Tag Archives: Washington State

League Of Women Voters Opposes I-1053, I-1100, I-1105, I-1107; Supports I-1098 and Ref 52

The League Of Women Voters of Washington is urging voters to vote against 4 measures on the November 2, ballot and to support two others.  They urge a NO vote on I-1053 to give a minority of Legislators the power to overrule the majority. This is contrary to the State Constitution. They oppose I-1100 and I-1105  the two initiatives to deregulate the liquor industry in the state.  They also oppose I-1107 which was put on the ballot by the soft drink industry to repeal a 2 cent tax on pop and candy.

The League is supporting I-1098 to raise new revenue to support our state schools and health care and reduce B&O taxes and state property taxes. They also support Referendum 52 to raise bonds to rehab our schools to make them more healthy and energy efficient, saving taxpayer dollars over the long term.

Here is more specific information on the Leagues positions on these measures:

Yes Referendum Bill 52: Engrossed House Bill 2561 passed the 2010 legislature and was signed by Governor Gregoire. The bill was named the Jobs Act. The bill provides for state general obligation bonds of up to $505 million to fund energy efficiency projects in the state’s K-12 schools and higher education facilities. The bonds would be funded by extending the current state tax on bottled water beyond its current expiration date of 2013. Because this bonding amount exceeds the state’s current debt limit, the bill must be submitted to the state’s voters.

The national League’s positions on Natural Resources, particularly those related to global climate change, together with the extensive work the national League has done in support of national climate change legislation, are the basis for League to support Referendum 52. LWVWA supported EHB 2561 in the 2010 legislative session.

Yes Initiative 1098: concerns establishing a state income tax and reducing other taxes. This measure would tax “adjusted gross income” above $200,000 (individuals) and $400,000 (joint-filers), reduce state property tax levies, reduce certain business and occupation taxes, and direct any increased revenues to education and health.

League of Women Voters of Washington position on tax structure states: Inequities in the distribution of the tax burden should be removed. Ability to pay is an important criterion. Flexibility and recognition of changing times and needs is important in tax policy. Income should be part of the tax base preferably through a graduated net income tax.

The League of Women Voters of Washington Board of Directors has voted to oppose the following:

No Initiative 1053: concerns tax and fee increases imposed by state government. This measure would restate existing statutory requirements that legislative actions raising taxes must be approved by two-thirds legislative majorities or receive voter approval, and that new or increased fees require majority legislative approval.

National League position includes that government must have the knowledge, resources and power to make decisions that meet citizens needs and reconcile conflicting

interests and priorities, and it must be able to function in an efficient manner with a minimum of conflict, wasted time and duplication of effort.

No Initiative Measure No. 1100 concerns liquor (beer, wine and spirits). This measure would close state liquor stores; authorize sale, distribution, and importation of spirits by private parties; and repeal certain requirements that govern the business operations of beer and wine distributors and producers.

According to the Office of Financial Management, I-1100 would lower state revenue approximately $25 million per year through the privatization of liquor.

No Initiative Measure No. 1105 concerns liquor (beer, wine and spirits). This measure would close all state liquor stores and license private parties to sell or distribute spirits. It would revise laws concerning regulation, taxation and government revenues from distribution and sale of spirits.

According to the Office of Financial Management, I-1105 would lower state revenue approximately $100 million per year through the privatization of liquor.

No Initiative 1107 concerns reversing certain 2010 amendments to state tax laws. This measure would end sales tax on candy; end temporary sales tax on some bottled water; end temporary excise taxes on carbonated beverages; and reduce tax rates for certain food processors.

According to the Office of Financial Management, I-1107 would lower state tax revenue by 55 million in the current fiscal year and $218 million in the upcoming biennium by removing the tax on candy, gum, bottled water, soda and reinstating tax loopholes.

League believes all initiatives proposed should “require how revenue losses or budget increases might be covered, either through program cuts or increases in revenue sources.” (League position on Initiatives, IR-4)

Washington Education Association Opposes Initiative 1053

The Washington Education Association is urging voters to oppose Initiative 1053 which would allow a minority of 1/3 of the Legislators in either House of the Legislature to block any new revenue going to support education.

Here is their explanation from their webpage:

NO on I-1053: Two-thirds supermajority legislative vote to approve new state revenue.

 If I-1053 passes, it will be nearly impossible for the Legislature to raise the revenue needed to fully fund public education, including things like all-day kindergarten, smaller class sizes and the promised restoration of I-732 cost-of-living adjustments for school employees.

