Tag Archives: initiative 1033

Washington State Budget Deficit Now $2.6 Billion in the Hole

Bad news for Washington State continues as declining tax revenues now put the state budget deficit at $2.6 billion. The November forecast by the Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council projected an additional decrease of $760 million in revenue over the previous forecast.

This $2.6 billion deficit is the decrease in revenue projected through June 30, 2011 of the current biennial budget cycle. In a press release from the State Office of Financial Management Governor Chris Gregoire comments that:

“Since the Legislature left in April, our revenues have continued to decline …. Our projected shortfall for the remainder of the biennium is an additional $2.6 billion, for a total gap this two-year budget period of $11.6 billion. That’s almost a third of our last budget. We have not seen a shortfall like this in 80 years.”

In a transcript of comments by Governor Gregoire posted on NPI Advocate, Gregoire stresses the seriousness and severity of the shortfall and states that:

An all cuts budget is not the value of the people of the State of Washington. We must step up, do our responsibility to this State, and look for revenue to get the job done.”

This will not be an east task.  First off the Legislature will have to repeal Tim Eyman’s I-960 which requires the Legislature to pass by a 2/3 vote any tax or revenue increase or put it to a vote of the people. .  Under I-960 Eyman also required that the repeal of any existing tax exemption also required a 2/3 vote of the Legislature or a vote of the people. The Legislature needs to step up and do this.  The rejection of Eyman’s I-1033 should give Legislators the needed courage to act to address the state’s budget needs as voters overwhelming rejected Eyman’s budget freeze proposal.

The Legislature has rested any real tax reform for years. We have a regressive tax structure on the state level that relies heavily on sales taxes.  Last year some 54% of state tax revenue came from sales taxes.  But as noted by Dr Arun Rahna in the press release from the Office of Financial Management:

State revenues suffer when consumers hold back. The change in the revenue forecast is due mainly to a revised estimate of when households will regain the confidence to spend on the goods and services taat are subject to state taxes.”

Meanwhile Washington State is 1 of only 7 states that do not have an income tax. Yet the conservative Tax Foundation says that we rank 8th highest in the country in terms of income per capita.

As a result we have once again been ranked as the most regressive states in the nation in terms of our state and local tax structure.  In the November 2009 Report by the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy entitled “Who Pays?  A Distributional Analysis of the Tax Systems in all 50 States“, Washington State is rated as the most regressive state in the country.

As quoted on the Seattle PI blog Strange Bedfellows:

“The lack of a progressive income tax to offset regressive sales and excise taxes, as well as property taxes, is the most important factor in making the Washington tax system so regressive. Taxes ought to be based on people’s ability to pay them, which means that the share of income paid in tax should rise as income grows, not fall sharply as is the case in Washington,” said Matthew Gardner, executive director of the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy and the report’s lead author.

As the “Who Pays?” Report notes, in Washington State, the poorest 20% of non-elderly taxpayers pay 17.3% of their income in taxes, the middle 60% pay 9.5%, and the top 1% pay only 2.9% of their income in taxes. Unless this disparity is corrected, any tax increase by the Legislature, like raising sales taxes or property taxes will only increase the tax burden on lower income taxpayers.

It’s time for the citizens of this state and its political leaders to mount a real campaign for tax reform to correct the regressiveness of our tax system. Implementing a progressive income tax; while reducing regressive taxes like sales taxes; and either expanding the current Homestead Exemption now limited to low income seniors and the disabled or adding circuit breaker legislation to help low income homeowners and renters; are changes that need serious consideration and action.

The state is waiting for leadership. The question is who will step forward.  There is no better time than now to reform our tax system. If we don’t reform our broken system we can expect more measures like I-1033 to continue to fill this vacuum of leadership by progressives and liberals and those in the middle.

Eyman Sidekick Loses Bid for Spokane City Council

Periodically it seems one of the taunts made to Tim Eyman has been to urge him to run for office and then see how he would deal with the reality of his tax cuts and the public demand for services. Well this year, one of his principal sidekicks, Mike Fagan of Spokane did just that. And he lost decisively. It’s one thing to propose radical anti-government proposals like Initiative 1033. It’s quite another to have to stand for election yourself.

