On Friday, donning celebratory T-shirts that said "Let the Voters Decide," Tim Eyman and his partner in crime, Jack Fagan, reportedly turned in more than 318,000 signatures to get Initiative 1185 on the November ballot. Eyman has nicknamed I-1185 "Son of 1053"—a reference to his Initiative 1053, approved by voters in 2010 by a 27 percent margin, which requires a two-thirds legislative majority or voter approval to raise taxes or create new ones.
If approved by voters, Eyman's latest effort will basically do exactly the same thing as its forerunner: make it hard as hell for legislators in Olympia to raise taxes. Eyman says the new initiative is necessary because state law gives the legislature the right to amend initiatives after two years with only a simple majority vote.
According to reports, officials have already started reviewing the signatures turned in by Eyman and Fagan, and in about three weeks should be able to say for certain whether I-1185 has gathered enough. (Initiatives generally take about 242,000 valid signatures from registered voters to qualify for the ballot.) But while it seems all but certain at this point that Washington voters will have yet another Eyman initiative to weigh in on this November, what may surprise folks is where the initiative's financial backing has come from. A glance at the Public Disclosure Commission website shows I-1185 has brought in $964,712.68 so far and spent $501,506.51. The initiative's largest contribution has come from The Beer Institute, which put $400,000 toward the cause, while BP and ConocoPhillips have each thrown $100,000 at I-1185. The Washington Restaurant Association and Washington Retail Association have also contributed.
Overall, businesses have contributed $604,866 to I-1185, while political action committees (PACs) have contributed $25,000. In in-kind contributions, the Association of Washington Business PAC has paid $185,000, and the Washington Beer and Wine Distributors Association has put down $100,000, for I-1185 signature-gathering.