Tim Eyman’s Initiative 1033 would wreck havoc on the idea of local control of cities and counties. Tim Eyman’s one size fits all measure would remove the authority of Washington State cities and towns to control their budgets and spending.
It would impose Tim Eyman’s legislative priority that the most important thing local governments can do, when the economy improves from this recession and more revenue comes in, is help large property owners, real estate developers, mall owners and other businesses and corporations pay their property taxes.
Initiative 1033 would not just deal with the Washington State budget and spending but also puts the same rigid freeze mechanism on spending in place for all 39 Washington counties and 281 cities. Any money above the current year’s spending level must be put in a “Lower Property Tax Account” for each city and county.
Gone would be the ability of elected city council members and the Mayor and county council members to decide how to spend any revenue that comes in above this year’s spending level. It would all go to pay property taxes for property owners in cities and counties.
Eyman says paying property taxes for property owners is a higher priority than restoring any services lost during the current recession due to decreased revenue. He says it’s a higher priority than making sure parks and libraries can stay open, than paying for police and fire protection, than fixing roads or providing public transit or providing health care or help for seniors and the disabled.
If you want to fund any of these programs beyond the current budget level you will have to go to a vote of the people to get approval. This will be the new way all cities ant counties (and the state) will have to operate. It will be budget approval by referendum.
Of course this won’t be free as elections cost money. And then there will be campaign spending for and against any increased spending. And sound bites and campaigning. It’s how California got into their budget quagmire, having campaigns waged for and against spending this or that.
Gone will be legislative deliberations and public meetings and input on budgets and spending. It’ll now be based on polling and politics.
This whole process of reorganizing how local governments makes decisions is the opposite of local control by local taxpayers. Rather than local voters deciding how they want to run their city and county, Eyman proposes that state voters should make this decision for all 39 counties and 281 cities.
This sounds like the worst of ideas, and if Eyman hadn’t stolen this idea from national supporters of TABOR type legislation and Colorado you would think he would be on the other side railing against big government running roughshod over local governments.
If cities and counties want to put this “budgets by referendum” scheme in place they should be able to decide for themselves, not have it decided by state voters. This is overkill and abusive having a statewide vote dictate how local public entities like Spokane or Yakima or Vancouver or Whatcom County or Clark County or Pierce County have to run their governments.
Voters should keep local control of their cities and counties and vote against I-1033 this November 3, 2009 . Keep Eyman from meddling in your local government’s business and vote no on I-1033.