Mike Fagan ran for the District 1, Position 2 seat against Amber Waldref. Fagan is a co-director with Tim Eyman of Voters Want More Choices which has run a number of anti-government, anti tax initiatives, including this year’s  decisively defeated Initiative 1033, which proposed to freeze both state and local public services.

Amber Waldref is the Development Director of the Lands Council in Spokane. The Lands Council describes itself as a grassroots, nonprofit that has worked to protect the forests, water and wildlife on thousands of acres of public lands in the Northwest.

Here are the vote totals.

Amber Waldref…..6411…..62.72%
Mike Fagan…..3811…..37.28%.

Fagan lacked in the money raising department as well as the voting department.  Washington State Public Disclosure Records show that Fagan only raised $9,193 in cash and $2,749 in kind. He had a total of 53 contributions.

Meanwhile Waldref raised some $30,935 in cash and some $9,958 in kind. She had 277 contributions.

Interestingly Fagan did not report any contributions from Tim Eyman but he did get $500 from Michael Dunmire and $500 from Mrs Phyllis Dunmire of Woodinville. Dunmire contributed $300,000 to the I-1033 campaign and has been a long time contributor to Eyman and Fagan’s initiative campaigns. Besides the Dunmires,  Fagan also got
$2500 from Mrs Cynthia Zapotocky
$1000 from Monroe Court Limited Partnership
$500 from Leo Fagan
$500 from the Spokane County Republican Party

Waldref’s largest contributors were:
$4015 Inland NW Leadership PAC
$5000 from IAFF Local 29 Political Action
$2000 from Washington St Council of County and City Employees
$1000 from Avista Corporation
$1000 from Spokane Com. for Political Education
$500 from Don Barberi
$500 from Paul Brainerd

Initiative 1033  lost decisively in Spokane County, with the latest percentage No vote slightly above the state average.  The Spokane County vote was 70,729 (57.93%)  No to .51.373 (42.07%) Yes for I-1033.

A Plethora of Blog Posts AgainstTim Eyman’s Initiative 1033

We’ve written quite a few posts against Tim Eyman’s budget freeze Initiative 1033 over the last several months. You can check them out here:

Initiative 1033 is a Freeze on Public Services

Great Grassroots Video Telling the Truth About I-1033

Initiative 1033 Transfers Tax Burden onto Lower Income Taxpayers

A Better Way to Help Struggling Families than I-1033

Are You Ready to Play a Game of TimCity 2009?

Washington State on Path to Dysfuctional Government?

No on 1033 Releases First TV Ads

Initiative 1033 is Recycled Discredited Trickle Down Theory

Washington State Democrats Oppose Initiative 1033 and Support Referendum 71

The Joke is Eyman’s Initiative 1033

Initiative 1033’s Fatal Flaw

No on I-1033 Officially Kicks off Campaign

No on Initiative 1033 Campaign Releases Video on Colorado’s Experience

The Hidden Agenda to Radically Change Representative Government and Our Tax System in Eyman’s Initiative 1033

Realtors Vote to Oppose Eyman’s Budget Freeze Initiative 1033

Tim Eyman Thinks Voters are Dumb

Initiative 1033 Will Dig Us Deeper into Recession Economics

What’s Wrong with Eyman’s Initiative 1033?

A Better Alternative to Help Struggling Property Owners than Initiative 1033

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

A Warning on Initiative 1033 from California

Initiative 1033 Cuts $8.7 Billion from Public Services by 2015

Initiative 1033 – Abolishing Local Control of Cities and Counties

Initiative 1033 – Eyman’s Sugar Coated Poison Pill

Renters Beware! Eyman’s Initiative 1033 Will Rip You Off

Eyman’s I-1033 Says Paying Corporate Property Taxes More Important than Educating State’s Kids

Initiative 1033 Offers Taxpayers Free Lunch

Watch Video on Why I-1033 Would be Bad for Washington State

Why I-1033 Limits on Spending Growth Won’t Work

Eyman Continues to Use Erroneous Information to Support I-1033 Overtaxed Rant

Did Eyman Forget to Turn in all His Petitions for Initiative 1033?

