (and a whole lot of the 42% who voted no but who have come to rely on its taxpayer protections). It was a huge 200,000 vote margin. Under the court's theory, then, 100,000 voters voted yes, but 'mistakenly' voted yes (because of some magical hypnotism or voodoo, i suppose) when they would have voted no if only they had known 'the truth'. Unbelievably absurd.

As for Adam Kline, he is fantastic. The media loves conflict and he and I provide lots of it. But the reality is that when he looks at me, he gets angry because he sees himself. Same aggressiveness, bombacity, and media whorishness. Different political philosophy, sure (he wants government to have 100% of taxpayers' paychecks), but the tactics are identical. No, don't think for a second that I don't like and appreciate him and accept him as he is. What's not to admire about his aggressiveness and yes, rudeness -- civility is overrated. He believes in what he's doing and he's working the press to get his message to the people. It's the challenge we all face when dealing with a manytimes lazy press.

The problem is that his philosophy didn't have the support of the people (58%), his colleagues in the state house (91%) nor his colleagues in the senate (81%). Every Republican and probably 80% of elected Democrats, including tax-hiking Democrat Gregoire, voted against his philosophy.

I didn't call the special session, Democrat Governor Gregoire did. I didn't write the bill, his Democrat colleagues did. I didn't vote for their bill, his Democrat colleagues did. He called me names, but the reality is he really wanted to call Gregoire and his Democrat colleagues those names but that'd hurt his own party so he does some gratuitous Eyman-bashing to try to keep the D's base energized. Not a bad strategy if you think your base is stupid and won't recognize the hollowness of his tactic. But again, he's playing with the cards he's been dealt and making the best of it.

Posted by Tim Eyman, I-747 co-sponsor | November 30, 2007 11:51 PM

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