Eyman loans vehicle tab campaign $500k

Activist trying again to get $30 car tab initiative on ballot, seeking signatures
By Brandon Gustafson | May 16, 2018
Tim Eyman

Tim Eyman is all in on his latest venture.

Eyman, a conservative political activist who lives in Mukilteo, announced last month that he is again pursuing a limit on car tab fees at $30.

Last week, Eyman announced he is loaning $500,000 to help get his campaign started.

“I’m not sure which is more accurate: I am committed or I should be committed,” Eyman said in a newsletter to his supporters.

Eyman said he’s hoping to get another $500,000 for this year’s signature drive, and to get his $500,000 investment back during next year’s potential campaign.

“To get the initiative on the ballot will cost $1 million,” Eyman said. “I’m in for the first half, (we) need to raise the other half to make it. After that, we’ll raise money for the campaign to pass it in 2019 as well as raise funds to retire the loan/debt.”

Eyman said the money was going towards his and his wife’s retirement.

“When I was in my twenties, after I’d graduated from WSU, I ran a successful mail order company where I sold fraternity watches,” Eyman said. “I squirreled away a lot of that money into investments like stocks and mutual funds, and it’s worth over $600,000 now.”

Getting car tab fees set at $30 is a passion of Eyman’s, a goal he has fought for on and off for the last two decades.

“I’m all in. All the chips are on the table,” he said. “I either walk away or do something pretty crazy. It’s something I really believe in. I’ve been doing it for 20 years.”

In order to get his initiative, Initiative 976, on the November 2019 ballot, Eyman and his supporters must accrue 350,000 signatures before the end of the year, something he was unable to accomplish in 2017.

In addition to setting tabs on all vehicles, including cars, trucks, RVs, and motorcycles, Eyman also said it would “protect the future.”

“I-976 guarantees that the only kind of vehicle tax they can impose in the future must be voter approved and must be based on Kelly Blue Book value,” he said. “In other words, they will only be able to tax our vehicles at what they’re actually worth (and only with voters’ permission).”

In a newsletter Eyman sent out at the end of 2017, he said the main reasons they weren’t able to garner enough signatures was he and his supporters didn’t raise enough money to hire paid petitioners, and they simply ran out of time.

“Last year, we didn’t make it on the ballot,” Eyman said. “I’ve been working on this for 20 years and I’m trying again. This year, we’ve got to be different.”

Not only is he kickstarting his campaign with half a million dollars, he’s also starting his campaign earlier than last year.

“The two key things are we’re starting three months earlier and we have $500,000 to start our signature drive,” Eyman said. “Last year, we didn’t start until July.”

Currently, Eyman is on an eight-city tour with fellow conservative activist Glen Morgan.

Saturday, May 12, the duo held a talk at the Snohomish County Courthouse in Everett, where 2017 Mukilteo Mayoral candidate Dan Matthews and Sen. Keith Wagoner of the 39th Legislative District were among those in attendance.

“Tim Eyman has been terrorizing politicians for 20 years,” emcee Charlie Crabtree said. “He’s saved taxpayers in Washington over $40 billion.”

“It’s fun to meet people who’ve supported us,” Eyman said. “I was born and raised in Yakima out on the east side of the state, and there’s definitely a different culture. Different values.”

Eyman said, as an activist, you’re always going to be the underdog, and that’s because the government has lots of power and is used to winning.

“That’s why you have to move faster than them,” Eyman said. “You have to be smarter than them.”

Eyman told the small group of supporters about his battle with getting car tab fees set at $30, including his first car tab initiative falling short in votes, and then his second attempt getting on the ballot and passing before, he said, “a court ruled voters were ‘confused.’”

“This is very personal for me,” he said. “My son was 6 months old the first time, and he’s grown up seeing his dad wearing funky shirts. Now, he’s 20 and is signing to get this on the ballot.”

Eyman also talked about an ongoing battle with Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who is suing Eyman.

Ferguson is accusing Eyman of profiting off of money donated to his initiative campaigns.

“Ferguson is suing me for $2.1 million and is seeking a lifetime political ban,” Eyman said.

Morgan said Eyman must be effective if he’s being pursued by Ferguson.

“Tim wouldn’t be getting sued by the Attorney General if he wasn’t effective,” Morgan said.

Crabtree earlier said Eyman has been “putting up with the Attorney General muting his Freedom of Speech.”

In Eyman’s newsletter, he said, “(Ferguson is) clearly trying to shut us down. One of the reasons I’m doing this is to show him that his witch hunt has only inspired me to fight even harder for taxpayers.”

Eyman also said this initiative would “hold governments like Sound Transit accountable for their lies.”

Eyman’s initiative would likely hit  Sound Transit’s finances hard.

In 2016, Sound Transit 3, commonly referred to as “ST3,” passed with 54 percent of the vote. This resulted in more than tripling the car tab tax in the region, which covers much of King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.

Eyman has until the end of 2018 to garner 350,000 signatures to get I-976 on the November 2019 ballot.

To get more information or to contact Eyman, visit voterswantmorechoices.com.


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