Tim Eyman’s Initiative 1033 is still going down the drain by a decisive margin. The latest vote count on the Washington Secretary of State’s website has it 56% NO to 44% YES. Ironically its symbolically what Grover Norquist, the national anti-tax fanatic that Eyman emulates, wanted to do with government – reduce it to a size he could drown in a bathtub and put down the drain. Instead it is I-1033 going down the drain.
Grover Norquist, now with Americans for Tax Reform, had been the National Taxpayers Union Executive Director in the past. On October 28, 2009 the National Taxpayers Union filed papers with the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission for a political action committee they named “Taxpayers for 1033″. No money is listed as having been contributed to the PAC in Washington State.
Taxpayers for 1033 put up a website with a blog and news links and a donation page. At the bottom of the web page were the words “Copyright Yes ON 4 2009″. Yes on 4 is the name of a political action committee that was supporting an initiative similar to I-1033 in the State of Maine known as Question 4.
Both Yes on 4 and Taxpayers for 1033 were right wing efforts by the National Taxpayers Union to help enact Colorado style legislation to freeze public services, cutting off the use of any revenue above this year’s baseline spending for public services.
Question 4 in Maine was at last count also decisively losing by 60% NO to 40% YES; an even bigger number than preliminary numbers for I-1033.Voters in Maine defeated 2 previous efforts to enact TABOR measures in Maine. Question 4 lost by a larger margin than when it was on the ballot 2 years ago in Maine.
Like in Washington State, the people in Maine supporting TABOR raised very little money for the actual ballot campaign. Most of their money was spent on paid signature gatherers to get on the ballot. It’s pretty funny that these so called anti-government measures can’t even recruit enough volunteers to get on the ballot without having to pay people to collect signatures.
The defeat of these two measures should quiet down the right wing’s rabid thirst for killing taxes. They act like vampires, wanting to suck the life out of government services. But voters have seen the effects of the cuts and job loses on local and state governments due to the current recession and reject the notion that this is something government brought on itself. In Washington State this year severe cuts were made in public services without raising taxes.
Of course the National Taxpayers Union was hoping one or both of these measures would pass to keep their fundraising going by declaring taxpayer revolts at the state level. So far out of dozens of these measures on the ballot over the years, only Colorado voters have passed one.
What people actually see today is that it is the lack of government oversight that contributed to the current recession and if anything, know that unregulated financial institutions are more of a threat than paying taxes for public services used by everyone – like parks and libraries and roads and schools and health care and public transit and much more.
There is always a need for safeguards to prevent waste and to maintain a balance between taxes and spending but the public also knows and appreciates the value of the public safety net to help those needing help and the cooperative relationship between the public and private sector needed to keep a healthy community functioning. Freezing public budgets is not an answer to efficient functioning government. Neither is requiring future budgeting by repeated referendums by the voters.
Eyman threatens to come back with another initiative next year. No surprise here. Besides 1033, he has filed some 19 other initiatives with the Secretary of State this year. His multiple filings of initiatives are his attempt to score a favorable ballot title from the Attorney General as he changes a few words each time.
Here is a prime example of how a private interest, a business that makes money filing initiatives, is wasting public resources for private gain. He pays the state $5.00 to file an initiative, and forces state workers using taxpayer dollars to review the measures and come up with a ballot title and summary for each separate measure. One version of a measure is reasonable; 8 or 10 different versions with only a few words changed is not.
A higher filing fee would at least give some money back to taxpayers for the public costs involved. But another idea might be to do like Oregon does and require that before someone can get a ballot title at public expense, they need to also file a thousand signatures of registered voters as sponsors of the measure to show that they are serious about actually doing an initiative. .
People also need to take their time and read and understand what it is they are signing before they commit all of us to vote on poorly thought out measures like I-1033 again. Too many people sign initiatives based on phrases and slogans that really do not describe what happens if the initiative in question becomes law. Read before you sign and we will all be better off.
Eyman is dishonest about the actual impacts of I-1033 on this state and cities and counties. Eyman is in essence proposing repealing existing taxes; he is not allowing government to function as a representative democracy but wants to impose budgeting by referendum.
When the economy improves, sales tax revenues under the present system would go up. There is no increase in sales tax rates. Taxes are not being increased. More taxes at the same tax rate are being collected because of a more robust economy. We would have more revenue to reinvest in our cities and counties and state and restore some of the services lost due to the current recession.
But Eyman is saying anything above this year’s recession level of public spending is increasing taxes. This is false. There is an increase in tax revenue but it is not raising your tax rate. Eyman is pandering to people’s fears and misrepresenting our actual tax collection process.
