Tag Archives: Property Taxes

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.

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.

Initiative 1033 Transfers Tax Burden onto Lower Income Taxpayers

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%
other 13.4%

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.

for more info see:


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.

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.


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!

A Better Alternative to Help Struggling Property Owners than Initiative 1033

Tim Eyman’s I-1033 purports to help property owners pay property taxes. A big question of course is who should we help. Should we help everyone pay their property taxes – like people who own a second home and/or corporations like Boeing that owns property?

Or should we help those that need help most – like senior citizens on fixed incomes or struggling working families trying to make end meet that have a principal residence they live in.

Eyman’s I-1033 says we should help everyone including businesses and corporate property owners and shopping malls like Kemper Freeman’s Bellevue Square and real estate developer’s and homeowners with second homes and vacation homes. I-1033 says that should be the top priority of any tax dollars that come into the state and city and county as new revenue above this year’s recession baseline set by Eyman becomes available as the recession ends.

This one and only use of these tax dollars now becomes a function of government – to support a transfer of tax dollars collected from everyone and used to then benefit property owners only.

Renters and senior citizens and working families that own no property will continue to pay taxes under Initiative 1033 and will get no property tax rebate or see any new services. This will further increase unfairness in our tax code and institute a reverse Robin Hood program of taxing lower income people and giving it to higher income people in the form of reduced property taxes.

Eyman is trying to institute a scare campaign for property owners about how their taxes are out of control.

Yet this isn’t the case. The Tax Foundation says that in terms of property taxes paid per capita in this state we rank 25th (with one being the highest)out of the 50 states. We also rank 8th in terms of income per capita. Overall our total state and local tax burden ranks us 35th (with 1 being the highest) out of 50 states.

If it’s seniors we want to help, the best solution is to raise the senior property tax exemption and help those most in need. You can click here to read more about the Senior Property Tax Exemption which also covers disabled people.

Or if you’re concerned about people being taxed out of their homes then you should be supporting a Homestead Exemption like some 38 other states have.

Eyman says this can’t be done because you have to tax commercial and residential property equally. This isn’t strictly true because the senior exception is a form of a Homestead Exemption that legal and exists because the Legislative can make exemptions to the uniformity issue.

But even considering the uniformity issue it’s easy to treat both commercial and residential real estate the same by just providing the same exemption for business and homeowners. HB 3162 did just that in the 2007-2008 Legislative session. It had 24 sponsors. HB 3162 was labeled “Providing a property tax exemption for the first $50,000 of assessed value of commercial and residential real property.”

Such a simple answer, helping both home owner’s not being taxed out of their principal residence and also helping small businesses with their principal business location. Equal and fair. Reasonable.


Strange how helping large corporations pay their property taxes is more important than helping kids go to college or paying teachers a decent wage or keeping our libraries and parks open for the public or hiring more police or helping seniors stay in their homes because this is the choice in a nutshell.

I-1033 rather than just trying to reduce property taxes directly for those that need help, instead provides a special tax break that mainly benefits large property owners. It would transfer huge amounts of tax dollars that would have been collected from everyone to support public services like health care and Medicaid and parks and transit and sidewalks to do this. It’s a crazy scheme that is ridiculous in it’s implementation and absurdly complex.

I-1033 is a complex measure and will result in a huge change in our present tax structure. It will further erode fairness and deprive our state of needed investments in our community. It provides a special property tax exemption that benefits the wealthy at the expense of those less fortunate.

Vote No on Initiative 1033. Keep Tim’s selfish and greedy hands out of our pockets. Tell Tim NO DEAL. JUST VOTE NO ON INITIATIVE 1033 THIS NOVEMBER 3, 2009!

Eyman’s I-1033 Says Paying Corporate Property Taxes More Important than Educating State’s Children

Initiative 1033 on this November’s ballot is Tim Eyman’s clone of a failed Colorado measure. It proposes to freeze state and local government programs permanently by limiting the growth of tax revenue to the current year’s spending plus a slight adjustment for inflation.

Any money over this year’s spending as adjusted will go into a special account to reduce property taxes. What Eyman hasn’t told anyone is that 40% of this special tax break will go to Washington businesses and corporations. That’s because the fund must reduce all property taxes equally. And currently 40% of property taxes are paid by businesses.