It’s another misguided initiative sponsored by Tim Eyman.

I-1053 impact on public education: Essentially prevents the Legislature from raising the revenue needed to fully fund K- 12 and higher education.

The Washington Education is urging No votes on I-1053, I-1082, I-1100, I-1105 and I-1107.
Thet are urging yes votes on I-1098 and Ref 52. You can read more details about their positions on their

Judge Rules Money Trumps Fair Campaigns

A Federal Judge in Tacoma has ruled that the unfettered flow of money is equivalent to free speech in elections. The problem is that corporations and wealthy individuals have more money than average citizens and hence can buy more “free speech”.

The ruling throws out a Washington State law that limited individual contributions to campaigns to a maximum of $5000 per contribution in the last three weeks. The intent was to limit the influx of huge amounts of money right before an election that could put out false statements that opponents did not have the ability to respond to effectively.

Why this ruling is absurd is that both sides in an initiative for example had to comply with the same rules. It was not like one side was getting special treatment. Unfortunately now corporations and special interests can dump in huge amounts of money at the last minute without the ability of the opposing side or the media to respond to what can be false or erroneous statements. That is why the law was put in place.

The argument that the ability to spend any amount of money one wants in initiative campaigns is exercising free speech is absurd. Money buys paid speech. The Seattle Times article notes that already some $32.5 million has been spent on 6 initiatives this year.

The lawsuit was brought by Family PAC which opposed Referendum 71 last year. Referendum 71 passed 53% to 47% and expanded rights for domestic partners. It was opposed by conservative groups.

Endorsements by the Washington State League Of Education Voters for 2010 Elections

The Washington State League of Education voters has endorsed some 44 Legislative candidates and 2 candidates running for the Washington State Supreme Court for this year’s elections.  The primary vote is August 17, 2010 . Ballots must be postmarked by this date or they don’t count. The LEV notes that Secretary of State Sam Reed estimates that only some 38% of voters will actually vote in the primary.

In the Washington State Supreme Court races noted, there are only 2 candidates for each seat so the top vote getter basically wins and will appear alone on the Nov. ballot. So each vote is critical. Please send back your ballots.

Go to the LEV website at http://www.levpac.org/ for more information on specific candidates as well as links to their websites. Candidates of course can still use campaign help and funds for their election efforts.

Washington State Supreme Court

•Position 1: Stan Rumbaugh

•Position 6: Charlie Wiggins

Pro-Education Incumbents:

These legislators have taken a leadership role on education and children’s issues in Olympia. *Denotes LEV PAC targeted candidates.

Washington State Senate

•Chris Marr, D-Spokane (6th LD)

•Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor (26th LD)*

•Tracey Eide, D-Federal Way (30th LD)

•Sharon Nelson, D-Seattle (34th LD)

•Randy Gordon, D-Mercer Island (41st LD)*

•Ed Murray, D-Seattle (43rd LD)

•Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens (44th LD)

•Eric Oemig, D-Kirkland (45th LD)*

•Scott White, D-Seattle (46th LD)

•Claudia Kauffman, D-Kent (47th LD)*

•Rodney Tom, D-Bellevue (48th LD)*

Washington State House of Reprersentatives

•John Driscoll, D-Spokane (6th LD)

•Kevin Parker, R-Spokane (6th LD)

•Judy Warnick, R-Moses Lake (13th LD)

•Tim Probst, D-Vancouver (17th LD)*

•Marko Liias, D-Mukilteo (21st LD)

•Mary Helen Roberts, D-Edmonds (21st LD)

•Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island (23rd LD)

•Dawn Morrell, D-Puyallup (25th LD)

•Bruce Dammeier, R-Puyallup (25th LD)*

•Larry Seaquist, D-Gig Harbor (26th LD)

•Ruth Kagi, D-Lake Forest Park (32nd LD)*

•Tina Orwall, D-Normandy Park (33rd LD)

•Fred Finn, D-Olympia (35th LD)

•Kathy Haigh, D-Shelton (35th LD)

•Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle (36th LD)

•Marcie Maxwell, D-Renton (41st LD)*

•Kelli Linville, D-Bellingham (42nd LD)

•Frank Chopp, D-Seattle (43rd LD)

•Hans Dunshee, D-Snohomish (44th LD)

•Larry Springer, D-Kirkland (45th LD)

•Roger Goodman, D-Kirkland (45th LD)*

•Phyllis Kenney, D-Seattle (46th LD)

•Pat Sullivan, D-Covington (47th LD)*

•Ross Hunter, D-Medina (48th LD)*

•Jim Jacks, D-Vancouver (49th LD)

New Candidates
These promising, new candidates will continue the momentum behind education reform and funding in the Legislature.

