Oppose I-1033

If you live in Washington State, please vote “no” on I-1033. This would place caps on the revenue generated annually in Washington State which could be placed into general funds with the rest being given back to property owners. In a time of extreme budget cuts to social services and education, the state cannot afford more losses of revenue.

As Don Smith notes in his Seattle PI letter to the editor:

If I-1033 is enacted into law, the baseline spending limits for Washington State would be pegged to current expenditures, which are unusually low due to the recession and the need to eliminate the $9 billion state deficit. The extensive budget cuts enacted by Governor Gregoire and the legislators have already hit hard on social services and education. I-1033 would further devastate government services and harm those most vulnerable – the poor, the elderly, the homeless, the disabled, and the mentally ill. Cuts would reverberate throughout government, from police to parks to public health…

I-1033 would exacerbate the inequality of wealth in Washington State. Furthermore, it would benefit homeowners over renters, since excess tax revenues would result in lowered real estate taxes…

According to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, Washington State has the most regressive tax system in the nation. Washington is one of only six states without a state income tax. As of 2002, the wealthiest one percent of Washington taxpayers paid only about 3.3% of their income in state and local taxes. The corresponding figures for middle-income and lower-income Washingtonians were 11.1% and 17.6%, respectively. This means that if you’re a CEO, you probably pay proportionally much less in taxes than your secretary.

He also reminds the public of Colorado’s similar law enacted in 1992 and recently repealed:

In 1992, Colorado citizens passed a law similar to I-1033. The consequences were disastrous. The share of low-income kids without health insurance doubled. Per capita funding for education dropped to 49th in nation. The state couldn’t even afford to vaccinate children entering school. It’s no surprise that Colorado voters overturned the law in 2005.

A story shared in my district revealed how one mother in Colorado received $172 back from the state, but she actually lost money because her son played football for the local high school, which couldn’t afford to fund the sport. The parents had to pick up the tab; her share was over $1,000. She lost over $800 in that single instance.

I worry that our “vote down any tax” mentality will feel good in the short-term and hurt greatly in the long-term much like the I-695 vote on car tabs which resulted in the loss of services around the state. This initiative would harm schools even more than the current economic downturn has.

Please vote “no” on I-1033.

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