He then says that by allowing for a slight adjustment for inflation and population he is allowing government to grow. This is also false. Public services per person are not growing; by adjusting for population, you have more people needing government services. And adjusting for inflation only means that you can buy this year’s services next year at their inflated price. Because a gallon of gasoline costs more for a fire truck next year and you adjust so you can pay the inflated price, you still only have purchased a gallon of gasoline.
Thus at it’s simplest I-1033 is a freeze in public services. But it is also reducing taxes by changing our current tax collection system and imposing an artificial limit on the amount that can be collected. Services are reduced because it is taking all money above this year’s recession level spending and saying it can only be used to cut property taxes.
Normally this increase in money from an improved economy would help funds schools and roads and parks and much more. But it would no longer be available under I-1033 without a public vote. This would institute a series of votes to budget by referendum, which is a costly and time wasting process. And Eyman knows it is more difficult to ask for this money once he has committed it to pay property taxes.
Eyman’s intent as always is to just reduce government and taxes without regard for that impact on the community. We’re not an overtaxed state compared to other states. The conservative Tax Foundation notes that we are in the bottom 1/3 of states in terms of state and local tax burden. We are 35th lowest (with 1 being the highest).
I-1033 isn’t needed and will severely impact state and local government’s ability to function efficiently and provide basic needed services. Vote No on this tax shift that mainly benefits rich property owners and locks us in a permanent recession.
Vote No on Initiative 1033.
Tim Eyman tries to make a joke of the concerns of people opposed to Initiative 1033. People opposed to I-1033 are concerned that Eyman’s budget freeze proposal will costs jobs in the state, cut health care and human services, reduce funding for educating our kids, increase costs to go to college, make it harder or impossible to keep parks and libraries open, reduce police and fire protection, decrease health coverage for seniors and children and much more.
People’s concerns are legitimate and Eyman’s response is to mock them. Eyman appeals to voters selfish side saying it’s more important to reduce property taxes for wealthy property owners than it is to provide any of these services or restore any public services lost due to the current recession. I think voters are smarter than Eyman wants to give them credit for.
I think Damon Agnos over at the Daily Weekly hits Eyman’s lame joke just right in his commentary entitled “Tim Eyman thinks he’s funny“:
“A real privilege of having a job at a paper is receiving Tim Eyman’s regular, rambling electronic missives, wherein he asserts that he’s just standing up for the little guy. One example of standing up for the little guy is pushing an initiative that would redistribute money from regressive sales taxes to big property owners as soon as state and local government pull in more than they did in this year’s recession. It’s a simple formula: when good times return, don’t invest the money in schools, public health, and public safety–give most of it to the Kemper Freemans.”
I think Damon has it exactly right on what I consider to be the fatal flaw that will bring down Initiative 1033. Initiative 1033 is a wealth transfer scheme, taking sales taxes and other fees paid by everyone and only using them to pay property taxes for wealthy property owners when the economy improves and more revenue comes in above this year’s recession baseline used by Eyman in I-1033.
Last year sales taxes accounted for 57% of state revenue. We have the highest sales tax in the country. Eyman says the one and only priority of state and local government should be to use any revenue coming in above the baseline to help people who own property pay their property taxes.
This is a drastic shift of what we currently would use any added revenue for – namely paying for police and fire protection, educating our children, funding colleges and universities, repairing roads and bridges, keeping libraries and parks open, helping businesses create jobs, protecting the environment and people’s health, providing health care for seniors and children and much more.
The fatal flaw in Eyman’s wealth transfer scheme is that not everyone owns property. Some 35% of households in the state are not owner occupied.
Our tax system is one of the most regressive in the country already. Now Eyman wants to have sales taxes paid by renters and senior citizens and working families without property be used to pay taxes for people who have property.
Even for homeowners it’s a rip off. The amount of rebate given under I-1033 is not based on the amount of sales taxes and fees you pay but on the amount of property you own. The more property you own, the more you benefit from I-1033. So someone with a vacation home or a McMansion will see more of a return than someone with a smaller single family home.
Also Eyman isn’t going to tell the public that in addition some 40% of the rebate has to go to commercial property owners. Businesses already get a sales tax exemption for goods they resell. Consumers pay the sales taxes. But the businesses would still benefit under I-1033.
So large commercial property owners, corporations like Boeing, mall owners like Bellevue Square and real estate developers will see larger benefits from I-1033.
That’s some joke for renters who will still pay the same in sales taxes and other fees as before under I-1033. Renters will both not get a tax rebate or see any services lost due to the recession be restored. They will also not see any new public services for the taxes they paid. But they would help pay Boeing’s real estate taxes.