Washington State House of Representatives

•Andy Billig, D-Spokane (3rd LD)

•Monica Stonier, D-Vancouver (17th LD)

•Chris Reykdal, D-Tumwater (22nd LD)

•Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma (27th LD)

•Carol Gregory, D-Federal Way (30th LD)

•Cathy Dahlquist, R-Enumclaw (31st LD)

•Kris Lytton, D-Anacortes (40th LD)

•David Frockt, D-Seattle (46th LD)

Democratic Women in Office Far Outnumber Republican Women

With the recent primary victories of some Republican women for state wide offices in California, Connecticut, Nevada and South Carolina it has become fashionable for some in the media to hail this as some kind of banner year for Republican women.  The fact is that Democratic women currently far outnumber Republican women holding office. And even if Republican women win a few seats this year they will still be far behind.

The following is a summary of current women officeholders as reported in a recent post by The Democratic Strategist:

13 Democratic women U.S. senators, vs. 4 Republicans
56 Democratic women House of Reps. members, vs. 17 Republicans
3 Democratic women Governors, 3 Republican women Governors
4 Democratic women Attorneys General, vs. 0 Republican women A.G.’s>
50 Democratic women holding statewide office in the U.S., vs. 21 Republican women
70.5 percent of women state senators are Democrats, vs. 27.2 percent Republicans
70.3 percent of women state legislators are Democrats, vs. 29.4 percent Republicans

A good source for information on women in public office is the website of Rutgers Center for American Women and Politics.

Washington State ranks high in several categories compared to other states.  It currently has the 6th highest number of women (32.7%)  in the State Legislature.  Along with Arizona and Connecticut it is one of only 3 states that have both a current woman Governor (Democrat Christine Gregoire) and one in the past (Democrat Dixy Lee Ray).  In addition to a woman Governor, we also have 2 women as US Senators – Democratic Senator Patty Murray and Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell.

Senator Murray is up for re-election this year. Here’s a You Tube video about her campaign entitled Senator Patty Murray fights every day for the people.

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.

Tim Eyman’s Initiative 1033 Goes Down the Drain!

Tim Eyman’s Initiative 1033 is still going down the drain by a decisive margin. The latest vote count on the Washington Secretary of State’s website has it 56% NO to 44% YES. Ironically its symbolically what Grover Norquist, the national anti-tax fanatic that Eyman emulates, wanted to do with government – reduce it to a size he could drown in a bathtub and put down the drain. Instead it is I-1033 going down the drain.

Grover Norquist, now with Americans for Tax Reform, had been the National Taxpayers Union Executive Director in the past. On October 28, 2009 the National Taxpayers Union filed papers with the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission for a political action committee they named “Taxpayers for 1033”. No money is listed as having been contributed to the PAC in Washington State.

Taxpayers for 1033 put up a website with a blog and news links and a donation page. At the bottom of the web page were the words “Copyright Yes ON 4 2009”.  Yes on 4 is the name of a political action committee that was supporting an initiative similar to I-1033 in the State of Maine known as Question 4.

Both Yes on 4 and Taxpayers for 1033 were right wing efforts by the National Taxpayers Union to help enact Colorado style legislation to freeze public services, cutting off the use of any revenue above this year’s baseline spending for public services.

Question 4 in Maine was at last count also decisively losing by 60% NO to 40% YES; an even bigger number than preliminary numbers for I-1033.Voters in Maine defeated 2 previous efforts to enact TABOR measures in Maine. Question 4 lost by a larger margin than when it was on the ballot 2 years ago in Maine.

Like in Washington State, the people in Maine supporting TABOR raised very little money for the actual ballot campaign.  Most of their money was spent on paid signature gatherers to get on the ballot. It’s pretty funny that these so called anti-government measures can’t even recruit enough volunteers to get on the ballot without having to pay people to collect signatures.

The defeat of these two measures should quiet down the right wing’s rabid thirst for killing taxes. They act like vampires, wanting to suck the life out of government services. But voters have seen the effects of the cuts and job loses on local and state governments due to the current recession and reject the notion that this is something government brought on itself. In Washington State this year severe cuts were made in public services without raising taxes.