And of the remaining 60% in the fund only 65% of that will go to help homeowners who own their home. The other 35% of households in the state will not see any tax break or return on their taxes they paid. They lose twice because they also will not see any increase in public services as a result of their paying taxes over the baseline.

Initiative I-1033 is a complex measure that actually turns out to provide a special tax break to property owners at the expense of not providing public services.

If you collect tax dollars like sales taxes everyone pays does it make sense to use them to give a special tax break that benefits wealthy property owners at the expense of not providing public services like educating our kids or paying for public safety or having libraries open and parks open?

Colorado has tried Eyman’s proposed freeze on public services since 1992. Looking at how they now fund education will gives us a frightening glimpse of Washington State’s future if voters pass I-1033.

I came across the following website, www/teachersalaryinfo.com which graphically compares 5 different factors on teacher salaries across the country. The information below is taken from this website.

The average teacher’s salary in Colorado compared to median household income showed Colorado ranking 49th (with 1 being the highest) among the 50 states. An estimate showed that teachers in Colorado made about $32,000 below the median income.

Another graph showed Colorado teachers ranking 50th lowest in salary compared to other states. Washington State by comparison ranked 24th lowest – and we know the lack of funding currently in this state to raise teacher’s salaries.

Another graph shows Colorado’s average teacher salary compared to the median home price in Colorado as 44th lowest out of 50 states.

Is this the future for Washington State if voters approve I-1033? You can’t freeze education spending under I-1033 and expect that there will be any spare change to raise teacher’s salaries in the future. In fact because many public services like Medicaid and education increase in cost faster than the consumer price index adjustment in I-1033, cuts will have to be made to existing services as their costs rise faster than the consumer inflation index.

Colorado once ranked 35th in education spending. It’s now 49th because of this problem.

So you decide – is it more important to give wealthy property owners and corporations a special property tax break or help our children get a quality education by investing our tax dollars in them?

I think we’ll all lose if we don’t fund our educational system and have good teachers. How many teachers are going to stay in Washington State if we are competing with Colorado to see who can pay the educators of our children the least amount of money? Is this another Eyman brilliant idea or not?

Did Eyman Forget to Turn in all His Petitions for Initiative 1033?

I guess its time for another Eyman Initiative 1033 grassroots joke. In two separate comment threads over on Crosscut on Initiative 1033 Tim Eyman makes the following statement:

out of 48,148 supporters who were mailed a I-1033 petition in February, an extraordinary 34,588 sent back a partially filled or fully filled petitions

Over at the Northwest Progressive Institute Advocate, Andrew reported that:

“The Secretary of State’s office tells NPI that they received 19,317 petitions, not all of which are full. Eyman claimed to have submitted 314,277 signatures. “

So what happened to the remaining 15,271 petitions from his grassroots supporters? Did Eyman lose the extra petitions? Or is it again just another example of Eyman trying to falsely hype what is really a dismal grassroots effort? Didn’t Eyman get into trouble for something like this before? I think it was about not being paid when he was because he thought it sounded better to say he was working for free even when he wasn’t.

I’m sure Eyman’s not in any legal trouble on this, it’s just another one of many times that he is fast and lose with facts and figures, trying to put a spin on something to say what he thinks people want to hear or what he thinks sounds better for his self image. In this he is trying to convince people what a tremendous grassroots effort this campaign is when in reality it was mostly a paid signature gathering effort funded over 86.5% by 3 individuals.

I suspect the truth is that he sent out 48,148 petitions and only received back 34,588 signatures. That means that out of the final 315,444 signature count, the rest were probably from paid signature gatherers.

34,588/315,444 = 10.96% of signatures turned in from mailing to “grassroots”
Could it be true that only 11% of Eyman’s signatures were from the “grassroots” supporters?

Maybe as many as 1700 petitions came back if all were full. This seems like a much more realistic return rate based on Initiative campaigns I’ve been involved with.

Money wise it also seems accurate. 315,444 signatures total – 34,588 from grassroots leaves 280,856 he paid for. He spent $598,081 to get his signatures, including mailing, which is about $1.89 per signature for the total amount. This is in the ballpark for cost per signature in campaigns these days.

While we’re at it we should actually note that Eyman did not collect 315,444 valid signatures. A small point but I am tired of Eyman’s misrepresentations of fact. He had a 12% invalid rate which means that only 277,591 signatures were declared as valid. A minor point but lets keep our figures straight for the record.