That the initiative process has been used in Washington in the past ten years to run rough-shod over state government’s finances isn’t evidence that the initiative system is broken, it is evidence that initiatives are the territory of the rich. Regular people, folks not like Michael Dunmire, don’t get their ideas (or ideas they like) on the ballot.
Since the beginnig of Tim Eyman career, Dunmire has donated $1 million, almost totally to the Eyman initiatives blowing holes in the state’s taxing authority.
It should also be noted that Eyman’s scandals have finally caught up with him, at least in terms of his so-called “grass roots” support. Of the $593,000 he raised for Initiative 900, over $514,000 can from a single source: investment banker Michael Dunmire of Woodinville. All it takes to qualify for the ballot is a half million dollars worth of paid signatures, and with a deep pocketed sugar daddy like Dunmire, Eyman is virtually assured ballot access. But that won’t mean his latest $30 car tab initiative has popular support.
That initiatives supported by Dunmire make it on the ballot is not a reflection on the public will.
It is a cynical reflection that if you have enough money, you can get your idea on the ballot and control the debate. While it is impossible, even unconstitutional, to stop guys like Dunmire from supporting ideas with all the money in the world, you can allow the rest of us to shoulder up to him.
By making the bar of participation so high in the initiattive process (for example, large sized initiative petitions) that state is benefiting people who can pay the price over folks who can’t write $25,000 checks.