Of course the National Taxpayers Union was hoping one or both of these measures would pass to keep their fundraising going by declaring taxpayer revolts at the state level. So far out of dozens of these measures on the ballot over the years, only Colorado voters have passed one.

What people actually see today is that it is the lack of government oversight that contributed to the current recession and if anything, know that unregulated financial institutions are more of a threat than paying taxes for public services used by everyone – like parks and libraries and roads and schools and health care and public transit and much more.

There is always a need for safeguards to prevent waste and to maintain a balance between taxes and spending but the public also knows and appreciates the value of the public safety net to help those needing help and the cooperative relationship between the public and private sector needed to keep a healthy community functioning. Freezing public budgets is not an answer to efficient functioning government. Neither is requiring future budgeting by repeated referendums by the voters.

Eyman threatens to come back with another initiative next year. No surprise here. Besides 1033, he has filed some 19 other initiatives with the Secretary of State this year. His multiple filings of initiatives are his attempt to score a favorable ballot title from the Attorney General as he changes a few words each time.

Here is a prime example of how a private interest, a business that makes money filing initiatives, is wasting public resources for private gain.  He pays the state $5.00 to file an initiative, and forces state workers using taxpayer dollars to review the measures and come up with a ballot title and summary for each separate measure. One version of a measure is reasonable; 8 or 10 different versions with only a few words changed is not.

A higher filing fee would at least give some money back to taxpayers for the public costs involved.  But another idea might be to do like Oregon does and require that before someone can get a ballot title at public expense, they need to also file a thousand signatures of registered voters as sponsors of the measure to show that they are serious about actually doing an initiative. .

People also need to take their time and read and understand what it is they are signing before they commit all of us to vote on poorly thought out measures like I-1033 again.  Too many people sign initiatives based on phrases and slogans that really do not describe what happens if the initiative in question becomes law. Read before you sign and we will all be better off.

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.

Initiative 1033 Will Dig Us Deeper Into Recession Economics

Eyman’s Initiative 1033 will dig us deeper into recession economics over the coming years. In a newly released policy brief by the Washington Research Council on Initiative 1033, details are provided on the serious negative impacts of I-1033 over the next several budget cycles.

Eyman likes to talk about how I-1033 limits growth and points to a graph showing how state revenue will continue to increase. What this graph does not show is how this revenue projection is below the money needed to sustain the state budget in a maintenance mode. I-1033 is not just a freeze on public services; it will contribute to a deepening recession and loss of more services and jobs for our state.

As the Washington Research Council notes, current projections show the state budget for 2009-2011 having a negative balance of $195 million. I-1033 would increase the budget shortfall to $871 million. This is for a maintenance budget- no new programs.

The impact on the 2011-2013 state budget is even worse. Here’s what the Washington Research Council says the Impact on the 2011 -2013 State Budget would be:

Even without passage of I-1033, the budget outlook for 2011–13 is grim. While the 2009 legislature did make substantial real cuts in spending, it also relied heavily on onetime money to balance the 2009–11 budget. Incorporating the June forecast, general fund spending for the biennium exceeds revenues by $1.4 billion. In addition, $2.5 billion in federal stimulus funds are being used to sustain programs that would normally be funded through the general fund. For 2011–13 these programs will shift back to the general fund.
Using OFM’s revenue growth assumptions, general fund revenues are expected to grow by $3.5 billion from 2009–11 to 2011–13.
We have yet to see projections of “maintenance-level” cost increases for 2011–13. Looking backwards, the maintenance level increase for the 2007-09 biennium was $1.4 billion, while the maintenance level increase for 2009-11 was $2.1 billion.
With a $1.4 billion maintenance level increase, the budget gap for 2011–13 would be $1.8 billion; with a $2.1 billion maintenance level increase the gap would be $2.5 billion. I-1033 would expand these gaps to $3.8 billion and $4.5 billion, respectively.

The word grim is bad enough. I-1033 will make our future even more grim. I-1033 results in increased negative growth in the state budget as well as for the budgets of all 281 cities and 39 counties.

Things are bad enough as they are. Why would we want to make them worse? Vote NO on I-1033! Eyman’s anti-government, anti-tax initiatives are like a car with a broken transmission that only works in reverse. I-1033 is a bad idea. Just say No!

What’s Wrong With Eyman’s Initiative 1033?

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!