Initiative 1033 is bad for our state and bad for taxpayers. Vote No on I-1033.
Last Thursday the No on I-1033 officially kicked off its campaign. Over 160 organizations have now come out against Eyman’s latest anti-tax, anti government measure that proposes to freeze state and local spending at this year’s level. It is copied from a similar measure that Colorado voters recently suspended as unworkable.
The campaign needs to hustle to get its message out because we are only several weeks away from ballots being mailed out. The campaign is waging an aggressive fundraising effort and has seen major business groups come out against the initiative, including the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce, The Washington State Realtors Association and Microsoft.
Businesses understand that Eyman’s radical proposal to freeze public spending hurts the economy and businesses as they depend on public money being spent for roads and transit and an educated base of workers in the state. They know there is no free lunch and that public money must be spent and invested to continue to provide a healthy business climate.
Here is a copy of their press release:
No on 1033 campaign kickoff highlights initiative’s impacts on business climate, economy
(Seattle, WA) – Today’s kickoff for the No on 1033 campaign highlighted the impact Eyman’s initiative would have on the state’s business climate and economy.
“Creating a job-growing economy requires investment in essential infrastructure, such as higher education and a safe and efficient transportation system,” said George Allen, senior vice president for government relations at the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce.
Education is vital to a competitive business climate and would suffer heavily under Initiative 1033. “Initiative 1033’s cuts would extend deeply into our classrooms,” said Mike Ragan, vice president at the Washington Education Association. “This would harm our students and the strength and expertise of our future workforce.”
Beyond impacting the overall business climate, I-1033 would mean lost jobs in critical industries, like health care.
“I-1033 would devastate hospitals and health care and result in the loss of thousands of jobs in the state,” said Chelene Whiteaker, policy analyst at the Washington State Hospital Association. “Hospitals and the patients they serve cannot afford Tim Eyman’s initiative.”
I-1033 would lock in state, county and city expenditures at today’s recession-era levels and limit annual increases to a rigid formula based on population growth and inflation. The nonpartisan OFM estimates that this would reduce state revenue $5.9 billion and city and county revenues by $2.8 billion by 2015. Cuts of this magnitude would cripple the state’s ability to support education and transportation infrastructure – critical building blocks of a strong business climate.
This incredibly devastating impact on Washington State’s business climate is one of the reasons behind the size and diversity of the coalition behind the No on 1033 campaign, which includes some of the state’s largest business organizations and labor groups.
# # #
Eyman’s Initiative 1033 will dig us deeper into recession economics over the coming years. In a newly released policy brief by the Washington Research Council on Initiative 1033, details are provided on the serious negative impacts of I-1033 over the next several budget cycles.
Eyman likes to talk about how I-1033 limits growth and points to a graph showing how state revenue will continue to increase. What this graph does not show is how this revenue projection is below the money needed to sustain the state budget in a maintenance mode. I-1033 is not just a freeze on public services; it will contribute to a deepening recession and loss of more services and jobs for our state.
As the Washington Research Council notes, current projections show the state budget for 2009-2011 having a negative balance of $195 million. I-1033 would increase the budget shortfall to $871 million. This is for a maintenance budget- no new programs.
The impact on the 2011-2013 state budget is even worse. Here’s what the Washington Research Council says the Impact on the 2011 -2013 State Budget would be:
Even without passage of I-1033, the budget outlook for 2011–13 is grim. While the 2009 legislature did make substantial real cuts in spending, it also relied heavily on onetime money to balance the 2009–11 budget. Incorporating the June forecast, general fund spending for the biennium exceeds revenues by $1.4 billion. In addition, $2.5 billion in federal stimulus funds are being used to sustain programs that would normally be funded through the general fund. For 2011–13 these programs will shift back to the general fund.
Using OFM’s revenue growth assumptions, general fund revenues are expected to grow by $3.5 billion from 2009–11 to 2011–13.
We have yet to see projections of “maintenance-level” cost increases for 2011–13. Looking backwards, the maintenance level increase for the 2007-09 biennium was $1.4 billion, while the maintenance level increase for 2009-11 was $2.1 billion.
With a $1.4 billion maintenance level increase, the budget gap for 2011–13 would be $1.8 billion; with a $2.1 billion maintenance level increase the gap would be $2.5 billion. I-1033 would expand these gaps to $3.8 billion and $4.5 billion, respectively.
The word grim is bad enough. I-1033 will make our future even more grim. I-1033 results in increased negative growth in the state budget as well as for the budgets of all 281 cities and 39 counties.
Things are bad enough as they are. Why would we want to make them worse? Vote NO on I-1033! Eyman’s anti-government, anti-tax initiatives are like a car with a broken transmission that only works in reverse. I-1033 is a bad idea. Just say No!
