When Washington voters overwhelmingly approved a state constitutional amendment 107 years ago that established the right of the people to directly make laws through the initiative process, they likely did not imagine that someone would one day build himself a lucrative career by promoting new ballot measures election after election. But someone has done that and his name is Tim Eyman.

For decades, Eyman has been dreaming up initiatives, most aimed at cutting taxes. He doesn’t always win and, more often than not, when he does win, his dubious schemes are struck down by the courts or neutered by the Legislature. Win or lose, though, Eyman his work has given him a very comfortable and steady income. It has also landed him in court facing charges of campaign finance law violations.

Eyman’s presence is very much in evidence on this year’s ballot. Initiative 976 is his latest attempt to scale back state car tab fees to $30. If passed, the funding cut promises to create chaos in the funding of all kinds of transportation projects across the state. In addition to that opportunity to unleash fiscal havoc, voters are also being asked to weigh in on a dozen spending measures that have already been passed by the legislature; this, thanks to a previous initiative pushed by Eyman.

Unlike I-976, those 12 advisory votes have no legal consequence. They simply give voters a chance to vent their unfocussed rage at government spending, which, other than ensuring that Eyman never has to seek more productive employment, is pretty much the central purpose of every Eyman initiative.

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