Tag Archives: No on 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

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:


Washington State on Path to Dysfunctional Government?

The Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court this past weekend denounced his state’s overuse of the referendum process, stating that it has made California’s state government “dysfunctional“.

Similarities in the issues he raises arise with repeated Eyman initiatives, like I-1033, here in Washington State.

As reported in the New York Times, Chief Justice Ronald M George

denounced the widespread use of the referendum process to change state laws and constitutions. And he derided California as out of control, with voters deciding everything from how state budgets are spent to how farm animals are managed.

The state is unusual, he said, because it prohibits its Legislature from amending or repealing many types of laws without voter approval, essentially hamstringing that body — and the executive branch.

Justice George’s remarks come at a time of severe budget crisis in California stemming from a variety of factors, including mandates from ballot initiatives …

Justice George said that perhaps the “most consequential” impact of the referendum process is that it limits “how elected officials may raise and spend revenue.” He added, “California’s lawmakers, and the state itself, have been placed in a fiscal straitjacket by a steep two-thirds-vote requirement — imposed at the ballot box — for raising taxes.”

He added: “Much of this constitutional and statutory structure has been brought about not by legislative fact-gathering and deliberation, but rather by the approval of voter initiative measures, often funded by special interests. These interests are allowed under the law to pay a bounty to signature-gatherers for each signer. Frequent amendments — coupled with the implicit threat of more in the future — have rendered our state government dysfunctional, at least in times of severe economic decline.”

Similarities between the issues he raises about California and our situation here in Washington State are pretty obvious.

Previously voters passed Initiative 960 which requires a 2/3 vote of the Washington State Legislature to raise taxes or a vote of the people.
Initiative 960 even considers repealing special interest Tax Exemptions as raising revenue and requiring a 2/3 vote. So we’re not even able to just take a majority vote to repeal Tax Exemptions which aren’t working.

A 2/3 vote of the Legislature is needed to change an initiative for the first two years after it is enacted. Next Legislative session in January will mark the end of two years and I-960 can be changed with a simple majority vote.

But if I-1033 passes, it would put in that place that public votes would be required to raise taxes. Eyman’s Initiative 1033 does not just deal with freezing the state budget but also that of all 39 counties and 281 cities. For another two years this requirement could only be overturned by a 2/3 vote of the Legislature.

Any revenue increase by cities, counties or the state above Eyman’s recession level budget freeze would require a vote of the people despite whatever changes are made to I-960.

All this sounds like and is leading us down the road to California’s dysfunctional governing process that the California’s Chief Justice warns the public about.

Washington voters need to realize that Eyman’s straight jacket approach to government is lunacy and destined to make things much worse in Washington State. Vote No on I-1033.

No on 1033 Releases first TV Ads

Press release today from No on 1033 Campaign.

No on 1033 releases first ads of general election
Ads highlight how I-1033 would impact seniors, classrooms, students

(Seattle, WA) – The No on 1033 campaign today released the first two television ads of the state’s 2009 general election. The ads highlight how I-1033 would worsen the health care crisis for Washington’s seniors and damage its schools. The ads also highlight how a very similar Colorado law, suspended by voters in 2005, resulted in crowded classrooms, underfunded schools and reduced health care for kids and seniors.

You can view the ads here:

Ad #1 – I-1033 worsens health care crisis:

Ad #2 – I-1033 hurts Washington’s classrooms and kids:

Both ads show how I-1033 would cause today’s tough times to become even worse, especially for seniors and students. The initiative’s limits on spending and revenue would lock in this year’s budget, making recessionary cuts permanent, and force even deeper cuts in the future.

“Seniors would be among those hardest hit by Initiative 1033,” said Doug Shadel, state director of AARP Washington. “Initiative 1033 would worsen our health care crisis and make it harder to dig out of this recession.”

This year’s budget forced the state to drop approximately 35,000 people from Basic Health, make deep cuts to hospitals and community health clinics, and slash support for seniors and people with disabilities.

“With our aging population, we need more health caregivers in hospitals and nursing homes, not less,” said Leo Greenawalt, president of the Washington State Hospital Association. “But the cuts from Initiative 1033 would result in losing these valuable caregiver jobs, something our seniors and local economies can’t afford.”

Hundreds of millions were cut from public schools and an additional $500 million was cut from higher education. As a result, as many as 3,000 teachers, librarians and other educational employees are facing layoffs while districts are cutting programs, like art, music and sports, and bus routes. Colleges are reducing staff and course offerings while increasing tuition by nearly 30 percent over two years.