List Growing of Organizations Opposing Initiative 1033

Tim Eyman’s Initiative 1033 Overtaxed Hoax

Tim Eyman’s Initiative 1033 Grassroots Joke

New Report Confirms Initiative 1033 Will Make Recovery Worse for Washington State

Initiative 1033 – Eyman’s Latest Wealth Transfer Scheme

Initiative 1033 Transfers Tax Burden onto Lower Income Taxpayers

Tim Eyman’s Initiative 1033 points out the difficulty of trying to write complex legislation and budget by initiative. Tax and budget issues are not simple and most people do not understand our tax and revenue system

Eyman proposes to freeze government services at this year’s level and transfer any revenue received over that limit to reduce property taxes.

I-1033 winds up being a wealth transfer scheme. On the state level, revenue to the current budget comes from several sources.

retail sales taxes 54%
Business & occupation tax 19.5%
property taxes 10.4%
real estate excise tax (on sales of homes) 4.1%
other 13.4%

Taxes come in from multiple sources but Eyman does not propose people get rebates for what they have paid in taxes. Rebates only go to property owners. Some 35% of households are renters. Sales taxes everyone pays.

This scheme shifts the tax burden to low and middle income taxpayers to only benefit people who own property including commercial property. The rebate is not proportional to the taxes above that anyone paid, only to the amount of property one owns.

I-1033 has people without property paying taxes for property owners. Renters lose twice by not getting any rebate or seeing their tax dollars go to fund services they need or could use.

I-1033 has many unforeseen consequences. Most voters can not understand what it does based only on reading a simplistic ballot title on their ballot. Even reading the initiative does not make it clear.

People would be wise to vote No on such a complex measure that in my opinion is not going to help them. A property tax homestead exemption on ones principal home makes a lot more sense. Eyman opposes that. Eyman’s scheme just transfers more money to people with lots of property.

For example Kemper Freeman who owns Bellevue Square gave Eyman $25,000 to get I-1033 on the ballot. He stands to see a $1.7 million reduction in his property taxes each year. You and I would be paying for that.

Vote No on I-1033 and keep Tim Eyman’s hands out of your pockets. Times are tough enough without transferring more tax burden onto low and middle income taxpayers or freezing government servies at their current recession level.

for more info see:


A Better Way to Help Struggling Working Families than I-1033

Tim Eyman’s Initiative 1033 claims to be helping “struggling working families and fixed income senior citizens” pay their property taxes.  Instead it is a wealth transfer scheme that takes sales taxes and other fees and uses them to only pay property taxes. It results in a tax shift putting even more of the tax burden on lower and middle income taxpayers.

Eyman claims I-1033 is the only constitutional way to reduce property taxes. Forget of course that property taxes are already limited by the Washington State Legislature enacting I-747 which the Washington State Supreme Court overturned.  That limits overall property tax collections, except voter approved levies, to 1% per year.  Also the Washington State Constitution limits the tax per property to 1% of its valuation per year.

Also forget that the conservative Tax Foundation in comparing all states for property tax burden found that Washington State ranked right in the middle at 25 out of 50 states.

To the constitutional issue, Tim as usual is only telling you part of the story. The Legislature has the power to provide special property tax exemptions and has done so for low income seniors and disabled people.


If Tim was concerned about seniors staying in their homes he would increase the Property Tax Exemption for seniors and the disabled and extend it to all taxpayers. It has an income threshold so that people that can afford to pay property taxes do and those that are on limited or fixed income can get help. The current senior exemption is a form of Homestead Exemption in that it covers only one’s principal residence.

This makes sense as there is no reason to give people a property tax break if they can afford a second home or vacation home or investment properties. Initiative 1033 takes the opposite approach in covering all real estate so that the more property you own, the larger your tax rebate.

Tim Eyman has said repeatedly that Homestead Exemptions and circuit breaker legislation are unconstitutional. That doesn’t make it so. It might be true if he wrote the legislation like the many initiatives of his that have been overturned by the Washington State Supreme Court.

