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.
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.
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’s Initiative 1033 will be bad for Washington State. Lynn Allen of Rebuilding Democracy has put together a great video summing up the arguments against I-1033.
Please forward this video to others. And urge everyone to vote and vote no on I-1033. We need to defeat I-1033. Thanks
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%
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.
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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.
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.
Tim Euyman’s Budget Freeze Initiative 1033 is a clone of a Colorado measure. It was a mistake and is not an experiment we need to repeat here. Watch the new campaign video below from the No on 1033 campaign to see how Colorado voters feel about their mistake now.
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
As reported by the Kitsap Sun today, The Washington Association of Realtors came out today in opposition to Tim Eyman’s Budget Freeze Initiative 1033. The Realtors noted in their press release that:
“Initiative 1033 poses a threat to the quality of Washington schools, roads and other infrastructure, and basic services, according to the Washington Association of REALTORS®, who today announced the large organization will not support the measure. Initiative 1033 would cap revenue collections by the state, cities, and counties based on inflation and population growth. …
The economy is looking up, but we’re a long way from full recovery—and tax increases will simply delay the economic come-back that Washington families so desperately need,” said Wright, a Chelan Realtor. “We all should be focusing on how to improve the quality of life in Washington communities. That means good jobs, safe and beautiful communities, and strong schools.”
In August, the Washington Realtors’s Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee reviewed the provisions of I-1033 and delivered a “do-not-support” recommendation to the organization’s Legislative Steering Committee. Today the committee adopted the recommendation, voting on behalf of its more than 19,000 members. “
The Washington Association of Realtors join a number of other businesses groups opposing Initiative 1033, including the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Seattle Business Association and Microsoft. The Association of Washington Business voted to stay neutral.
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!
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- Tell Your Legislators and Governor Inslee You Support Closing Tax Loopholes!
- Vote “Maintain” on Five Eyman “Tax Advisory Votes”
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