To the Editor:
I-1033 brings back previously successful policies passed by the voters. In 1993, during tough economic times, voters approved Initiative 601, which put reasonable limits on government’s fiscal policies. I-601 established a sustainable rate for government to grow, saying it could grow at the inflation rate plus population growth, with faster growth requiring voter approval.
I-601 worked very well for 12 years until 2005 when Gov. Gregoire and the Democrats got rid of the growth limit. Removing I-601’s reasonable fiscal discipline and policies resulted in a massive deficit ($9 billion).
Repealing I-601’s limit in 2005 allowed them to take their budget on a fiscal roller coaster, overextending themselves in good times — creating unsustainable budgets — which inevitably made the bad times even worse. I-1033 gets us off that fiscal roller coaster by reestablishing I-601’s same reasonable allowance for growth while permitting higher increases with voter approval.
I-601 worked, it can work again with the passage of I-1033.
So what happens to excess tax revenues that government collects above I-1033’s limit? First, a fixed percentage of tax revenue is transferred into the constitutionally-protected rainy day fund. Beyond that, the remainder of excess tax revenues gets refunded back to taxpayers via lower property taxes. Under I-1033, everyone’s property taxes will be reduced. Struggling working families and fixed-income senior citizens desperately need relief from our state’s crushing property tax burden. Washington shouldn’t be a state where only rich people can afford a home. I-1033 provides needed, long overdue property tax relief.
Opponents want us to trust the politicians, despite their insatiable appetite for higher taxes. Opponents ignore the 16 years of positive history with Initiative 601 in Washington state, preferring instead to talk about different tax limits in California, Colorado, and other states.
Opponents want higher taxes and a state income tax. Opponents are against any limit on government’s power to take as much as they want from the taxpayers.
Both Forbes magazine and the Tax Foundation rank Washington as the eighth highest taxed state in the nation. Citizens need relief.
Property taxes keep going higher and higher and government keeps getting bigger and bigger. I-1033 allows the state, counties, and cities to grow, but at a rate that citizens can control and taxpayers can afford.
I-1033 gets government off the fiscal roller coaster, allowing it to grow at a sustainable rate that doesn’t outpace the taxpayers’ ability to afford it.
I-1033 is needed now more than ever. ♦
— Tim Eyman, co-sponsor of Initiative 1033 and head of Voters Want More Choices
Editor’s note: Mr. Eyman is responding to last week’s letter to the editor, “I-1033 threatens basic services for the APA community”
actually, the tax foundation lists washington as 35th in overall tax burden in 2008, not eighth, as mr. eyman states. (http://www.taxfoundation.org/taxdata/show/335.html)
if eyman is that far off about something anyone can check his facts on, what else is he wrong about and how much of the rest of this bunk?
Tim Eyman, co-sponsor of I-1033 says
The Asian-Pacific Islander community appreciates and expects fiscal discipline from its state, county and city elected officials just like everyone else. They struggle with excessive property taxes, just like everyone else. They recognize that raising taxes in the middle of a recession will only make these bad times last longer.
Here’s an update we sent out to everyone today in response to today’s statements by the Governor:
After Gregoire recently announced that she’s changed her position and now wants higher taxes – whatever increases ‘lawmakers and interest groups’ tell her to enact – the need for Initiative 1033 became even more evident. During a recession, raising taxes and increasing the burden on struggling working families, fixed-income senior citizens, and a hurting business community will only make the recession last longer. Gregoire’s tax hiking plans will only make a bad situation worse.
Under I-1033, state, county, and city politicians CANNOT raise taxes or fees without voter approval.
Let us say that again: UNDER I-1033, STATE, COUNTY, AND CITY POLITICIANS CANNOT RAISE ANY TAX OR ANY FEE WITHOUT VOTER APPROVAL.
Gregoire thinks she can tax us into prosperity and I-1033 stands in her way.
So Gregoire blew a gasket today on I-1033 saying it will ‘devastate’ the state of Washington. She and the Democrats have done that all by themselves by adopting unsustainable budgets resulting in a $9 billion deficit. As soon as Gregoire became Governor in 2005, it was her top priority to get rid of I-601’s inflation-plus-population-growth limit — the same one resurrected with I-1033 — that had worked very well for the preceding 12 years, from 1993 through 2005. When they got rid of that growth limit in 2005 and raised taxes too, they put Washington state on a fiscal roller coaster, overextending themselves in the good times — creating totally unsustainable budgets — which led directly to making the bad times worse, ending in a $9 billion deficit.
Gregoire needs to look in the mirror and realize that it was her lack of fiscal restraint in her first term that resulted in that fiscal roller coaster and that massive deficit.
But rather than learning from that egregious mistake, she’s hell-bent to repeat it.
She’s now re-reversed her position on raising taxes — she’s now in favor of whatever ‘lawmakers and interest groups’ tell her to increase. Higher sales taxes, property taxes, utility taxes, business taxes, and a state income tax — Gregoire’s open to all of them. I-1033 is necessary exactly because without the citizens restraining them, Gregoire and the Democrats have showed themselves incapable of restraining themselves.
I-601 worked very well for 12 years, Gregoire and the Democrats nearly destroyed Olympia without it in four years.
Voters support bringing back I-601’s fiscal discipline by resurrecting the same growth limit with I-1033. And voters support the ‘safety valve’ that I-601 has and I-1033 has which says if government thinks the automatic increase provided by I-1033 isn’t a big enough increase, they can go to the voters and ask for more.
Democrat Jim McIntire, longtime advocate for a state income tax and now the state treasurer, warns us today that I-1033 “could” lower our state’s bond rating. Again, Gregoire and the Democrats fiscal irresponsibility over the past five years did that already. Fankly, voters approving I-1033 will send a clear message that the state, counties, and cities must have fiscal discipline, stability, and sustainability that will be very well received by anyone doing business with Washington.
McIntire knows that I-1033’s passage will diminish his long-time dream of a state income tax. It’s not any more complicated than that.
There is a state law that prohibits tax dollars from being spent by governments to oppose a ballot measure. Nonetheless, city councils and county councils in recent weeks are clearly violating that law with formal ‘resolutions’ coming out against I-1033. We’d be more upset about it if we thought they were working — but frankly, their efforts are clearly backfiring. Besides, the No campaign has millions of Washington DC’s dirty dollars from the country’s most powerful government unions (NEA, SEIU, AFSCME, etc) — the taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to subsidize their opposition campaign.
Both the Tax Foundation and Forbes magazine rank Washington state has the 8th highest taxed state in the nation. I-1033 keeps us from hitting #1.
315,000 citizens signed I-1033 petitions because they know government keeps getting bigger and bigger and property tax bills keep going higher and higher. The people are demanding greater control. The reason there’s such broad support for I-1033 is because it’s a totally reasonable policy — it allows the government to grow but at a sustainable rate that doesn’t outpace the taxpayers’ ability to afford it. It includes a safety valve allowing even faster government growth with voter approval. And it provides meaningful property tax relief not by slashing government tax revenues, but by simply controlling their growth.
We’re very proud of the 315,000 citizens who signed I-1033’s petitions. We believe they spoke for the majority of Washington’s voters and support I-1033’s renewal of I-601, I-1033’s reduction in property taxes, and I-1033’s empowerment of the citizens to decide how fast the government should grow and how big a tax burden we can afford.
This does not specifically address the problems that face the Asian-Pacific Islander community. Basic social services, like ESL classes and English immersion classes among others will be drastically cut if I-1033 passes.
But all Tim Eyman cares about is giving the rich property owners even more money at the expense of underfunded communities like ours.