However like everything else, there are ways to draft legislation that would pass constitutional muster. The key is that the Washington State Constitution says all classes of property must be taxed the same, meaning commercial and residential property get the same tax breaks. Most other states do not treat commercial and residential property the same.

Here’s one example of a solution that addresses this issue of constitutionality that would benefit both homeowners on their principal residence and small business owners. In the 2008 Legislative session HB 3162 was introduced with 24 sponsors. HR 3162 – Providing a property tax exemption for the first fifty thousand dollars of assessed value of commercial and residential real property.

The bill is short and the main text of interest here is:

“(1) Residential property is exempt from the state portion of the

property tax on fifty thousand dollars of assessed value.

(2) A commercial property owner may apply to the county assessor to

exempt fifty thousand dollars of assessed value for the state portion

of the property tax for a single parcel of property.”

Realize Tim is not looking for solutions to just help those most in need with their property taxes, he is trying to get voters to freeze state spending and spending by all 281 cities and 39 counties in the state and is using his property tax reduction scheme to get you to also swallow his freeze on public services by freezing spending at the current recession level. He is also not looking to help those less well off as he has opposed expanding the Homestead Exemption in Olympia.

Eyman’s property tax rebate scheme is the fatal flaw in I-1033 that should help defeat Initiative 1033. It takes sales tax dollars and other fees paid by everyone and gives it to just property owners. If you don’t own property you get nothing. You will still pay the same taxes as before. It is a tax shift that hurts low and middle income taxpayers, while greatly benefiting wealthy property owners.

It just is plain wrong to tax people that have no property and use those taxes to pay taxes for wealthy property owners, like those who have vacation homes or shopping malls or real estate developers or corporate owners. This is a reverse Robin Hood scheme – tax the less well off and use the taxes to pay property taxes for the rich.

Initiative 1033 is a just another  poorly thought out Eyman scheme that will hurt those who have the least  while benefiting the wealthy. Vote No on I-1033.

Are You Ready to Play a Game of TimCity 2009?

Tim Eyman has devised a new real life version of a popular game which he is calling TimCity 2009. Its rules are rather bizarre, but you had better read them now and decide if you like them, because Tim’s Rules will become binding unless you vote NO on Initiative 1033.

Here are the Rules to Play as proposed by TimCity creator Tim Eyman. They are hidden in the text of Initiative 1033, which you should read if you haven’t yet. But be aware that not all of the consequences or penalties of following Tim’s Rules are spelled out in the initiative text.

Your goal as an elected official is to try to maintain a functioning city despite Tim’s Rules, designed to limit your ability to provide public services.

Tim’s Rules apply to all of Washington State’s 281 cities. You can choose any one of these cities as your city to play the game because Tim’s Rules are the same for all 281 cities. Eyman also is proposing these same rules for almost identical versions of this game to be called TimCounty 2009 (39 counties to choose from) and TimState 2009 (Washington is the only state that can be played).

Tim’s Rules propose that you can run your city only with the amount of money in this year’s recession-era budget. You cannot use any previous year’s budget and invest more revenue into public services.

You also cannot restore any services lost due to the current recession or increase any other service unless you want to cut something else currently funded or go for a public vote. Public votes will cost you money from your budget.

Tim’s Rules say that in future years he will only allow your expenditures to increase by inflation and population growth. The inflation factor is based on a national consumer inflation factor, not one for Washington State so it may not track actual inflation in your city. It also does not track costs which rise faster than consumer inflation such as health care or needs created by development of Commercial or Industrial Zones. So in future years, you will probably have to cut some services due to their costs rising faster than this index.

Tim gets any future tax revenue above this year’s recession based baseline. He proposes to use it to eventually cancel out the property tax, the only major tax on wealth that our state, counties, and cities collect. Sales tax will continue to be collected at current levels but only property owners will get any of the money that Tim’s Rules prevent from being invested in services.

