Opinion

A new nickname for Tim Eyman | Mirror editorial

Like clockwork, initiative guru Tim Eyman once again pumps the press for more publicity.

Eyman's latest endeavor is I-1033, dubbed the "Lower Property Taxes Initiative." If passed, the initiative would require "the growth rate of general fund revenues be limited to inflation and population growth, while maintaining the same safety valve of voter approval for higher increases," according to Eyman.

For the average voter, this initiative and its summary might as well be written in Chinese. Mr. Eyman, these proposals should be easy to understand for ages 18 and up. Why leave it up to the media to figure out what your initiatives are all about?

On the surface, the initiative's nickname implies that residents win in the name of lower property taxes.

The Mirror simply calls I-1033 another attempt to micromanage government.

The Northwest Progressive Institute said I-1033 is "a cynical attack on our common wealth." The institute added that I-1033 would devastate Washington state's economy "by imposing artificial limits on how much money goes into our schools, police and fire protection, libraries, parks, pools, our transportation system, and every other public service the government provides."

Consider I-985, Eyman's last initiative, which failed at the polls in November. The "Reduce Traffic Congestion Initiative" tackled too much: HOV lanes, synchronizing traffic lights, roadside service and micromanagement of money cities earned from red light cameras.

By failing at the polls, that initiative still prevented congestion — of governmental efficiency.

The Mirror is awarding Eyman the unofficial nickname of Mr. Micromanage. We would prefer to say Mr. Justice or Mr. Freedom Expander or Mr. T. The "T" would stand for "Tough," as in one tough honcho arm wrestling Big Brother (bonus brownie points for wearing a mohawk and gold chains).

However, the moniker Mr. Eyman earned is Mr. Micromanage. Case in point:

1. The sound of saying Mr. Micromanage three times has a nice alliterative ring.

2. The name Mr. Micromanage is easy to understand. As a result, voters have a more memorable nickname to associate with these initiatives.

This new nickname is not an epithet, nor is it a term of endearment. The name merely reflects the perceived intentions of Eyman's recent initiatives.

Not all of Eyman's efforts deserve scorn. Go back in the direction of I-900, which passed in 2004 and gave the state auditor the ability to conduct performance audits. As a result, the performance audits revealed ways to save millions of dollars in taxes and even led to an investigation on the Port of Seattle.

The state's initiative process was intended for average citizens to "right any wrongs" with their government. Instead, the process has been hijacked by paid signature gatherers like Eyman, whose latest initiatives come across as cluttered and disingenuous.

Eyman and crew need about 241,000 valid voter signatures to get I-1033 on the ballot. According to one report, Eyman won't say how he'll pay for the effort or who will front him money.

The Mirror recommends Eyman apply his considerable intellect toward an initiative that truly sets us free. One suggestion: Fair funding for public education. That way, school districts such as Federal Way can stop groveling and filing lawsuits just to make ends meet. Eyman must stick to initiatives that shatter the shackles of government rather than complicate them.

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