Let’s kick things off with what will surely be a regular feature as long as Tim Eyman remains a blight on our political landscape: The Lie of the Week!
I’ve chosen this introductory Lie, not simply because it is so easy to refute, but because it offers such a clear illustration of how a lying, thieving, blowhard like Tim Eyman uses the press to perpetuate his untruths.
I-892 (Tim’s “Slots for Tots” initiative) is “revenue neutral.”
The Liar’s Explanation:
All tax revenues raised from slot machines are used to reduce the state property tax, dollar for dollar. Thus homeowners get a break on their taxes, while state revenues remain unchanged.
Slot machines will draw consumer dollars from other taxable activities — including other forms of non-tribal gambling — and every one of these dollars represents a loss of state and local revenue.
Think about it. Throw your money away on pull-tabs (or buy your child a new pair of shoes,) and the tax on that transaction goes towards funding state and local government. But drop that same money down a slot, and it goes towards reducing the state property tax instead. Sure, some gambling dollars will be drawn away from untaxed Tribal slots, but fill our local communities with 19,000 slot machines — the most addictive form of gambling — and it would be nuts to assume the bulk of the revenues won’t come at the expense of other taxable businesses.
Now it didn’t take any research or a degree in economics to see through this lie: just a smattering of common sense. And yet, not a single reporter or editorialist has bothered to challenge Tim’s oft repeated “revenue neutral” assertion.
Instead, the media continues to play it’s lazy little game of “Eyman says,” whereby simply attributing a claim to Tim is apparently considered refutation enough.
Yes… we all know that Tim Eyman is a lying, thieving, blowhard. Oddly enough, this seems to work to his advantage in a media that just assumes all politicians lie and exaggerate, and thus apparently expects the public to view all politicians cynically by default.
But reporting what Tim says versus reporting the truth is a subtlety lost on the thousands of voters who sign his petitions and vote for his initiatives assuming they roughly do what he claims. There is a reason why Tim repeats his lies: they work.
Even if a journalist were to counter Eyman’s claim that I-892 is “revenue neutral” by including a quote from me that claims it is not, I still wouldn’t consider it balanced and accurate reporting. For it is not my opinion that I-892 is not revenue neutral; it is a fact, and the media should have the courage to report it as such.
Now don’t get me wrong. I genuinely like and respect almost all the journalists I have met. They are mostly dedicated professionals who are overworked, on deadline, and underpaid, (at least, in my opinion,) and are unfairly expected to be experts on everything.
So I hope they take my constructive critique in the spirit in which it is intended.
But as long as they continue to repeat lies like this unchallenged in the mainstream press, I will continue to expose them here. And that, they can quote me on.