Yet another stupidly conceived, stupidly written Tim Eyman initiative was tossed out by the courts last year, I-747, which capped the revenue growth from regular local levies at 1-percent a year. And now I hear that House Dems are stupidly caucusing today to discuss the stupid idea of reinstating I-747.
I’ll come back later with a more substantive post on the issues involved, but I just want to take a moment here to discuss the politics. I have been told by more than one legislator that there is a real concern that failing to reinstate I-747 would create the opportunity for Eyman to come back with an even more damaging initiative, thus reinvigorating his flagging career, and I just have to respectfully say that this is the most heads-up-your-ass, mind-numbingly backwards analysis that I have ever heard in my life.
If you are desperate to breathe new life into Eyman, go ahead and prove to the world that you fear him, by reinstating I-747. He’ll claim credit for your boneheaded, reactionary blunder, and the Capitol press corps will give it to him, because… well… he’ll deserve it. Hell… why not just abdicate your responsibilities entirely, boot Frank, and elect Tim as Speaker?
Or, of course, you could calmly explore the policy alternatives, impose a more reasonable cap of say, inflation-plus-population with a 4-percent max, and then address the growing regressivity burden by creatively passing a property tax homestead exemption or an income-sensitive circuit breaker.
And you know how Tim will respond? He’ll send out a couple of angry emails to a list whose most avid readers include a handful of email-weary journalists and some anti-Tim activists like me. Maybe Dave Ammons will quote him in an AP story. And that’s about it.
You see, in case you weren’t paying much attention, Eyman really hasn’t done much these past five years, his last tax-cutting initiative having passed way back in November of 2002. He has no organization to speak of, no grassroots, and apart from the deep pockets of Michael Dunmire, an anemic and ever-shrinking fund raising base that barely brings in enough cash to pay for mailing his many fund raising appeals.
The legislature has nothing to fear from Tim Eyman. He’s toothless. He’s a paper tiger.
No… I take that back. To call Tim Eyman a paper tiger would be to grossly overestimate his chance of delivering a political paper-cut. With his dwindling support and our shifting political climate, Tim is at most a toilet paper tiger… the soft, 3-ply, fluffy kind my grandmother buys, not that coarse, off-brand variety you find in the Capitol restrooms. Provoke Tim, and at most he might leave behind a political dingleberry or two. But come back with a killer initiative? Not likely.
So my advice to the House caucus is please… take your time and carefully evaluate all the implications of reinstating I-747 — the stupid political implications as well as the stupid policy ones. And please remember that Tim Eyman is a toilet paper tiger, so the last thing you want to do is feed him. No, you just want to wad him up, wipe your ass with him, and flush him down the toilet.