You can try to take some of this money away from Eyman but you must hold a referendum. Only some 65% of households in the state are owner occupied, so realize that when you hold a referendum Eyman will claim you are trying to raise their taxes by taking away their special property tax cut he gave them.

You will also have to pay for the referendum out of your existing city funds, so you’ll have to cut something somewhere to pay the election costs.

Eyman has the ability to oppose any referendum you propose. It is up to you to find people to support your referendum out of your own pocket because no city money can be spent on supporting or opposing a spending referendum.

Factors that affect your city budget include wild cards like a natural disasters, changes in crime patterns, an aging population, an aging city infrastructure, another recession, possible businesses leaving your city and an outbreak of infectious disease and other unforeseen and unbudgeted factors.

Existing services you must continue providing (if you can) include:

  • police and fire protection;
  • road repair and cleaning;
  • keeping libraries open;
  • maintaining utility services (water and sewer);
  • contracting for garbage, yard waste and recycling services;
  • maintaining public health and safety;
  • providing sidewalks;
  • earthquake response;
  • providing emergency medical response;
  • funding municipal courts;
  • maintaining air quality and clean drinking water;
  • maintaining parks and recreation facilities,
  • dealing with abandoned cars;
  • investigating code compliance;
  • enforcing building codes and zoning rules;
  • keeping community and senior centers open;
  • collecting taxes and bill payments;
  • scheduling and paying for city elections;
  • compensating city employees;
  • repaving city roads and filling potholes;
  • cleaning up graffiti.

Note that this not a complete list.

You must keep city residents and voters happy or you can lose your elected office. You are not allowed to give any additional public services to renters and senior citizens and working families who do not own property despite their continuing to pay sales taxes and other taxes at the same rate as now when the economy improves.

Their added taxes must go into Eyman’s fund to cancel out property taxes.

You also may not expand or modernize any existing services unless you get approval from the voters. You are not allowed to change the fact that a third of the “excess” tax dollars will go to help businesses and corporations pay their property tax despite the fact that they already get a sales tax exemption for goods they purchase wholesale or for resale.

You are also not allowed to alter the fact that property tax payments are not targeted to help those who need it most like low income working families or seniors on fixed income. It has to go in proportion to the amount of property they have, so large property owners will see the largest benefit.

Welcome to TimCity 2009. Good luck in providing adequate public services and keeping the residents of your city happy.

Hopefully the maker of a similar sounding game which is make believe, unlike TimCity 2009 which is proposed for real by TimCity Creator Tim Eyman in Initiative 1033, will not be angry for Tim’s name being Tim and rhyming with their name. Unfortunately Tim’s Rules do have a similarity with their game in that it says players can “Build, play with and destroy amazing cities with SimCity Creator”.

For more information on opposing I-1033 see:


Initiative 1033 is Recycled Discredited Trickle Down Theory

Tim Eyman’s Initiative 1033 is recycled, discredited trickle down economics mumble jumbo. He is pushing an economic theory that has no legs. I-1033 both proposes to cut state and local spending by freezing budgets and doing a complex tax redistribution scheme to use sales tax dollars and fees collected from everyone to help wealthy property owners reduce their property taxes.

The threat to the state and cities and counties is severe. Eyman unfortunately is using people’s fear of the recession and job loss to demagogue the public into believing that government is at fault for all their ills. In fact it was the lack of government oversight on the financial markets and financial institutions brought on by repeated less government is best for politics and business practice that brought us to this recession.

It seems to me that both Governor Gregoire and Senator Brown are missing the boat here regarding our state’s financial predicament with an additional $1 billion dollar shortfall being projected for next year. Whether or not there is a tax increase proposal will much more depend on the fate of Initiative 1033 than anything they say. And they are pretty much leaving the discussion to others.

Eyman’s simplistic approach to government and taxes is to do everything he can to eliminate them. He is only interested in pursuing trying to implement the long ago discredited trickle down economics theory that you reduce taxes on the rich and the public will benefit.

Eyman proposes to do this in several ways. One is to freeze the current budget under I-1033 at its current recession level and only allow adjustments for inflation and population. Unfortunately inflation adjustments at best only allow you to buy this year’s services next year at their inflated price. Any population adjustment for more people needing services isn’t really growth. It doesn’t increase the level of individual services, it only covers more people needing services.

