As part of his evolution from grassroots activist to professional politician, Tim Eyman appears to have taken on the added role of almost-live blogger. He attends public meetings--announcing his arrival in advance--testifies, takes notes, and then reports the minute-by-minute action later in a mass e-mailing. He's been on a red-light camera jag, but taxes remain his war cry. His latest report, from yesterday's Lynnwood City Council meeting for example, begins with a 10:36 a.m. e-mail to council members and the media, announcing his plan to speak against a council proposal to hike car tab fees $20, graciously adding "I look forward to answering your questions" afterward.
At 6:20 pm, Lynnwood city council ignores the repeated will of the people and votes 6-1 to unilaterally jack up car tabs $20 per year per vehicle.
He said he had read his testimony aloud, telling the council that "just because Olympia has handed you a loaded gun doesn't mean you have to put it to your head and pull the trigger. Voters have very consistently said nothing higher than $30 for car tab fees unless voters approve."
I then extemporaneously said "Voters have been very clear about wanting to vote on higher car tabs and it's not a good reason for the Council to justify ignoring voters by saying 'but we really need the money.' After I spoke and as if on cue, Councilmember Ted Hikel said they really needed the money and so he was voting for it but indicated he supports asking voters to approve a sales tax hike later...
He recapped other council comments, and reported the final vote was 6-1, with Councilman Jim Smith the lone dissenter.
In case anyone didn't get the message, Eyman dispatched another e-mail at 8:27 this morning, with a timed-blow-by-blow of the Lynnwood "rampage":
Following their 6-1 vote at 6:20 pm to unilaterally jack up car tab fees $20 per vehicle per year, the Lynnwood city council went on a tax-hiking rampage. An EMS property tax levy passed 7-0 at 9:11 pm. 11 minutes later, they imposed a new business license tax on a 7-0 vote. Then after passing a new job-killing $15 per employee tax at 9:56 pm, they amended it on a 5-2 vote to make the tax $85 per employee (so they could kill even more jobs). At 10:17 pm, they imposed a new utility tax on a 4-3 vote. At 10:19 pm, they moved on to a new property tax and it went on and on and on.
The overwhelming approval of I-1053 to require a two-thirds legislative vote to raise taxes "reigned [sic] in state government's propensity to jack up taxes, but local governments apparently didn't get the message," Eyman says. As indicated by his on-the-scene recapping, however, they can now expect to be regularly reminded by Ey-mail.