Tag Archives: freeze

Kemper Freeman’s Shortsighted $25,000 Contribution to Eyman’s Initiative 1033

The Seattle Times today gives prominent front page coverage to Kemper Freeman’s long range plans at Bellevue Square. The article is in response to the opening of the upscale “The Shops at the Braven” only a few blocks away from Bellevue Square. A Neiman Marcus store is one of the new shops opening in the new retail shopping area.

Freeman is reported spending $40 million in a recent remodel of Bellevue Square. He has lots of money tied up in his real estate and that has to mean high property taxes. Was that his motivation behind his contribution of $25,000 on June 4, 2009 to help Tim Eyman get his signatures to get Initiative 1033 on this November’s ballot? After Michael Dunmire’s $300,000 contribution, Kemper Freeman’s is the second largest cash contribution to Initiative 1033. Michael Dunmire is a retired investment banker that lives in Woodinville.

Kemper Freeman’s contribution was given through his real estate development company – Kemper Holdings LLC based in Bellevue Washington.

From a civic betterment and community economic sense Freeman’s contribution makes no sense. I-1033 is will freeze all revenue spending by Bellevue, King County and the state of Washington at it’s current recession level. As the economy improves Bellevue will not be able to invest new tax dollars like from increased sales taxes in making improvements in the Bellevue community – no additional money for street repairs or sidewalks or parks or additional police or fire protection. Any expenditures above the baseline would require a public referendum.

But maybe Kemper Freeman is a cynic and sees I-1033 for what it is – a wealth transfer scheme from renters and low income working families and seniors that don’t have property but who will still pay sales taxes, to property owners to help them pay less property taxes.

Initiative 1033 disperses its property tax reductions from the fund Eyman sets up called lower property taxes fund into which any revenue above this year’s spending level goes. As the economy improves the property tax reductions increase.

State law requires all property to be treated the same. Some 40% of property taxes are for commercial property. The State Office of Financial Management has estimated that I-1033 will reduce state revenue by some $8.7 billion over the next 5 years.

Of course the more property one owns the more of a reduction in total dollars property owners will see. So Kemper Freeman will get a great return on his $25,000 investment if voters make the mistake of approving I-1033.

Maybe Kemper Freeman is not really concerned about renters and senior citizens and working families that own no property who will see no property tax rebate or new public services. After all how many go to Bellevue Square now to shop. The bulk of shoppers at Bellevue Square are higher income and property owners. If they see reduced property taxes Kemper Freeman will be providing them an upscale mall to spend their dollars at.

Call me a cynic but Kemper Freeman has no heart. It’s all about the money – his money.

Initiative 1033 Cuts $8.7 Billion From Public Services by 2015

Tim Eyman’s 1033 would cut public services by Washington State and its counties and cities by some $8.7 billion over the first 5 years it is in effect. This is on top of current cuts due to the recession we are in.

Because I-1033 would freeze public services at this year’s level next year plus a small adjustment for inflation and population it functions to continue our recession level spending and doesn’t allow for services cut to balance the budget this year to be restored even if the economy improves.. Such actions would surely contribute to continuing Washington State in a recession mode economy and we would lag behind others states in our economic recovery.

The fiscal impact of I-1033 has been determined by the Office of Financial Management to be almost $9 billion over the next 5 years. Specifically they said:

The initiative reduces state general fund revenues that support education; social, health and environmental services; and general government activities by an estimated $5.9 billion by 2015. The initiative also reduces general fund revenues that support public safety, infrastructure and general government activities by an estimated $694 million for counties and $2.1 billion for cities by 2015.”

Here’s the link to the original document -“Fiscal Impact Statement by the Office of Financial Management” so you can read it yourself.


I-1033 would use these funds to offset property taxes. Our current state and local tax burden per capita according to the conservative Tax Foundation ranks us as 35th (with being the highest). Our property taxes rank 25th. Our per capita income ranks 8th.

Using future tax revenue over the baseline to offset property taxes is an income distribution scheme that benefits those that own property but hurts renters and low income families and seniors and working families that do not own property. They will still pay the same taxes but they will see no rebate on their taxes or services that might have been funded with this money.

The big winners under Eyman’s I-1033 are big property owners, corporations, businesses, shopping mall owners, and real estate developers. I-1033 is a reverse Robin Hood scheme taking taxes paid by the poor and using them to pay property taxes for wealthy property owners.

Some 40% of this special interest tax break will go to pay commercial real estate property taxes. Only 65% of households in our state are owner occupied. So 35% of households will see no property tax rebate.

I-1033 is a poorly worded and complex measure that deserves to be rejected by voters. Vote NO on I-1033 this November 3rd, 2009.

Initiative 1033 – Abolishing Local Control of Ciies and Counties

Tim Eyman’s Initiative 1033 would wreck havoc on the idea of local control of cities and counties. Tim Eyman’s one size fits all measure would remove the authority of Washington State cities and towns to control their budgets and spending.

It would impose Tim Eyman’s legislative priority that the most important thing local governments can do, when the economy improves from this recession and more revenue comes in, is help large property owners, real estate developers, mall owners and other businesses and corporations pay their property taxes.

Initiative 1033 would not just deal with the Washington State budget and spending but also puts the same rigid freeze mechanism on spending in place for all 39 Washington counties and 281 cities. Any money above the current year’s spending level must be put in a “Lower Property Tax Account” for each city and county.

Gone would be the ability of elected city council members and the Mayor and county council members to decide how to spend any revenue that comes in above this year’s spending level. It would all go to pay property taxes for property owners in cities and counties.

Eyman says paying property taxes for property owners is a higher priority than restoring any services lost during the current recession due to decreased revenue. He says it’s a higher priority than making sure parks and libraries can stay open, than paying for police and fire protection, than fixing roads or providing public transit or providing health care or help for seniors and the disabled.

If you want to fund any of these programs beyond the current budget level you will have to go to a vote of the people to get approval. This will be the new way all cities ant counties (and the state) will have to operate. It will be budget approval by referendum.

Of course this won’t be free as elections cost money. And then there will be campaign spending for and against any increased spending. And sound bites and campaigning. It’s how California got into their budget quagmire, having campaigns waged for and against spending this or that.

Gone will be legislative deliberations and public meetings and input on budgets and spending. It’ll now be based on polling and politics.

This whole process of reorganizing how local governments makes decisions is the opposite of local control by local taxpayers. Rather than local voters deciding how they want to run their city and county, Eyman proposes that state voters should make this decision for all 39 counties and 281 cities.

This sounds like the worst of ideas, and if Eyman hadn’t stolen this idea from national supporters of TABOR type legislation and Colorado you would think he would be on the other side railing against big government running roughshod over local governments.

If cities and counties want to put this “budgets by referendum” scheme in place they should be able to decide for themselves, not have it decided by state voters. This is overkill and abusive having a statewide vote dictate how local public entities like Spokane or Yakima or Vancouver or Whatcom County or Clark County or Pierce County have to run their governments.

Voters should keep local control of their cities and counties and vote against I-1033 this November 3, 2009 . Keep Eyman from meddling in your local government’s business and vote no on I-1033.