If Tim Eyman calls a press conference, and no reporters show up, did he make a sound? Apparently not, for the most striking thing about the media coverage of Tim’s performance audits initiative was the almost total lack thereof.
Yesterday was the opening day of the initiative filing season, an event Tim has traditionally turned into an annual photo op… but this year, few reporters took advantage of the opportunity. Indeed, scanning the papers, Tim’s “I-900” received nary a headline and barely a mention in the wrap-ups of the day’s political events.
Of course, with the filing coinciding with the first day of the legislative session, and the GOP’s failed efforts to block certification of Christine Gregoire’s election, part of Tim’s failure to grab headlines was due to timing. But it is also due to the fact that Tim Eyman’s time may have passed.
In fact, the most press coverage an Eyman initiative got today was actually his four-year-old I-747. A group of environmentalists, social organizations and at least one county have filed suit to have the measure tossed out. [Lawsuit says I-747 violates state constitution]
I-747 is a particularly nefarious initiative because its impact is so gradual, masking from the public the enormous cuts projected out onto future budgets. I-747 limits property tax revenue growth to 1% a year… well below inflation, let alone growth in population or personal income. As revenues grow slower than demand for public services, these services are gradually cut. Without revision or repeal, many local taxing districts — particularly in rural communities in eastern Washington — face insolvency over the next few years.
Eyman claims the initiative was carefully drafted to avoid constitutional problems, but as usual, I tend to trust experts over lying blowhards:
Attorney Hugh Spitzer, whose firm has challenged many of Eyman’s initiatives, said it was clear after the initiative passed that there were constitutional issues that could be raised, but there wasn’t a group of cities and counties that wanted to spend the time and effort to litigate it.
If Hugh Spitzer says there are valid constitutional issues, then there are valid constitutional issues. Whereas if Tim Eyman says the sky is blue, I’d have my doubts.
Anyway, it’s nice to see Timmy on the defensive, and it’s unlikely we’ll see him recover any time soon. His newest initiative is a dog, and even if it wasn’t about to be obviated by a more reasonable legislative proposal, he still lacks the grassroots and financial resources to qualify it for the ballot. And now I-747, his most lasting contribution to our state of perpetual budget crisis, is under legal attack.
Tim has failed to pass an initiative two years running, and as his ethical scandals continue to outnumber his electoral victories, he will continue his inevitable slide towards political irrelevance.
Who knows, maybe next year, when the media fails to show up for yet another filing day press conference… perhaps I won’t even bother to blog on it?