I-1033 would make these recessionary holes impossible to fill and guarantee more cuts in the future, even as the economy recovers. The nonpartisan Office of Financial Management estimates that I-1033 would reduce revenues that support education, health care and other services by $5.9 billion over the next five years.

“Initiative 1033 would jeopardize our classrooms and students,” said Mary Lindquist, president of the Washington Education Association. “Initiative 1033 will make it harder for our students to receive a quality education and succeed in school.”

Both ads show how I-1033 is a proven failure and illustrate some of the damages a very similar law did to Colorado’s seniors and students. Under the law, Colorado fell to 49th in K-12 spending, and, as a result, ranks near last among states in high school graduation rates. Colorado suspended the requirement that children be fully-immunized before being enrolled in school, because there were not enough state funds to buy vaccines. Colorado’s proportion of low-income children without health insurance doubled, even as more children in other states got health insurance.

Both ads will run on cable and network television in Spokane and Seattle media markets, and on cable in the Vancouver media market.
For immediate release
Scott Whiteaker (No on 1033), 206-303-9716

The following are available to comment on I-1033’s impacts to health care, seniors and education:

Cassie Sauer (WSHA), 206-216-2538

Jason Erskine (AARP WA), 1-866-227-7457

Rich Wood (WEA), 253-765-7042

Go to the No on 1033 campaign website to sign up to oppose I-1033, to volunteer to help and to make a donation to help get the TV ads out.

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.

# # #

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

Voters beware. You’re advised to read Initiative 1033 before you vote. It is not as simple a measure as Tim Eyman wants you to believe it is.

Initiative 1033 proposes to radically alter our system of local control of government for our 39 counties and 281 cities in Washington State as well as our state government.

Initiative 1033 would impose a virtual freeze on all spending above this year’s recession level. It would require that all future spending of tax revenue above this year’s level would require budgeting by repeated referendum.

Initiative 1033 radically changes Washington’s current tax policies by putting more of the tax load on lower income taxpayers.

You see Tim doesn’t trust us to elect our own representatives to run our cities and our counties. He obviously doesn’t think voters like you have made the right choices in electing our current public officials. And he doesn’t trust you to vote “right” in the future.

So he proposes to change the rules for everyone. His cynicism of the way we currently do things is because he thinks everyone should believe as he does that our locally elected officials are not capable of making the right decisions. The right decision of course is that the best government is the smallest one and the one that taxes the least. One size fits all he says. It says nothing about local needs and priorities. And the only state which has adopted a measure like I-1033, Colorado, recently suspended it because it drastically reduced public services and cost taxpayers a lot more money out of their pockets.

Tim wants to take away all powers of our local elected officials to make any more budget decisions above the current level of spending. He says that budgeting by referendum is the answer for every city and county in the state.

Elections cost money and are not a quick way or efficient way to approve budgets. Budgeting by referendum opens us up to more campaigning and decisions made by slogans and sound bites and campaign money.

Are you and your neighbors ready to take on this new civic responsibility? Our lives are already pretty busy just working and taking care of our families. We’ve had representative democracy since our country was founded; electing people to make the business decisions every day that are needed to keep our communities livable and financially sound. I do not see any crisis that demands such a radical change as Eyman proposes.

Under I-1033 any tax dollars above the baseline will be rebated to property owners if the public does not vote. One immediate problem is that not everyone owns property but we all pay sales taxes which last year made up 57% of our state revenue.

So if you are a senior citizen or a working family and you don’t own property, under Initiative 1033 you’ll still pay the same taxes as before but you’ll see no tax rebate or increased public services. Some 35% of Washington households are occupied by renters according to the US Census Bureau.

There are additional problems with this wealth distribution scheme that Eyman proposes. The amount of rebate that you get is not proportional to the sales taxes or other fees you pay but to the amount of property you own. So the more property you own the larger your rebate.

But wait, did Tim also tell you that first some 40% of the rebate must go to pay commercial property taxes. Businesses already have a tax exemption on paying sales taxes on things they buy for resale. But they’ll still benefit under I-1033.

That’s because Tim says that when more revenue comes in as the economy improves the one and only thing it should be used for is to pay property taxes unless voters vote for something else. The voting process is intended to a another hurdle to make it more difficult for communities to provide public services.

