Initiative 1033 on this November’s ballot is Tim Eyman’s clone of a failed Colorado measure. It proposes to freeze state and local government programs permanently by limiting the growth of tax revenue to the current year’s spending plus a slight adjustment for inflation.
Any money over this year’s spending as adjusted will go into a special account to reduce property taxes. What Eyman hasn’t told anyone is that 40% of this special tax break will go to Washington businesses and corporations. That’s because the fund must reduce all property taxes equally. And currently 40% of property taxes are paid by businesses.
And of the remaining 60% in the fund only 65% of that will go to help homeowners who own their home. The other 35% of households in the state will not see any tax break or return on their taxes they paid. They lose twice because they also will not see any increase in public services as a result of their paying taxes over the baseline.
Initiative I-1033 is a complex measure that actually turns out to provide a special tax break to property owners at the expense of not providing public services.
If you collect tax dollars like sales taxes everyone pays does it make sense to use them to give a special tax break that benefits wealthy property owners at the expense of not providing public services like educating our kids or paying for public safety or having libraries open and parks open?
Colorado has tried Eyman’s proposed freeze on public services since 1992. Looking at how they now fund education will gives us a frightening glimpse of Washington State’s future if voters pass I-1033.
I came across the following website, www/teachersalaryinfo.com which graphically compares 5 different factors on teacher salaries across the country. The information below is taken from this website.
The average teacher’s salary in Colorado compared to median household income showed Colorado ranking 49th (with 1 being the highest) among the 50 states. An estimate showed that teachers in Colorado made about $32,000 below the median income.
Another graph showed Colorado teachers ranking 50th lowest in salary compared to other states. Washington State by comparison ranked 24th lowest – and we know the lack of funding currently in this state to raise teacher’s salaries.
Another graph shows Colorado’s average teacher salary compared to the median home price in Colorado as 44th lowest out of 50 states.
Is this the future for Washington State if voters approve I-1033? You can’t freeze education spending under I-1033 and expect that there will be any spare change to raise teacher’s salaries in the future. In fact because many public services like Medicaid and education increase in cost faster than the consumer price index adjustment in I-1033, cuts will have to be made to existing services as their costs rise faster than the consumer inflation index.
Colorado once ranked 35th in education spending. It’s now 49th because of this problem.
So you decide – is it more important to give wealthy property owners and corporations a special property tax break or help our children get a quality education by investing our tax dollars in them?
I think we’ll all lose if we don’t fund our educational system and have good teachers. How many teachers are going to stay in Washington State if we are competing with Colorado to see who can pay the educators of our children the least amount of money? Is this another Eyman brilliant idea or not?