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Press Release – Initiative 735 Passes 239,000 Signatures 12/1/2015

For immediate release:
For more information:
Gabe Meyer – Campaign Director
Steve Zemke – State Field Director
Campaign phone – 206-547-9961
Initiative 735 Passes 239,000 Signatures

 Supporters of Initiative 735 in Washington State have now collected over 239,000 signatures on Initiative 735. A minimum of 246,273 valid signatures is required to file with the Secretary of State by December 31, 2015. WAmend (Washington Coalition to Amend the Constitution), the sponsor of Initiative 735, is targeting to get 320,000 signatures to cover duplicate and invalid signatures.

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Initiative 1033 is a Freeze on Public Services

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.

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.

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.

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

Initiative 1033 is Tim Eyman’s Washington State version of Colorado’s TABOR law (Taxpayers Bill of Rights). It’s been a dismal failure. It has permanently decreased Colorado’s level of basic services by using the same inflation plus population growth limits. Voter’s recently put the measure on hold to try to undo some of it’s disastrous impacts. You can watch a great video and listen yourself to how Coloradoans now feel about their disastrous experiment. We don’t need Washington State to become a Tim Eyman experiment. Vote No on I-1033 this November 3rd, 2009.