But the real trickle down comes in his property tax rebate proposal which is really a wealth transfer scheme. Property tax rebates under I-1033 are not based on sales taxes or other fees one pays but only on the amount of property you own. Last year some 57% of state revenue came from sales taxes which everyone pays.

But not everyone owns property. Some 35% of households in the state are not owner occupied according to the US Census Bureau. So seniors and working families and other who rent will still pay sales taxes and other fees at the same level but will lose twice by not getting a tax rebate or see public services restored or increased when tax collections rise above the baseline.

Initiative 1033 only makes our current tax system more regressive by shifting the tax burden even more onto those who don’t own property who are usually also lower income. It takes an absurd position that somehow people who don’t own property should help pay the taxes of those who do.

Who benefits the most under I-1033 would be wealthy property owners because the rebate is not based on the sales taxes you pay but on the amount of property you own. The more property you own the more your rebate.

And in addition some 40% must go to commercial real estate. So large corporations, real estate developers, shopping mall owners and owners of apartment buildings benefit most. Most of the voting public is not aware yet that Eyman’s proposal commits them to paying the property taxes of Bellevue Square, Tacoma Mall, Bank of America, Boeing. Microsoft and Weyerhaeuser.

And the whole idea is based on trickle down economics, that somehow helping rich property owners pay their property taxes is a benefit to our society. Eyman says this is more important than paying for educating our children or providing health care for seniors and children, paying for additional police and firemen, cleaning up pollution, keeping Puget Sound healthy, keeping parks and libraries open, fixing our roads and bridges, more transit in urban areas, sidewalks and all the rest.

Initiative 1033 is a question of political philosophy and priorities. Eyman’s view is the selfish one, that all that matters is that people pay as few taxes as possible, regardless of their ability to pay or the need for public services. It involves no public commitment to the greater good but only to the philosophy that it’s everyone for themselves and the public be damned.

Hopefully the voting public will see the danger of Eyman’s lack of a caring public vision and his myopic of humanity that extends only as far as his pocketbook and no further.

The Joke is Eyman’s 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.

Initiative 1033’s Fatal Flaw

Tim Eyman’s Initiative 1033 does not give “refunds to taxpayers”. It is much more complicated than that. It is a wealth redistribution scheme that shifts tax burden onto lower income folks to benefit just those that own property.

Under I-1033, sales taxes and other fees will still be the same as before. Last year sales taxes accounted for 57% of state revenue. Everyone pays sales taxes but not everyone has property.

The conservative Tax Foundation notes that Washington State ranks 25th in terms of property taxes per capita but number 1 in terms of sales taxes. We have no state income tax yet rank 8th highest in income per capita. Overall the Tax Foundation says that we are in the bottom third of states in terms of state and local tax burden, coming in at 35th (with 1 being the highest)

Those who lose under I-1033 are renters; those who gain are wealthy property owners. You see the rebate Eyman proposes is not based on what you pay in sales taxes and fees but on what you own in property. The more property you own, the more you benefit. But not everyone owns property.

Senior citizens on fixed income and working families who don’t own homes lose twice; they pay the same taxes but get no rebate or see new or restored public services.

The US Census Bureau says last year that some 35% of households in Washington State are not owner occupied but rented or leased. If you want to reduce taxes do it fairly; like just cut sales taxes or property taxes.

But to shift the burden of paying property taxes onto people who don’t own property is ridiculous and unfair.

In addition some 40% of the property tax rebate goes to pay commercial property taxes. Yet businesses already have a sales tax exemption for goods they purchase for resale. Consumers pay the sales tax on the end product.

Property taxes already are limited to a 1% aggregate increase a year which in most years does not even keep up with inflation.

All in all, Initiative 1033 is a poorly thought out proposal. Read the initiative yourself before voting. It’s not as simple or straight forward as Eyman wants you to believe.


No on I-1033 Officially Kicks off Campaign

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.

# # #