What’s wrong with Tim Eyman’s Initiative 1033 which is on this November’s Washington State ballot? Plenty. It a complex measure that proposes radical changes in our form of representative government and in our state’s tax policies.
We are in a recession and Tim Eyman is proposing that state and local government should permanently freeze state and local spending at this year’s level. Eyman is in some imaginary world where all that seems to matter is keeping his initiative business going.
Times are tough for many people and businesses and we don’t need to make things worse. Thousands of jobs have been lost in our state and we have cut billions is spending for local services and statewide for things like health care and education.
As the economy starts to improve Eyman says we should not reinvest in public services and restore those we have lost but instead should help property owners pay their property taxes. This is a radical restructuring of priorities for state and local government. Eyman says this is more important than educating our children, providing help for seniors to stay in their homes, repairing roads, keeping parks and libraries open, having adequate police and fire protection, cleaning up Puget Sound and all the rest of the things government has worked on.
You see this is where Tim and I differ. It seems he has never met a government he liked and loathes taxes. I don’t like to pay taxes any more than anyone else but I realize there is no free lunch. I view taxes as a necessity to maintain the livability of our communities and keep our economy going.
The national conservative Tax Foundation says that Washington State ranks 35th (with 1 being the highest) in terms of state and local tax burden. They rank us 25th in terms of property tax burden per capita. We rank 8th in terms of income per capita. We are one of only 7 states without a state income tax. We rank number1 in terms of sales taxes but Eyman I-1033 doesn’t reduce sales taxes. You can check out these figures yourself at http://www.taxfoundation.org/files/sr163.pdf.
I-1033 proposes to end the form of representative government we have and replace it with “budgeting by referendum.” Eyman asks what’s wrong with that. It’s been answered before but he isn’t listening. Budgeting by referendum is what California has been doing for years. It’s why they are in a much worse mess than Washington State.
Budgeting by referendum means holding numerous elections. Elections cost money and impose significant time delays in planning. Based on the low turnout in our recent primary, voters already seem to be fatigued just trying to figure out candidate’s positions, let alone many possible budget issues that I-1033 could add.
As as example, how many people have read the text of I-1033? That’s just one issue with huge budget implications, yet most people will vote for or against it without reading it. I suggest you try reading it and explaining to someone else what it does. Here is a link to the initiative http://www.secstate.wa.gov/elections/initiatives/text/i1033.pdf
How many other issues do you think the average voter has time to read and understand? That’s why we have representative government, so we can elect people to devote the necessary time to understand the issues and budget needs and make decisions to benefit the community.
But the other radical change I-1033 impose is a reverse Robin Hood scheme of transferring tax dollars from those less well off to the wealthy. Everyone pays sales taxes yet not everyone benefits from I-1033. You get nothing if you are a renter or a senior citizen or working family if you don’t own property. You will still pay the same sales taxes under I-1033 but you will not see any tax rebate or increased public services under I-1033
Commercial real estate gets 40% of the property tax benefit under I-1033. Large corporate property owners, shopping malls and real estate developers will see the greatest benefit. Large homes and owners of vacations home and second homes get more of a break because the more property you own the more benefit you get under I-1033.
So I-1033 is really a scheme to tax the poor and less well off to help pay property taxes for wealthy land owners. Sales taxes last year represented some 57% of state revenue. But I-1033 does nothing to reduce these taxes and others renters pay.
Colorado tried a similar budget freeze scheme and found it was a loser for the public as public services declined each year. They recently voted to suspend the measure. We don’t need to repeat Colorado’s failed experiment here to know it will be bad for our state. Vote No on I-1033 this November 3, 2009!
Tim Eyman’s I-1033 purports to help property owners pay property taxes. A big question of course is who should we help. Should we help everyone pay their property taxes – like people who own a second home and/or corporations like Boeing that owns property?
Or should we help those that need help most – like senior citizens on fixed incomes or struggling working families trying to make end meet that have a principal residence they live in.
Eyman’s I-1033 says we should help everyone including businesses and corporate property owners and shopping malls like Kemper Freeman’s Bellevue Square and real estate developer’s and homeowners with second homes and vacation homes. I-1033 says that should be the top priority of any tax dollars that come into the state and city and county as new revenue above this year’s recession baseline set by Eyman becomes available as the recession ends.
This one and only use of these tax dollars now becomes a function of government – to support a transfer of tax dollars collected from everyone and used to then benefit property owners only.
Renters and senior citizens and working families that own no property will continue to pay taxes under Initiative 1033 and will get no property tax rebate or see any new services. This will further increase unfairness in our tax code and institute a reverse Robin Hood program of taxing lower income people and giving it to higher income people in the form of reduced property taxes.