Eyman says that that helping businesses and wealthy property owners pay their property taxes is more important than restoring any public services and jobs cut as a result of the current recession, or providing more money for schools or repairing roads or keeping parks and libraries open or hiring new police or fireman or investing in new infrastructure or helping seniors stay in their homes or paying for health care for seniors or children.

Also keep in mind when you consider Initiative 1033 that Tim is misrepresenting our state and local tax burden to to make you think we are severely overtaxed. He says in the voters pamphlet that we are the 8th highest taxed state in the country. What he doesn’t tell you is that this number includes your Federal taxes which I-1033 doesn’t change. Being 8th including Federal taxes is not surprising in that we are the eighth highest state in terms of income per capita.

The real tax ranking to consider is that done by the conservative Tax Foundation that actually says we rank 35th lowest (with 1 being the highest) in terms of state and local tax burden. They rank our property taxes as 25th lowest. We rank number 1 in sales taxes which I-1033 does not change.

You can read their analysis here. Tax Foundation Study

The final decision on I-1033 ironically is that of the same voters that Eyman doesn’t trust to elect the “right” public officials. Do not take your vote lightly because Initiative 1033 would impose significant long term drastic changes in Washington State for years to come. Here are a few questions you should answer before you vote on Initiative 1033:

1. Do you agree with Tim that your property taxes are so “obscene and unsustainable” that you’re ready to jettison our current system of local and state representative democracy and institute budgeting by repeated referendums?

2. Do you think it’s necessary to permanently freeze public spending of not just the state but all 39 counties and 281 cities in our state at our current recession level?

3. Do you think that paying the property taxes of corporations and businesses and shopping malls and real estate developers and owners of large homes and vacation homes is more important than using sales taxes and other revenue for educating our children, providing health care for seniors and children, providing more police and fire protection, keeping libraries and parks open and fixing our roads and bridges?

4. Do you support changing our state and local tax policy to prioritize transferring tax dollars collected from those without property, like renters and senior citizens and working families, to help pay the taxes of those with property?

As I said I-1033 is not a simple measure. These are just a few of the questions this measure raises. Reading and understanding what Initiative 1033 does is important to do before you vote. Best wishes in your deliberations.

You can read a copy of the initiative here. Text Initiative 1033

Tim Eyman Thinks Voters Are Dumb

Think about it. Tim Eyman thinks voters are dumb. His current proposal, Initiative 1033 on this November’s ballot, wants to abolish local control of the budget process for not just the state but all 39 counties and all 281 cities. It’s because he doesn’t think you’re smart enough to elect local politicians to represent your interests and the public interest.

Voters will vote for what seems credible and unfortunately for Eyman, Initiative 1033is an absurd dream scheme to freeze public spending so that sales tax dollars everyone pays can help property owners pay their property taxes. Its a wealth transfer system designed to mostly help the wealthy.

Eyman does not propose to rebate any taxes back to people in proportion to what they paid but in proportion to what they own as property. Renters will still pay the same taxes but will see no rebate of taxes back under I-1033. They will also see no new services their sales tax dollars might have paid for if I-1033 wasn’t there.

Tim won’t tell you that some 40% of his rebates will go to pay commercial property taxes even though businesses have a sales tax exemption and don’t pay sales taxes on goods they resell. The consumer pays them.

Last year some 57% of state revenue came from sales taxes. Senior citizens and working families that don’t own property will still pay the same amount of taxes under I-1033. In a reverse Robin Hood wealth transfer scheme these taxes will help wealthy individuals and businesses pay their property taxes.

Eyman says this is more important than restoring any services lost during the recession and more important than more funding for education or home health care for seniors or more police or fire protection or more road or bridge repair or new schools or anything else.

Yes Tim knows what’s best for all of us, so much so that he wants to abolish local control of not just state spending but also for all 39 counties and 281 cities so he can implement his dream wealth transfer scheme.

He doesn’t think we’re smart enough to elect people to represent us to make decisions for the public good. When he puts down, as he repeatedly does, “greedy politicians” as he calls them, he is saying the public isn’t smart enough to elect its own leaders. That’s pretty cynical.

Initiative 1033 isn’t needed. We have state and local government that works and we don’t need to abolish local control of our county and city budgets, freeze public spending, and implement a wealth transfer scheme that mostly benefits wealthy property owners at the expense of the public good.

Just vote NO on I-1033 and let’s get back to focusing on ways to move forward and recover from this recession. Initiative 1033 would only keep us locked in a recession economy.