In wake of legal troubles, failed ballot initiative, Tim Eyman pivots to lawsuit against Gov. Inslee

Jan 5, 2022, 5:32 AM | Updated: 10:07 am
Tim Eyman (Photo by Toby Scott/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
(Photo by Toby Scott/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Anti-tax activist Tim Eyman has announced a new lawsuit filed in Thurston County Superior Court against Gov. Jay Inslee.

Why Tim Eyman’s $30 car tab initiatives keep getting struck down in court

The lawsuit asks the court to prohibit Gov. Inslee from issuing partial vetoes of legislation, specifically concerning a pair of bills passed in the 2021 legislative session. One regarded a provision in a bill Inslee struck down that would have set a goal to end the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2030. The other saw the governor veto part of a bill that sought to tie the implementation of new climate change legislation to the state’s transportation budget.

In 2021, the Supreme Court of Washington State affirmed a lower court decision, ruling that a partial veto from Inslee in a 2019 transportation budget bill had exceeded his constitutional authority as governor. Eyman cited that case as a reason to be optimistic concerning his newly-filed lawsuit.

Inslee’s office responded to the lawsuit in a brief statement to MyNorthwest, stating only that “the governor clearly acted within his authority,” and that his office “will respond in court.”

Eyman’s lawsuit comes days after he missed the signature deadline for a proposed ballot initiative that sought to invalidate Washington’s newly-implemented capital gains tax, and prevent the state — as well as individual cities — from imposing any future excise, income, or payroll taxes.

When the initiative was first introduced, Eyman indicated that the signature-gathering process would cost upwards of $2.7 million in donations to his Permanent Offense organization. Filings show that he fell well short of that goal, raising just $2,800 between September and November of 2021.

Eyman also remains in financial trouble with the state, after defaulting on a court-ordered $5.4 million settlement in a lawsuit where a judge found that Eyman had enacted a “scheme” to funnel kickbacks to himself through signature-gathering campaigns.

Tim Eyman defaults on payments to state stemming from lawsuit

As part of that ruling, he was required to pay out that amount in monthly $10,000 installments. After Eyman failed to submit those payments in September and October of 2021, a U.S. bankruptcy judge appointed a trustee to sell and distribute Eyman’s assets to cover the debt.

Both the push for his initiative and the announcement of his new lawsuit came paired with pleas to donate to Eyman’s legal defense fund.

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In wake of legal troubles, failed ballot initiative, Tim Eyman pivots to lawsuit against Gov. Inslee