Eyman is trying to institute a scare campaign for property owners about how their taxes are out of control.
Yet this isn’t the case. The Tax Foundation says that in terms of property taxes paid per capita in this state we rank 25th (with one being the highest)out of the 50 states. We also rank 8th in terms of income per capita. Overall our total state and local tax burden ranks us 35th (with 1 being the highest) out of 50 states.
If it’s seniors we want to help, the best solution is to raise the senior property tax exemption and help those most in need. You can click here to read more about the Senior Property Tax Exemption which also covers disabled people.
Or if you’re concerned about people being taxed out of their homes then you should be supporting a Homestead Exemption like some 38 other states have.
Eyman says this can’t be done because you have to tax commercial and residential property equally. This isn’t strictly true because the senior exception is a form of a Homestead Exemption that legal and exists because the Legislative can make exemptions to the uniformity issue.
But even considering the uniformity issue it’s easy to treat both commercial and residential real estate the same by just providing the same exemption for business and homeowners. HB 3162 did just that in the 2007-2008 Legislative session. It had 24 sponsors. HB 3162 was labeled “Providing a property tax exemption for the first $50,000 of assessed value of commercial and residential real property.”
Such a simple answer, helping both home owner’s not being taxed out of their principal residence and also helping small businesses with their principal business location. Equal and fair. Reasonable.
I-1033 IS INSTEAD A WEALTH TRANSFER SCHEME TRANSFERRING SALES TAXES AND OTHER REVENUE TO HELP LARGE PROPERTY OWNERS PAY LESS TAXES. The state says it will total almost $9 billion over 5 years.
Strange how helping large corporations pay their property taxes is more important than helping kids go to college or paying teachers a decent wage or keeping our libraries and parks open for the public or hiring more police or helping seniors stay in their homes because this is the choice in a nutshell.
I-1033 rather than just trying to reduce property taxes directly for those that need help, instead provides a special tax break that mainly benefits large property owners. It would transfer huge amounts of tax dollars that would have been collected from everyone to support public services like health care and Medicaid and parks and transit and sidewalks to do this. It’s a crazy scheme that is ridiculous in it’s implementation and absurdly complex.
I-1033 is a complex measure and will result in a huge change in our present tax structure. It will further erode fairness and deprive our state of needed investments in our community. It provides a special property tax exemption that benefits the wealthy at the expense of those less fortunate.
Vote No on Initiative 1033. Keep Tim’s selfish and greedy hands out of our pockets. Tell Tim NO DEAL. JUST VOTE NO ON INITIATIVE 1033 THIS NOVEMBER 3, 2009!
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.
In an article by Peter Schrag about California in 1996 we get this following warning on approving Eyman style measures that put unnecessary restrictions on representative government:
“…ever since the passage of Proposition 13, the mother of all latter-day tax revolts, in June 1978, the state has been locked into a vicious cycle in which each plebiscitary reform, by either mandating or prohibiting certain policies, has sharply reduced the discretion of elected officials. This, in turn, has made it still harder for local and state government to respond to new problems, thus bringing still more pressure for extraordinary ballot measures.”
This process continued and we see the mess it put California in.
You can read the full article here:
Tim Eyman’s Initiative 1033 on the November ballot is proposing a radical restructuring of how Washington State’s 39 counties and 381 cities and the State Government should operate. Eyman is proposing abolishing having state legislators and city councils and county councils make budget decisions above an arbitrary spending level based on this year’s recession budget. He would turn over decision making above the current level to a referendum process where voters would be the only ones to make decisions.
Budget making by referendum costs money because elections cost money. And elections are influenced by campaigning and sound bites and slogans and money. Just how much more complicated do we want to make the process of deciding local budgets and spending?
I -1033 is not a simple measure. This aspect of abolishing local control by cities and counties and deciding where tax revenue should go repeated referendums is a strong reason to vote against Tim Eyman’s I-1033.
Voters need to understand I-1033 proposes radical change in the way cities and counties would function. I-1033 says reducing property taxes for property owners is more important than anything else, than police and fire protection, schools, parks, libraries, health care, our courts, clean drinking water, garbage control, gangs, community centers and on and on.
The only thing any tax dollars raised over this year’s recession spending limit can be spent for is for helping property owners. Forget that renters and seniors and working families that don’t own property will still pay the same amount of taxes under I-1033 as they do today; however they will get no property tax rebate and no new services either. They lose twice.
Welcome to anti-tax and anti-government Tim Eyman’s world. Press escape (vote No) to get back to the real world.
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.
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